We've followed Intel's CPU team's march towards mobile for years now, but we've seen very little from the wireless group. That's all beginning to change. Earlier this year at MWC, Brian and I had one of our first meetings with the wireless group at Intel. In that meeting we met Aicha Evans, Vice President of Intel's Mobile & Communications Group. Every now and then I get to meet someone who is a pretty awesome combination of smart and passionate, and Aicha definitely fit the bill.

Unlike most of the folks I talk to on a regular basis at Intel, Aicha didn't come from the CPU side of the business. She got her start at Skyworks, an RF/comms company, before eventually being recruited by Intel to help develop their wireless strategy beginning with WiMAX. While most folks tend to have a very center-of-the-universe approach to talking about the part of mobile SoCs they contribute to, Aicha struck me as unique in that she ultimately views her role at Intel as one of enablement. In her own words: everything that computes, connects. She's taken it upon herself to make sure that Intel's computing story isn't held back by the lack of a connecting one. Her role is a challenging one. Anyone looking to do big things at Intel in the computing side of the business has decades of success in CPUs to rest on. Trying to do the same with wireless at Intel comes with no such safety net, and definitely no head start.

That initial meeting, which unfortunately remains off the record (it was a pretty awesome one), got me wondering if it would be possible to get Aicha talking directly to the AnandTech audience. A couple of months ago, while visiting Intel, Aicha agreed to sit down with me at Intel Studios and talk a bit about their wireless strategy on camera. She also agreed to personally answer any questions AT readers might have about Intel wireless or the industry in general.

In order to make the interview a bit easier to digest, Intel split it up into 5 - 7 minute segments. I've embedded them all below, along with a brief synopsis of each video. After watching the segments, be sure to leave any questions you have for Aicha in the comments to this article. Once we get enough, Aicha will look through them and answer them in an upcoming post.

Everything that Computes, Connects

Aicha's story is actually a great one and I'm sad that we didn't get the entire thing on film, but in this first video you get a bit of her story as well as insight into exactly when Intel got the wake up call that it needed to focus on wireless as well as computing in mobile.

Commitment to Mobility

Intel's march towards mobility hasn't been a swift one. The first video talked about when Intel brought Aicha on, now this video takes us through the time when the company started taking wireless seriously.

Future of Mobility

With the background established, here I got Aicha talking about the integration of Infineon Wireless and how things are going with the LTE roadmap.

Addressing the Global Market for LTE

We dive a bit deeper into the LTE discussion, bringing up the challenges that Intel will face and where Aicha believes the company's strengths are.

Wireless Innovation

Here we talk about room for improvement in wireless technologies, and what sort of innovation we can expect in the coming years. The coolest part of the final segment is where Aicha shares a bit about what drives her. Here we also end with a call for reader questions, which Aicha will be answering herself in the coming weeks!

Call for Questions

As I mentioned at the start of the post, Aicha will be reading your comments. If you have anything you'd like to hear her answer about mobile or wireless, leave your questions in the comments below!

 

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  • looper - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    Great stuff !!

    Anand, wow, you're looking more like an IBM consultant every day! ( Still a great company, and meant as a compliment...)
    :) Brian in RI/USA
    Reply
  • Sailor23M - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    Intel makes great SSDs, combine that with wireless chipset capability and I am wondering if there is a wireless hard drive on the horizon with 802.11ac and USB 3 that can be used as an iOS or android backup? Reply
  • wasabiman123 - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    Fantastic interview, this is why I keep on coming to anandtech, keep up the great work, Aisha seems like someone to keep track of in this industry, love seeing people like that at the helm of tech. Reply
  • BubbaJoe TBoneMalone - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    I cannot wait for a completely wireless PC solution that is secure of course. By the way, nice tan Anand! Have you been in Cancun sipping margaritas. :D Reply
  • ErinCarter - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    Thanks Anand, I loved this. Were you flirting with Aicha a little?
    Intel is never to be underestimated, it will be fascinating to see how things play out over the coming years.

    I might also note that I've frequented AT for well over 10 years now and this is my first post, specifically to thank you. I also really enjoyed reading Ian's recent interviews too. Fantastic stuff, keep it up. Only one thing would make what you guys at AT do even better and that's releasing Podcasts more often/regularly!
    Reply
  • djembe - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    As mentioned in the interview, many people view wireless as an afterthought. When ordering new systems, these people choose default single-stream options that offer inferior performance. Further, many people simply do not understand the differences between different wireless cards released by the same company. I have seen examples of Intel offering simple bars or charts demonstrating how powerful each type of processor is in comparison to the rest of the lineup. Are there any plans in place to simplify branding and promotion of Intel wireless solutions so the average consumer can differentiate between wireless products, similar to what is already in place for CPUs? Also, as there is already an 802.11ac dual stream wireless card released by Intel, is there a timeline for when we can expect an 802.11ac triple stream solution? Reply
  • The Von Matrices - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    Have you gotten any calls from Charlie Rose? I think he wants his set back.

    I unfortunately am not very informed in details of all the wireless standards available and their specific applications, but I agree with Ms. Evans that creating a unified wireless standard would be great. However, I see that as unrealistic as standards bodies do not move fast enough to add new features to an existing standard before independent manufacturers create proprietary standards for themselves and those proprietary standards gain traction. The 802.11n draft was a prominent example of this and there are numerous others .

    However, I wonder about the issue of spectrum. Ms. Evans talks about having new wireless connections such as wireless displays, but I have trouble envisioning this all working properly because that all these new connections will be operating in the existing public wireless spectrum. It's easy to ration spectrum when only one company has legal access to it, but public wireless is a tragedy of the commons. I live in a city and have trouble getting reliable connections on any 2.4GHz network whether it be Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or something else. 5GHz works well enough for me, but that spectrum soon will be just as congested as well.

    In the increasingly crowded public wireless spectrum, what technologies does Ms. Evans foresee that will improve pubic spectrum usage and reliability? Also, how can you improve the public spectrum usage while still maintaining compatibility with legacy devices that might not support the newest wireless standard and thus would not be spectrum efficient.

    Thanks for the great interview.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    2.4ghz only has 60mhz to play with. 5ghz currently has 575 mhz available in the US with FCC proposals to add 120 and 75mhz blocks expanding it even more. 5ghz also is slightly less capable of penetrating walls meaning in urban areas fewer of your neighbors networks are interfering with your wifi. 60ghz has even more spectrum available; and since it's a purely in room technology (walls reflect it) your wireless home theater in your man cave won't interfere with the wireless home theater in your family room. Reply
  • The Von Matrices - Monday, August 19, 2013 - link

    I agree with your argument about short range 60GHz wireless signals being perfect for display connections. But switching to 5GHz for local area networking would mean that a lot more access points would be needed to maintain the same coverage as 2.4GHz networks. I need only one 2.4GHz access point to get some signal in the house (even competing with neighbors) but I need three 5GHz access point to get complete coverage and that is with nothing else I can detect on the 5GHz spectrum. The 5GHz propagation characteristics are not very good at least for my usage.

    The more I think about it though the more I realize that I may be thinking too narrowly. Maybe the access-point/client model is dated. Maybe the future involves mesh networks. Does Ms. Evans see the world switching to mesh networks for anything other than low bandwidth devices (e.g. Zigbee)?
    Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Monday, August 19, 2013 - link

    Thing is, if you want reliable networking in a semi-large house, you want to avoid walls and need more access points. It's pretty much unavoidable. What we need is combination of 500Mbps powerline network adapters with built-in auto-configurable wireless APs so that it's easy to setup while providing the best performance to clients. Reply

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