Intel Joins South Korea on Wireless Net

Looking to the world’s leading nation in terms of broadband and wireless adoption, Intel is working with South Korean company KT to collaborate on the country’s next wireless broadband solution.

KT and Intel indicated they would team up on what is known as WiBro 802.16e wireless technology, and on Intel’s similar wireless solution for wider coverage and faster connections, WiMAX. The two companies will provide high-speed wireless connections for South Korean consumers, who rank among the world’s biggest adopters of broadband technology. Three-quarters of the nation is connected at higher speeds.

Through a reported memorandum of understanding, Intel will provide its silicon, technical and wireless expertise to help equip local carriers for the improved wireless broadband services, while at the same time integrating and assuring interoperability between WiBro and WiMAX.

Why Go WiBro?

While Intel has been focused on creating standardization based on its WiMAX wireless broadband technology, the company still needs the support of progressive nations such as South Korea. There, Samsung backs WiBro wireless, another wireless broadband solution intended to allow Internet surfing and video viewing on wireless devices such as mobile phones.

IDC analyst Shiv Bakhshi told TechNewsWorld that Intel needed to have South Korea on board with its next-generation approach, even though that country’s companies had forged ahead with WiBro after becoming impatient with the WiMAX standards effort.

“South Korea is the poster child for all kinds of wireless broadband technologies,” Bakhshi said, referring to the country’s pioneering of CDMA1x standard. “It makes perfect sense. Intel is working with them to synchronize plans with respect to WiMAX.”

Common Standard

Bakhshi stressed the importance of avoiding standards fragmentation as companies and countries move toward improved wireless technologies, adding that Intel has made a tremendous effort to keep WiMAX on track.

“A common standard provides support to a fledgling industry,” he said. “With the fragmentation of standards, you have finger pointing and claims that the U.S. is lagging and all of this. All that goes away when you have a shared standard, a common standard around which everybody builds.”

Bakhshi added the Intel-KT news signals another step toward a more worldwide wireless Internet. Such an extensive vision continues to develop slowly, because of the need for access points, devices, service delivery, business model, middleware, applications, content, and most importantly, social change.

“It takes time, but it is moving in the right direction,” he said.

Need for Teamwork

Gartner research vice president Phil Redman told TechNewsWorld that although Intel plays a vital role in creating and popularizing new technologies, the company does not sell infrastructure or devices.

“They need to partner, and their more important relationship is with the manufacturers [of new technologies],” Redman said.

The analyst added that South Korea, a leader in adopting both new and wireless technologies, has manufacturers looking to leverage WiMax to sell to more customers at less cost.

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