One day, wireless PCs might be as prevalent and easy to use as today's cellular phones. At least that's what the Intel® Labs are hoping. During IDF, the Intel Labs showcased many of the technologies they're developing to advance wireless connectivity and enhance the performance of mobile PCs and devices.
One of these developments is Intel Intelligent Roaming technology. Roaming is the ability to move from one communication hub to another without interruption in service or loss of connectivity. The goal is to enable mobile devices to be continually connected, constantly reachable, authenticated and secure, and easy to use.
Intelligent roaming would make it possible to log into your notebook computer while at home, access email or download documents while commuting on a train, check your schedule once you've arrived, then access and share information over wired and wireless local area networks (WLAN).
To enable users to continue working while changing network connect points, roaming takes advantage of current and emerging wireless standards and technologies including IEEE 802.11. The de facto standard for WLAN, 802.11 specifies an over-the-air interface between a wireless client and a base station or two wireless clients. The 802.11b standard is being replaced with 802.11a, which boosts the wireless transfer of data from 11 Mbps (megabits per second) to 54 Mbps.
The outstanding performance of 802.11a has a catch. Devices using 802.11b can transmit to devices that are up to 400 feet apart at the 2.4 GHz frequency. The higher 5 GHz frequency of the 802.11a protocol limits transmission to 100 feet or less. However, the high performance offered by 802.11a supports more compute-intensive applications that involve video, voice and large images or files.
Attendees at the Intel Developer Forum were able to experience wireless connectivity at the show using either 802.11b or 802.11a protocols.
If you have a cellular phone or Bluetooth device, you may already be using the 802.11b standard. The ease of which you can communicate using 802.11 can be extended into your home or home office using the Intel® AnyPoint® Wireless II Network. Using AnyPoint Wireless II Network adaptors and the AnyPoint® Connectivity Suite, you can connect all your PCs together - without using wires - so you can share Internet connections, printers or files. In addition, this wireless connectivity enables you to play digital audio from another PC or participate in head-to-head multi-player games.
Another technology that the Intel Labs is developing is "wireless-Internet-on-a-chip" technology, which combines a microprocessor, flash memory and analog communications circuits on a single chip of silicon. Essentially three chips in one, it could be used in cellular data phones that are capable of going a month between battery charges. It will also offer all the programmability and functionality of a handheld computer.
The advancements developed by the Intel Labs usually find their way into new processors and products. To keep up to date with the latest news and technology from Intel, be sure to sign up for the Intel® Home Computing newsletter.