Intel’s Wireless Ride

Few doubt that Intel takes wireless seriously. Attendees of the twice-annual Intel Developer Forum (IDF), coming next week in San Jose, Calif., get an up-close look at what Intel thinks Wi-Fi is capable of in the form of a decked out, silver and black Fleetwood recreational vehicle (RV) dubbed the Digital Motor Coach .

Previously run at gatherings like the February 2002 Intel Developers’ Conference (also in San Jose) and the National Education Computing Conference 2003 in Seattle, this 38-foot Motor Coach holds a lot of the latest in wireless technology. In fact, it’s the first hotspot on wheels certified as a Wi-Fi ZONE by the Wi-Fi Alliance (though it’s not the first hotspot on wheels… that distinction probably belongs to either the Wireless Car Rig or Casey West and the HighWLAN).

The Digital Motor Coach showcases wireless technology from various parts of Intel, including the company’s Digital Home and new products from its research and development area. Third parties are also prominent, as the RV will utilize Bluetooth technology from Silicon Wave (which is the company that will provide the first Bluetooth module for Intel Wireless Coexistence System (WCS), part of Intel Centrino mobile technology), and Wi-Fi/hotspot products from Bluesocket and Nomadix. They’ll also be showing off the software based Symphone from TeleSym , which turns PocketPC PDAs with Wi-Fi into VoIP phones.

These companies have all been invested in by Intel Capital, which last year made a commitment of $150 million dollars toward companies doing innovative things with wireless LAN technology. Other companies Intel has invested in include hotel hotspot operator STSN, wireless switch maker Vivato, and wholesale hotspot supplier Cometa Networks.

According to Bluesocket, inside the vehicle a Windows XP media server is running to provide visitors with HTML pages accessed via tablet PCs (no doubt running Intel’s Centrino mobile). Through the server, visitors can get access to controls for and information about the vehicle.

The vehicle will also show off an Alvarion Subscriber Station using wireless backhaul based on the 802.16a standard for wireless metropolitan area networks, colloquially known as WiMax. In July, Intel and Alvarion of Israel — both members of the WiMax Forum industry group — announced that the two would be working together to create 802.16a chips.

The Digital Motor Coach will be open in front of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center during the IDF Fall 2003 next week at various times for open-house hours, September 16 to 18.

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