With high-profile backing, Cometa Networks
will win the Wi-Fi wars, Forrester says.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker, along with others such as AT&T and IBM, is alsostart-up Cometa Networks, which is working to deploy a nationwide network of public hot spots to give subscribers access to the Internet from just about anywhere.
"These investments accelerate our business strategy, and it's always a good thing when our equity strategy promotes our business strategy," said John Hull, a director of the Intel Communications Fund.
The computer industry has latched onto Wi-Fi in hopes of renewing consumer interest. The technology is gradually infiltrating everything from PCs to, leading industry analysts to forecast significant growth in the coming years as consumers complement their high-speed broadband access with wireless networks and connect their devices to those networks.
Intel is also looking to jump onto the Wi-Fi bandwagon with its first Wi-Fi module, code-named Calexico, which will be part of a platform that will include its upcoming Banias notebook processor. Intel originally planned to come out with a dual-band 802.11(a)(b) chip at the same time it released its upcoming Banias notebook processor and Calexico, in the first half of 2003, but it is delaying its Wi-Fi chips until later in the first half of 2003 to clean up some engineering issues and clear regulatory hurdles.
Intelin October that its Communications Fund planned to invest $150 million in wireless start-ups to help accelerate the acceptance of 802.11, also known as Wi-Fi. The technology lets devices located within a 300-foot radius of one another communicate without wires. Intel is taking minority stakes--less than 20 percent--in companies, typically investing between $1 million to $10 million. The Communications Fund is managed by Intel Capital, which was created to invest $500 million in voice and data communications technologies.
Salt Lake City-based STSN connects hotel guest rooms and meeting rooms to wired and wireless high-speed data networks.
TeleSym, which is based in Bellevue, Wash., develops software that allows voice communications over wireless networks and can be used on mobile PCs and handheld devices.