06:17 PM

Intel, Cisco To Partner On VoIP, WiFi Access

The two are hoping to create systems that are secure and easy to use for both home and enterprise environments, executives said.

Intel and Cisco Systems have entered into a new partnership aimed at making it easier to connect to wireless and voice over IP (VoIP) technologies, the companies said.

The alliance was one of several mobile technology announcements Intel made during its twice-annual Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. The Santa Clara, Calif., company also said it has agreed to work with Panasonic to improve notebook battery life.

Several thousand developers, gathered from around the world, heard the mobility-related announcements during the keynote by Intel Executive Vice President Sean Maloney. Maloney's speech continued the theme, set earlier by CEO Paul Otellini, that energy efficiency and performance per watt are now among the largest factors driving Intel development.

The Intel-Cisco alliance -- announced jointly by Maloney and Charlie Giancarlo, Cisco's chief development officer -- will combine the efforts of two industry powerhouses as they attempt to solve some of the thornier issues in the explosive WiFi space.

The companies are seeking to "create an out-of-box experience that is secure and easy to use on both [home and enterprise] environments," Giancarlo said. "Voice over IP on WiFi is really, really tricky."

Specifically, Intel and Cisco will work to develop enhanced VoIP quality-of-service technology that boosts audio technology while more reliably deploying VoIP and voice communication on notebooks.

In addition, the companies will optimize access point (AP) selection technology -- giving notebooks the ability to sniff out WiFi networks based on quality of bandwidth and connectivity, as well as providing more efficient roaming capabilities. Cisco and Intel are calling the new feature sets the Business Class Wireless Suite. It will be aimed at companies that deploy both Cisco's Unified Wireless Architecture and Intel's Centrino mobile platforms.

In his speech, Maloney also revealed that Intel has agreed to work with electronics giant and notebook vendor Panasonic to improve notebook battery life. Maloney said that the joint development, which will include adding "some nickel" to existing battery technology, would add "as much as 30 percent improvement in overall life of battery." Intel has stated a goal of providing eight-hour battery life in notebooks by 2008.

During his keynote, Maloney reiterated Intel's mobile roadmap, which calls for the dual-core Yonah platform to ship early next year followed by a more power-efficient, dual-core Merom platform in the second half of 2006.

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