Intel to ship 11Mbps wireless LAN products

Intel in August will start shipping wireless networking products that enable workers to connect their notebooks to a LAN (local area network) at speeds of up to 11Mbps (bits per second), the company announced yesterday.

The products will include a wireless LAN PC card, which slots into the side of a notebook allowing data to be sent and received across the airwaves, and a wireless access point, which acts as a hub connecting devices to a company's existing wireline network, Intel said in a written statement.

The products are based on an industry standard called IEEE 802.11b, which supports transmission speeds of up to 11Mbps. That should be fast enough to support high-bandwidth applications such as video streaming, voice over IP and large file transfers, as well as everyday applications like email.

The networking system will work at a range of about 25 metres in a typical office setting, said Scott McLaughlin, an Intel spokesman.

Intel already offers a wireless networking system for home and small office users called AnyPoint. The AnyPoint products are based on a different standard called Home RF, which supports transmission speeds of up to 1.6Mbps.

The products announced yesterday are aimed at business and education markets, and are the first to emerge from a co-development agreement announced in February between Intel and wireless networking specialist Symbol Technologies. Symbol offers 11Mbps wireless LAN products of its own, and while the two companies are partners in development, they will also compete against each other in certain markets.

Intel also faces competition from Proxim, Lucent Technologies, and No Wires Needed BV of the Netherlands, which unveiled an 11Mbps wireless LAN system at the Networld+Interop show in May.

The Intel PRO/Wireless 2011 LAN PC Card and the Intel PRO/Wireless 2011 LAN Access Point will be priced at $US199 and $999, respectively. The products are due to go on sale in the US, Europe and Australia on August 7, in Japan in September, and in the remainder of the Asia-Pacific region during the fourth quarter, Intel's McLaughlin said.

Availability may vary from country to country outside the US. Like other vendors of similar equipment, Intel must obtain certification from local communications authorities before it can offer wireless products in those regions, McLaughlin said.

Intel also announced yesterday that it will locate its wireless networking development activities in San Diego, which it said is home to one of the highest concentrations of engineers working in that field in the country. Intel's Wireless LAN Operation has accelerated its staffing since announcing its partnership with Symbol, and plans to employ more than 100 engineers in the San Diego area.

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