Intel Launches Wimax Program for Linux

Apr 04, 2008

Chip manufacturer Intel has relaunched its development program for Linux. This time, the focus is on Wimax.

The chip manufacturer has published a new stack and some initial drivers for its Wimax chips at linuxwimax.org. Based on the IEEE 802.16e standard, the technology supports higher transmission rates and greater ranges compared with legacy 802.11.x WLAN technology. Intel is looking to deploy Wimax on a range of mobile devices such as notebooks, Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and mobile phones.

The new Wimax stack comprises two parts. Besides the required kernel space component, some userspace components are also available. The driver supports such as the Intel "Wimax/WiFi Link 5050" (codename: Echo Peak). Intel has also published a userspace daemon, libraries and a control interface to give developers and users access to functions such as network scanning, roaming management and hardware contro. The Wimax stack and drivers are licensed under the GPL for the most part. The BSD license was chosen for some parts of the driver and the Wimax Network Service. The device firmware is distributed under the Intel Free Distribution Binary License. The supplicant, the client that handles authentication, is also closed source, and only available in binary format.

The "Intel Free Distribution Binary License" is not an Open Source license as Intel points out in the FAQ. The components under this license are “free as in beer”, that is they can be used without charge and without restrictions, however, modifications and re-engineering are not permitted.

Intel's project website has a mass of information on the new Wimax stack including source code package and firmware downloads.

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