Toshiba to put 802.11a in notebooks by December

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Toshiba to put 802.11a in notebooks by December

Toshiba has announced it will include an 802.11a wireless radio module in its Satellite 6100 Pro lineup of business notebooks by the end of the year and will release a wireless access point for home users.

Antennas for the more common 802.11b and the newer 802.11a wireless standards have been included in the Satellite Pro series since earlier this year, said Oscar Koenders, Toshiba vice-president of product marketing and worldwide product planning.

Notebook computers with wireless LAN technologies (WLAN) need both the antenna, normally built into a PC, and the radio module or transceiver, normally plugged into a slot on the side or back of the notebook, to connect to the Internet. However, Toshiba's design allows the user to access the Internet using either the "a" or "b" standard without an external card, Koenders said. The user can still use the standard, regardless whether they are in an "a" or "b" area.

The Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) developed the 802.11 standards for WLAN connections. The 802.11b standard, also known as WiFi, is the most common. It allows data to be transferred wirelessly at speeds of 11Mbps. The newer standard, 802.11a, allows for data-transfer speeds of up to 54Mbps, but usually runs slower and operates at higher frequencies.

Toshiba's WRC-1000 wireless access point will be available for consumers, Koenders said. Toshiba took the technology from some of its hot spot access points, and condensed it into an access point for home users. Hot spots are public WLANs, usually available in places such as hotel lobbies, airports and coffee shops.

The WRC-1000 will cost $149 (£94) with a $30 (£19) mail-in rebate, and will be available through Toshiba's Web site.

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