Intel on Tuesday looked toward the future of both wired and wireless networking, unveiling a 10-Gigabit Ethernet network interface card and dual-mode IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN products at a news conference here at the Networld+Interop conference.
The Intel PRO/10GbE LR Server Adapter is a product of massive investment and acquisitions by Intel aimed at optical fiber as the high-speed connection of the future in large enterprise and service-provider networks, said Sean Maloney, vice president and general manager of Intel's Communications Group. By the same token, the company is dedicating its wireless development resources toward components and devices that can support multiple versions of standard 802.11 technology.
The 10-Gigabit Ethernet technology is the next step in the development of Ethernet and is expected to play a large role in metropolitan networks. It will also become necessary on corporate backbones as Gigabit Ethernet is deployed at desktops and wireless LAN users spend more time online, Maloney said. Because 10-Gigabit Ethernet exceeds the capacity of copper wire at less than about 50 feet (15 meters), Intel needs to address optical technology in order to keep on top of Ethernet, he added. The Santa Clara, California chip giant is the world's largest maker of Ethernet components, Maloney said.
Intel's 10-Gigabit Ethernet card was built using mostly Intel components, including technology it acquired with the purchase last year of LightLogic Inc. that largely automates the alignment of a fiber with a laser, according to Caroline Larson, a product marketing official in Intel's 10-Gigabit group. Intel expects it to ship to equipment vendors in volume in the third quarter of this year. It is running in servers in 10 Gigabit Ethernet Alliance interoperability demonstrations this week at the show, Maloney said.
Also Tuesday, Intel introduced an access point and a chip set that support both 11M bps (bit-per-second) 802.11b and 54M bps 802.11a wireless LANs. The growing base of 802.11b networks and the potential of 802.11a mean users will demand dual-speed clients and access points for wireless connectivity in many locations, Maloney said.
The Intel PRO/Wireless 5000 LAN Dual Band Access Point, based on a chip set from Atheros Communications Inc., will ship in about 30 days, Maloney said. The company also showed off its first internally developed dual-band chip set, which Intel expects will ship in devices by year's end.
Gigabit Ethernet also made a leap toward the mainstream as Intel announced availability of a Gigabit Ethernet network interface card for desktop PCs priced the same as a 10/100M bps Ethernet adapter, at US$59. The company also announced the availability of five other Gigabit Ethernet adapters. Meanwhile, Intel said Dell Computer Corp. will offer Gigabit Ethernet standard on the motherboards of future OptiPlex desktop PCs.
Networld+Interop continues through Friday.