Intel Working With Singapore on Wi-Fi

Intel officials in Singapore Wednesday signed a deal to try to link different wireless and fixed networks, in an effort to setup a system for seamless roaming across Asia.

Intel’s $2.25 million deal for the project is with Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), with Intel owning 60 percent and the IDA controlling 40 percent.

Telecommunications providers offer a variety of different services over networks based on all kinds of different technical standards.

The Intel-Singapore partnership will conduct several studies and technical trials as they try to overcome the problems of interoperability across wireless networks in Asia. Intel is pushing for the adoption of Wi-Fi network standards that allow users to have high-speed, wireless connections within a 300-foot zone.

The partners are expected to issue blueprints for Wi-Fi roaming throughout Asia, after initial trials and studies are conducted. The project is expected to begin in April, and several wireless carriers and handset makers are expected to be included the Wi-Fi standards building effort.

Intel, Singapore and other partners expected to join the project will work on a variety of other issues, as well. Among the challenges are to harmonize billing, account authentication and security standards, so that the roaming deals allow for seamless service.

Intel is putting resources into Wi-Fi wireless standards building in Asia in no small part, because of its strategy to sell the chips that will power myriad of wireless devices in the future.

Next Wednesday, March 12th, Intel will unveil its Centrino technology, which aims to build Wi-Fi standards into laptop, notebook and other portable computing devices.

International Data Corp. is estimating that there are 150,000 wireless customers currently using Wi-Fi services in Asia, excluding Japan, at the end of 2002. IDC speculates that number will increase to 5.2 million by 2007. IDC also says there were 14,000 Wi-Fi hot spots (wireless connection points) at the end of 2002, and many more are being built as demand grows for Wi-Fi in Asia.