Lucent Introduces USB Client for Wireless Systems

Lucent Technologies on Tuesday announced a USB (Universal Serial Bus) wireless device for its Orinoco wireless networking system that the company hopes will simplify the process of setting up a wireless network.

By using the Orinoco USB Client, users can wirelessly network a computer by plugging the device into the computer's USB connector and installing the necessary software, according to Lucent officials.

The USB Client device features a range of 1,200 feet and speeds as fast as 11Mbps. It enables communication between any USB-enabled PC and Lucent's line of Orinoco access points for both large enterprises and homes. The device also is compatible with wireless networking devices from other companies such as Acer, Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sony, Toshiba, and others, Lucent officials said.

A USB device makes it much easier to install a wireless networking system, according to Barney Dewey, an analyst at Andrew Seybold's Outlook, in Campbell, Calif.

"You just take this cute little device and plug it into the USB port of the computer, load the software, and you are up and running," Dewey said.

"The main issue is that on desktop computers it is not easy for people to add a wireless LAN device because there are no PC Card slots, and to open up the computer and install one is not something most people want to do," he added.

Dewey said the device will likely open up the potential for wireless networking for the home and small office market. He added that USB connectivity is also important in the enterprise space as well.

"In enterprises people tend not to make desktops the hub for a wireless device. But certainly in those instances where you are putting in a portable office or a quick set up for a special project team, I think it is important because it makes set up much easier," Dewey said. "There are a lot of things going on in the enterprise that require fast implementations, and that is where this really fits."

The USB device is powered through the computer's USB connector and does not need a separate power supply, Lucent said.

The USB Client will be available in the first quarter of next year, priced at US$199 for 64-bit key encryption and $219 for 128-bit key encryption.

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