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Intel chips to work with latest Cisco Wi-Fi gear

Intel first chipmaker to announce certification for Cisco's new software extensions. Other companies likely to follow.

Intel and Cisco Systems are working together to assure big companies that Intel-based devices will be able to connect to their upgraded Cisco wireless network.

Intel announced Wednesday that its next generation of wireless chips will support the latest software extensions for Cisco's Wi-Fi access points.

Intel is the first chipmaker to announce it has achieved certification for Cisco's new software extensions. Other companies are expected to follow. Cisco has established a special program that sets criteria so that client devices can be designed to be interoperable with a wireless local area network built with Cisco equipment.

"With this certification, future Intel Centrino mobile technology customers can be assured that their devices are designed to be supported," Jim Johnson, vice president and general manager of Intel's Wireless Networking Group, said in a statement.

The announcement is part of a greater effort by the two companies to expand their existing alliance to improve security and reliability of wireless local area networks.

Together, Cisco and Intel have produced a new set of features, called Business Class Wireless Suite, which is designed for companies using Cisco's wireless products and Intel's Centrino mobile technology. Some of the features added include so-called optimal access point selection technology that allows Centrino-based devices to scan for the best Cisco access point to get a faster, more reliable connection. New features also have been added to improve clarity and reliability of voice over IP on laptops.

In an effort to improve security for corporate customers, Intel also has agreed to join Cisco's Network Admission Control, which allows network devices to check gadgets before they connect to the network to ensure that they are free of viruses and worms and are up to date on all their security software. In addition, Cisco has agreed to join Intel's Active Management Technology program, part of the company's Digital Office initiative, which aims to provide capabilities to make new levels of IT manageability possible.