Last year, Intel announced technology to make Wi-Fi handle personal area jobs as well as LAN chores. Now it's here.

When Intel announced "Cliffside", we couldn't really see the need. It's a software update, that lets the Wi-Fi in a Centrino notebook set up additional ad hoc connections for personal area networking (PAN) of other consumer electronic devices, such as cameras and printers.

Isn't that what Bluetooth is for, we wondered?

This year, at CES, Intel seems to have delivered it, under the rather Seuss-y name My Wi-Fi. We can't find anything directly from Intel, but it's reported in EE Times, and in APC Mag with pictures.

The reality has a logic to it. Intel's My Wi-Fi spec allows up to eight extra ad hoc devices alongside an existing Wi-Fi connection. It's got nifty set-up screens in Windows Vista, using Vista's Internet Connection Sharing utility. A company called G2 has launched a Wi-Fi module for consumer devices, which would then hook up easily with a My Wi-Fi equipped laptop.

So what about laptops witnh My Wi-Fi? They could be around soon, as My Wi-Fi will be included in Intel's Centrino modules. But laptops will only support it if they have Intel's own 5100 or 5300 Wi-Fi chips in them, not the currently-more-popular Atheros modules.

So, if this takes off, there might be more to that possessive pronoun. That Wi-Fi you're using? It's Intel's.

Update: Here are links to some Intel material from the CES press pack.

- a Guidebook (PDF)

- Devices passing My wi-Fi interoperability