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Intel, Proxim team up for WiMax gear

Companies plan to develop fixed and portable base stations for wireless broadband Net access.

Intel on Thursday announced a partnership with Proxim to develop and deliver WiMax products for fixed and portable broadband wireless access.

Under the deal, the companies will initially work on fixed base stations and wireless gear for data, voice and video services. Proxim plans to develop a WiMax base station known as the Tsunami MP.16. The companies will also co-develop a reference design to help WiMax gear makers.

WiMax, a wide-area wireless broadband technology, is viewed as a cheaper alternative to DSL (digital subscriber line) and cable broadband access, because the installation costs of wireless infrastructure are minimal when compared with those of wired versions.

WiMax will include the 802.16 standard, plus revisions and additions to that standard, such as 802.16d and 802.16e. This is seen as a significant sign that it can grow where other technologies have failed. The 802.16a standard was approved in January of last year.

Intel and Proxim also plan to jointly develop base stations based on the emerging 802.16e specification. These stations are designed to enable broadband wireless portability. Proxim will provide wireless software for subscriber roaming and support, and Intel will work on the base station architecture.

"Proxim strongly believes in both the technological and market potential of WiMax--and particularly, portable implementations of WiMax," Kevin Duffy, CEO of Proxim, said in a statement. "We will work closely with Intel to bring industry-leading WiMax solutions to market and to drive market adoption both at the system and client level."

The companies expect to release the fixed wireless product by early 2005 and to offer the portability base station later that year. Shipments will be subject to interoperability and testing certification from the WiMax Forum, the industry group that develops and promotes standards for the technology.

CNET News.com's Richard Shim contributed to this report.