Nine leading technology companies banded together this month to form a new industry alliance aimed at developing standards to ensure interoperability among wireless multimedia devices. The non-profit group, dubbed WiMedia Alliance, said that it will establish a certification program to accelerate consumer demand for wireless products, as well as manage a WiMedia brand and license it to organizations whose products make the grade. To begin, the group’s activities will be based on the IEEE 802.15.3 draft standard with enhancements planned for future wireless systems such as ultra-wideband, the alliance said in a statement. WiMedia’s founding members include Eastman Kodak Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., Motorola Inc., Royal Philips Electronics NV, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Sharp Laboratories of America Inc., Time Domain Corp., XtremeSpectrum Inc. and Appairent Technologies Inc.

Texas Instruments Inc. has unveiled a low-power chip designed to support power-hungry Wi-Fi adapters while still providing the fast, untethered Internet access that the wireless spec promises. Power-hungry WiFi adapters can take a big bite out of battery life, especially for smaller portable devices such as PDAs. The new WiFi chip, the TNETW1100B, is said to consume a tenth or less of the standby power of competing chips. Since most Wi-Fi-enabled devices spend the vast majority of time in standby or other non-operational modes (TI estimates most devices spend 95 per cent of their time in such “rest periods”), the new chip should substantially prolong battery life.

Zhone Technologies Inc. has announced upgrades to its Sechtor 300 access gear for service provider networks. The equipment, which can be placed in remote terminals or switching offices, now supports automatic remote testing of the gear, a two-port STS-1 optical card and aggregating basic-rate interface ISDN lines by using a single control channel per four payload channels. See the company at