Intel to Debut Wireless Hub, PC Cards

BOSTON (06/08/2000) - Intel Corp. and Symbol Technologies Inc. will soon roll out a wireless hub and PC card aimed at enterprise users on the move.

Expected to sell for US$999 when it's released in August, the PRO/Wireless 2011 hub could give companies a flexible way to let laptop users move around corporate campuses as they work. The 2011 is also a good way to give visiting users secure access to the corporate network for training and company meetings.

Intel's Stephen Faltzman says the 2011 was codeveloped with Symbol. The deal, announced in February, included a $100 million Intel investment in Symbol.

Intel and Symbol also plan to debut the PRO/Wireless 2011 LAN PC Card for $199 in August to coincide with the release of the 2011 wireless hub. The products support distances of about 25 meters in a typical office setting, Intel says.

Craig Mathias, an analyst with Farpoint Group in Ashland, Massachusetts, says Intel's partnership and investment in Symbol will result in more powerful devices by year-end. As more 802.11b-compliant products appear, prices will also decrease, he says.

The 2011 LAN PC Card supports the industry standard IEEE 802.11b specification, meaning it can transfer data at 11M-bps - a slightly higher rate than standard Ethernet, which is 10M-bps. Older wireless LAN devices operated at 2M-bps and were expensive. Support for 802.11b makes new products powerful enough for video streaming, file transfers, voice over IP or more bandwidth-intensive e-commerce transactions.

The 2011 wireless hub features management tools that let network professionals remotely configure and monitor network performance, reducing the amount of time they spend on-site to perform maintenance and upgrades.

Intel and Symbol will sell both products under their respective brand names, with Intel aiming its offerings at PC OEMs and Symbol aiming for the value-added reseller market. While the two firms are development partners, they will compete against each other in certain markets.

Intel also faces competition from Proxim, Lucent and No Wires Needed, which unveiled 11M-bps wireless LAN systems recently.

Intel also offers a wireless network system called AnyPoint for home and small office users. The AnyPoint products are based on a different standard called Home RF, which supports transmission speeds up to 1.6M-bps.

The IDG News Service contributed to this story.

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