AirPort Gets Boost As Intel Shifts From HomeRF To 802.11b

C|Net is reporting that Intel has shifted from supporting HomeRF as the wireless connectivity platform of choice to supporting 802.11b. 802.11b is the technology that Apple uses in AirPort. This marks a major shift in the battle for standards, and puts the technology Apple backed clearly in the lead for the future. From C|Netis article:

But with HomeRF support sagging, Intel five months ago announced it would switch its support to 802.11b, or Wi-Fi, a competing wireless standard backed by Apple Computer, Dell Computer, Cisco Systems, Lucent Technologies spinoff Agere Systems and many others.

Intel on Wednesday will announce new AnyPoint Wireless II Network products based on 802.11b that let people wirelessly link their PCs and laptops so they can share a Net connection, files and computer peripherals such as printers. The products will allow laptop users to roam around a house and surf the Web.

Intel previously touted HomeRF as cheaper than 802.11b, but prices of 802.11b products have dropped considerably in the past year. Intel previously sold 802.11b products aimed at businesses and HomeRF products aimed at consumers. But Intel executives say supporting one standard will allow workers to go home and have their work laptops easily connect to a wireless home network.

Analysts said the rift between companies in the home-networking market has caused a standards war similar to the VCR technology battle that pitted VHS against Betamax in the early days of videotape machines. But analysts say Intelis support for 802.11b gives the technology the edge to win out as the standard in the home.

802.11b is also the technology behind the Microsoft/Starbucks alliance that is placing wireless connectivity in most of the Starbucks outlets around the US. It can also be found in a variety of airports and convention centers around the country.

There is more in the C|Net report that we did not quote, and it is an interesting read. Thanks to Observer gopher for giving us the heads up on the C|Net report.