Intel Pulls SoftAP Plans

By Eric Griffith

September 28, 2004

The company once said that all future desktop computers could be turned into software-based access points. No longer.

Reuters is reporting that Intel has cancelled its plans to turn Intel-based desktop PCs into access points using software.

The plan was for desktop systems -- at least those equipped with an extra PCI card running a Wi-Fi chip -- to become quick-and-dirty software-based APs (softAPs) that would afford even easier connections to networks for all the wireless users coming on board -- especially those with an Intel Centrino-branded laptop.

The reason given is that PC makers who would have built in the PCI card didn't like the price of $50 to $75 per computer.

In June, Intel said that "the capability is still there... we're looking at real-world field testing to make sure setup is bullet proof."

Intel told Reuters that "the principle is still sound." The company says it still has teams working on it and might reintroduce the idea, maybe even when the high speed 802.11n standard is introduced in a year or two.

There's also talk that Intel might put WiMax into desktops directly. Most analysts see WiMax, a high speed fixed wireless technology, as a replacement for broadband connections like DSL, cable, or T1 lines, at least to start. Intel's heavily invested in the future of WiMax.

Meanwhile, softAPs are still available from other vendors, such as PCTel , which sells one for $19.95.



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