Intel has said it has turned off software in its family of mobile processors that could cause some Centrino-powered notebooks to crash when used with a virtual private network (VPN) under the Windows or Windows XP operating system.
Nortel Networks said it had determined that Centrino-powered notebooks crash when running Nortel's Contivity VPN client. Nortel claims to have shipped more than 50 million copies of Contivity.
Intel spokesman Daniel Francisco said the chipmaker had determined that the problem occurs when VPNs are used with the adaptive-switching utility in its Centrino PROSet software. That utility allows users to maintain a connection when they switch from a wired network connection to a wireless LAN connection.
Intel believes that most Centrino systems shipping today have the adaptive-switching functionality turned off, Francisco said. He added that the problem occurs with laptops made by more than one manufacturer and with VPNs from a number of vendors.
Nortel developed a similar work-around of its own, but according to a Nortel technical bulletin (download PDF), the fix means "the added functionality of the PROSet drivers will not be available".
The Centrino architecture, widely adopted by notebook and laptop PC manufacturers after its release in March, includes a Pentium M mobile processor and an 855 chip set, which helps manage power consumption, graphics and Universal Serial Bus ports. Intel backed the Centrino launch with a $US300 million advertising campaign.