Intel Increases Wireless Investments

Chipmaker hopes technology from STSN and TeleSym will complement its next-generation mobile processor.
Intel has made additional investments in privately held wireless technology companies STSN Inc. and TeleSym Inc. as part of the chipmaker's $150 million commitment to invest in companies developing 802.11b Wi-Fi technology.

Intel is hoping that technology from STSN and TeleSym will complement its next generation of 802.11-compatible mobile processor, code-named Banias, which is scheduled for release in the first half of next year. The investment, revealed by Intel on Wednesday, is the chipmaker's fifth in STSN since 1999. STSN's wireless high-speed data-communications technology is available in 120,000 hotel guestrooms and 4,000 meeting rooms worldwide.

TeleSym received its first investment from Intel. TeleSym's wireless networking software can be used on laptops and PDAs to turn these devices into wireless speakerphones.

The $150 million Wi-Fi commitment is part of the $500 million Intel Communications Fund the company established in 1999. Although Intel wouldn't disclose exactly how much it invested in each company, a spokeswoman says Intel typically doesn't invest more than $10 million in any one company at one time.

Intel's objective is to lay the foundation for its Banias processor, says Brooks Gray, research director for Technology Business Research. "The adoption rate of wireless technology outside of mobile phones has been slow, particularly with notebook computers," Gray says. "Intel needs to invest in a wireless-computing infrastructure in order to create a market for this technology."