Intel's Centrino ‘a serious threat to WLAN chip makers’

So says the Hunn


Newswireless.net logo Wireless guru Nick Hunn has predicted the death of several silicon suppliers who make wireless LAN (WiFi) components, following the decision of both Intel and AMD to provide the bulk of the circuitry needed, on the motherboard.

Suppliers of WiFi components, especially client PC Cards, could find that their market vanishes over the next twelve months, argues Hunn, who is managing director of TDK Grey Cell, a specialist Bluetooth design house.

In a White Paper, Hunn points out that Intel's Centrino chip set (formerly code-named Banias) provides almost everything a PC maker needs to provide wireless support on the motherboard. AMD has come up with something very similar.

Hunn writes: "Although the customer will benefit, the introduction of Banias poses a very serious threat to the raft of silicon companies who have invested in wireless LAN. The fact that both Intel and AMD have a low cost, native solution to Wi-Fi on the motherboard excludes these vendors from the market for new laptops."

The market for legacy laptops and add-on USB adapters for desktops, is not great. But there is worse news, because the perceived "fair price" of such devices is about to plummet, Hunn says.

The problem is simple: add-in cards will be available for trivial prices; and the general buying public won't realise that some of these rely on the presence of Banias style support on the motherboard.

"A crucial concern for this legacy market will be the perceived cost of adding wireless to a laptop." says Hunn. "It is not yet clear what percentage of laptops will have the full RF solution placed on the motherboard. For those that do not, some manufacturers may provide connectors for a wireless LAN transceiver module to be added. Intel has already identified this, and suggested that it will supply mini-PCI transceivers, with an anticipated market price of $45 for 802.11b and $65 for multimode in June 2003."

That price looks unthreatening, he admits. "But once again, the emergence of alternative RF chip suppliers suggests to us that these process will rapidly be undermined by third party offerings. If this is the case, the list price of these transceiver boards may well be advertised below $30, setting a price expectation for the consumer, who is likely to be unaware of the distinction between this and a full PCMCIA card."

The inevitable result, says Hunn, "will be fierce price competition, further commodifying wireless LAN products and ensuring that there is little opportunity for margin either for the silicon supplier or the peripheral manufacturer."

Instead they will be forced to concentrate on the legacy laptop market, (where price competition will be fierce) the desktop USB market, the PDA market (which is small and power sensitive) and the access point manufacturers. These markets will also be attacked by Intel and AMD with "soft" Wi-Fi solutions that remove the baseband processor cost and benefit from the economies of scale both will enjoy from their integrated PC market, concludes Hunn.

© Newswireless.net
Some recent articles at Newswireless.net
Will Tablet PCs drive ordinary printers?
Microsoft forced to rethink Smart Display as Viewsonic announces pricing

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Demand for PC and smartphone chips drops 'like a rock' says CEO of China’s top chipmaker
    Markets outside China are doing better, but at home vendors have huge component stockpiles

    Demand for chips needed to make smartphones and PCs has dropped "like a rock" – but mostly in China, according to Zhao Haijun, the CEO of China's largest chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC).

    Speaking on the company's Q1 2022 earnings call last Friday, Zhao said smartphone makers currently have five months inventory to hand, so are working through that stockpile before ordering new product. Sales of PCs, consumer electronics and appliances are also in trouble, the CEO said, leaving some markets oversupplied with product for now. But unmet demand remains for silicon used for Wi-Fi 6, power conversion, green energy products, and analog-to-digital conversion.

    Zhao partly attributed sales slumps to the Ukraine war which has made the Russian market off limits to many vendors and effectively taken Ukraine's 44 million citizens out of the global market for non-essential purchases.

    Continue reading
  • Colocation consolidation: Analysts look at what's driving the feeding frenzy
    Sometimes a half-sized shipping container at the base of a cell tower is all you need

    Analysis Colocation facilities aren't just a place to drop a couple of servers anymore. Many are quickly becoming full-fledged infrastructure-as-a-service providers as they embrace new consumption-based models and place a stronger emphasis on networking and edge connectivity.

    But supporting the growing menagerie of value-added services takes a substantial footprint and an even larger customer base, a dynamic that's driven a wave of consolidation throughout the industry, analysts from Forrester Research and Gartner told The Register.

    "You can only provide those value-added services if you're big enough," Forrester research director Glenn O'Donnell said.

    Continue reading
  • D-Wave deploys first US-based Advantage quantum system
    For those that want to keep their data in the homeland

    Quantum computing outfit D-Wave Systems has announced availability of an Advantage quantum computer accessible via the cloud but physically located in the US, a key move for selling quantum services to American customers.

    D-Wave reported that the newly deployed system is the first of its Advantage line of quantum computers available via its Leap quantum cloud service that is physically located in the US, rather than operating out of D-Wave’s facilities in British Columbia.

    The new system is based at the University of Southern California, as part of the USC-Lockheed Martin Quantum Computing Center hosted at USC’s Information Sciences Institute, a factor that may encourage US organizations interested in evaluating quantum computing that are likely to want the assurance of accessing facilities based in the same country.

    Continue reading
  • Bosses using AI to hire candidates risk discriminating against disabled applicants
    US publishes technical guide to help organizations avoid violating Americans with Disabilities Act

    The Biden administration and Department of Justice have warned employers using AI software for recruitment purposes to take extra steps to support disabled job applicants or they risk violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    Under the ADA, employers must provide adequate accommodations to all qualified disabled job seekers so they can fairly take part in the application process. But the increasing rollout of machine learning algorithms by companies in their hiring processes opens new possibilities that can disadvantage candidates with disabilities. 

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the DoJ published a new document this week, providing technical guidance to ensure companies don't violate ADA when using AI technology for recruitment purposes.

    Continue reading
  • How ICE became a $2.8b domestic surveillance agency
    Your US tax dollars at work

    The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has spent about $2.8 billion over the past 14 years on a massive surveillance "dragnet" that uses big data and facial-recognition technology to secretly spy on most Americans, according to a report from Georgetown Law's Center on Privacy and Technology.

    The research took two years and included "hundreds" of Freedom of Information Act requests, along with reviews of ICE's contracting and procurement records. It details how ICE surveillance spending jumped from about $71 million annually in 2008 to about $388 million per year as of 2021. The network it has purchased with this $2.8 billion means that "ICE now operates as a domestic surveillance agency" and its methods cross "legal and ethical lines," the report concludes.

    ICE did not respond to The Register's request for comment.

    Continue reading
  • Fully automated AI networks less than 5 years away, reckons Juniper CEO
    You robot kids, get off my LAN

    AI will completely automate the network within five years, Juniper CEO Rami Rahim boasted during the company’s Global Summit this week.

    “I truly believe that just as there is this need today for a self-driving automobile, the future is around a self-driving network where humans literally have to do nothing,” he said. “It's probably weird for people to hear the CEO of a networking company say that… but that's exactly what we should be wishing for.”

    Rahim believes AI-driven automation is the latest phase in computer networking’s evolution, which began with the rise of TCP/IP and the internet, was accelerated by faster and more efficient silicon, and then made manageable by advances in software.

    Continue reading
  • Pictured: Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way
    We speak to scientists involved in historic first snap – and no, this isn't the M87*

    Astronomers have captured a clear image of the gigantic supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy for the first time.

    Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* for short, is 27,000 light-years from Earth. Scientists knew for a while there was a mysterious object in the constellation of Sagittarius emitting strong radio waves, though it wasn't really discovered until the 1970s. Although astronomers managed to characterize some of the object's properties, experts weren't quite sure what exactly they were looking at.

    Years later, in 2020, the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to a pair of scientists, who mathematically proved the object must be a supermassive black hole. Now, their work has been experimentally verified in the form of the first-ever snap of Sgr A*, captured by more than 300 researchers working across 80 institutions in the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. 

    Continue reading
  • Shopping for malware: $260 gets you a password stealer. $90 for a crypto-miner...
    We take a look at low, low subscription prices – not that we want to give anyone any ideas

    A Tor-hidden website dubbed the Eternity Project is offering a toolkit of malware, including ransomware, worms, and – coming soon – distributed denial-of-service programs, at low prices.

    According to researchers at cyber-intelligence outfit Cyble, the Eternity site's operators also have a channel on Telegram, where they provide videos detailing features and functions of the Windows malware. Once bought, it's up to the buyer how victims' computers are infected; we'll leave that to your imagination.

    The Telegram channel has about 500 subscribers, Team Cyble documented this week. Once someone decides to purchase of one or more of Eternity's malware components, they have the option to customize the final binary executable for whatever crimes they want to commit.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022