Intel Taps Etenna For Notebook Antennas

Building on its wireless strategy, Intel Tuesday said it has inked a deal to create next generation antennas for wireless notebook computers.

The partnership with Laurel, Md.-based Etenna Corp. will give original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and original design manufacturers (ODMs) reference designs to incorporate 802.11a/b and Bluetooth antennas into their future products.

The two companies say they have been working together for almost a year to apply Etenna’s artificial magnetic conductor to Intel’s reference design mobile platforms. The technology uses traditional materials to create a periodic structure with distributed inductors and capacitors.

By enhancing antenna isolation, Etenna claims interference between protocols such as Bluetooth, and 802.11b/g is reduced. The idea is to improve data rates and extend range when the two protocols are operated simultaneously — one application no longer has to be turned off while the other one runs.

“We are strategically placing ‘RF speed bumps’ along the edge of the laptop screen to reduce surface currents created by the antennas,” says Etenna Executive Vice President Greg Mendolia. “Applying this treatment between antennas embedded into laptops dramatically improves in-band isolation by over 20 dB. Without this treatment, the isolation is typically 20-25 dB, but with the treatment isolation in excess of 45 dB has been achieved within Intel’s specified form factor.”

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel spent the last week defining its wireless strategy at its Spring 2003 Intel Developer Forum. Among it’s initiatives, the chipmaking giant is gearing up to release its Centrino mobile chipset on March 12.

No word yet on which OEMs and ODMs would be first in line for the new Intel/Etenna antenna systems.

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