Intel Grows Its Wireless Line

SAN FRANCISCO (06/05/2000) - Intel Corp. announces today two wireless networking products targeted at business users and performance-hungry consumers based on the IEEE 802.11b standard. Developed with Symbol Technologies, the $199 Intel Pro/Wireless 2011 LAN PC Card is for notebooks; the $999 2011 LAN Access Point acts as a wireless network hub. Both will ship on August 7.

Intel isn't taking sides in the ongoing wireless networking standard debate.

The company also recently announced AnyPoint home networking products based on the slower, but less expensive, HomeRF wireless standard.

"The AnyPoint is HomeRF, which is optimized for consumers with an emphasis on low cost," says Stephen Saltzman, co-general manager of Intel wireless LAN operations.

The 802.11B technology offers top transfer speeds of up to 11 MB per second, while HomeRF tops out at about 1.6 mbps. "The 802.11b products are basically wireless Ethernet."

The Pro/Wireless 2011 LAN PC Card lets you connect your notebook to other notebooks with the same card, Saltzman says.

Distributed Network

When you create a network of notebook PCs without a network access point, it's essentially a peer-to-peer network, operating without a server.

While you can create a network without the access point, there are several advantages to using one, Salztman says. For starters, a single access point offers improved coverage, with a maximum range of about 300 feet, although transfer speeds drop after 100 feet. For best coverage, you can station multiple access points around the office, such as on bookshelves or mounted on walls, he says. And you can connect an access point to an existing Ethernet network using a standard cable, linking your notebooks to the same network as your desktops.

Intel includes software that helps you determine the best placement of access points around the office, Saltzman says. The software also lets you easily swap between different 802.11b networks. That way if you have one at work, and install one at home, you can use them both with minimal hassle.

Installations at home will be a little difficult at first, however, as Intel hasn't yet announced a desktop product. While there are no official announcements yet, the company will likely offer a PCI- or Universal Serial Bus-based product down the road, he says.

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