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Intel: Radio bands need better tuning

As more devices and technologies take advantage of wireless spectrum, regulators and companies must work to use radio bands more efficiently, says an Intel executive.

SAN FRANCISCO--As more devices and technologies rely on wireless networks, federal agencies and the tech industry must use the limited wireless spectrum frugally, an Intel executive said Thursday.

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are among the highest profile and most popular wireless technologies available to consumers. But others, such as WiMax, are on the way, increasing the potential for interference or even the stifling of new technologies because of careless use of the spectrum.

"People are seeing a lot of more interesting things to do with spectrum...We need to be more efficient about what we have, because we can't make more," Intel Senior Fellow Kevin Kahn said during a meeting with reporters.

Intel's interest in wireless arises from its Radio Free Intel initiative, an effort to improve and simplify radio technology so it can be added to a number of different devices. Intel has already invested heavily in Centrino, its processor and Wi-Fi chip bundle, and plans to make WiMax parts available later this year. The company has also been active in creating an ultrawideband standard.

Kahn said Intel has been used as a sounding board for regulators.

"We are not a spectrum holder...we're a bit of a surrogate for the consumer," he said.

The Federal Communications Commission has been re-evaluating the use of the currently occupied wireless spectrum. Its recent efforts have involved freeing up over-the-air television broadcast spectrum. The television spectrum is particularly valuable because it's in the lower radio bands, which means signals with significant amounts of bandwidth per channel can be sent over a long range.

Kahn added that the industry is better off making spectrum more flexible and that he sees a day when technologies are developed to enable smoother transitions across networks.