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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  • elabdump - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    Miracast is crap, wireless HDMI over 60GHz Wlan is the way to go. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    Yeah. I really wish Intel would've put 2x2 dual band in the 2013 ultrabook spec. It'd be useful to a lot more people than widi will.

    And while I know ultrabooks are only a minority of laptops sold; the platform is Intel's biggest soapbox to push minimum standards and unlike most of the places where OEMs blight their models wifi is easy to solve via speccheck.
    Reply
  • tential - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    It's really nice to be able to go on to newegg, hit ultrabook, sort by Haswell, and see pretty much almost all viable solutions.

    Personally, I'd like to see Intel say, 1st gen, 2nd gen, 3rd gen, etc. I feel like the fact that I can sort by ultrabooks, and perhaps pick someothing from 2 years ago since many vendors carry that is unfair to a consumer who isn't as educated. Intel should require people to list what generation Ultrabook it is, as well as have a chart showing the benefits from 1 generation to the next.

    Considering how nice Ultrabooks are, How nice Haswell is, and how the Ultrabook standard is pretty much for Windows/Intel only, it's amazing how these 2 companies haven't worked together, and harder, to push this platform for the back to school season.

    An Ultrabook with Haswell would be a monumental upgrade for the MAJORITY of people I know who have PCs, yet there are no ads at all that I've seen on TV convincing me that I should want something new. I mean I personally know through research on here obviously, but the average consumer is just clueless.
    Reply
  • smilingcrow - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    If the engineers had any input to the Ultrabook specs it would have been there since Rev 1 but unfortunately the marketing drones run that show. Reply
  • skiboysteve - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    Question for Aicha - what happened to Intel Wilkins Peak 2? Is it delayed or cancelled? This was an exciting part. Reply
  • skiboysteve - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    Actually nevermind, I see it was released. There were more form factors previously mentioned than what made it to market though. Reply
  • FXi - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    When will we see 3x3 802.11ac cards from Intel?
    Can the wireless driver team get a reboot? There are serious known bugs causing bsod crashes in every driver released for over a year.
    Can we get an LTE enabled chipset for Haswell?
    Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    If we're going to ask questions, here's one:

    Is Intel going to make any attempt to push that the MAC from 802.11ah become part of "standard" 802.11, perhaps even a rapid followup to 802.11ac?

    With 802.11ah the IEEE seem to have finally bitten the bullet and admitted that the venerable DCF, even with all the patches that have been applied to it via successive specs, just isn't good enough. The question then is: why are we not allowing more standard WiFi use cases (especially the two very common extremes of home with only one device and base station active, or conference with 500 devices active) to utilize the better performance of the 802.11ah MAC (which as of right now is targeted only at a very limited and specific use case --- sub 1GHz low bandwidth long range operations).
    Reply
  • asliarun - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    Anand - you are a superb interviewer! Kudos and please do more.

    A question for Aicha - Can you give us any updates on Rosepoint? It was one of the most exciting demos in IDF last year and frankly, true technological innovation. However, the demo last year was on 32nm. While you may not want to share your roadmap with us (or especially if it will act as a spoiler for the upcoming IDF), but can you share anything that will keep the tech crowd excited? Even the potential possibilities that this technology will enable - will really help keep us excited.
    Reply
  • Menty - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the interview vids, interesting!

    I'm curious why Intel haven't released a decent desktop WiFi adapter? It's fairly common knowledge that Intel Mini-PCIE cards are more or less the best in the business, but it's still nigh on impossible to find a consistently good desktop WiFi card manufacturer. I've resorted to putting Intel Mini-PCIE cards onto adapter boards and getting external antennae, but it's not a very tidy solution!
    Reply

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