We realize that Intel has probably waited about as long as it possibly can on this not-yet-ratified 802.11n deal, but on the very day we see some rare signs of life in the 802.11 task force, Intel is making its own draft-spec 802.11n Mini PCI card official. While we've known that Intel would be backing the protocol for some time now, the company has just announced that the 4965agn card (backwards compatible with a/b/g networks) will be replacing the existing 3945abg card and should be shipping on most Vista-equipped laptops. Intel claims that its new card will offer up "five times the performance, twice the range, and greater battery life" than its predecessor. Additionally, the firm launched the "Connect with Centrino" campaign, which will force vendors such as Asus, Belkin, Buffalo, D-Link, and Netgear to pass Intel's own line of testing in order to receive its coveted seal of approval, which is just begging to cause inoperability problems whenever 802.11n goes final. Users interested in getting the latest WiFi chip in their Centrino package can look for that (probably large) palm rest sticker signifying that it's certified starting this week, and if you're completely bored interested, you can click on through to see a demonstration video on how Intel tests its own Connect with Centrino program.

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Intel's built-in 802.11n Mini PCI card gets official