Gateway has unveiled several products to allow PC users to connect to wireless networks.
The new wireless routers, USB (universal serial bus) adapters, and PC cards use the 802.11g and 802.11b standards for wireless networking.
The 802.11g standard enables wireless connections as fast as 54Mbps (bits per second), although in most cases users will experience connection speeds of around 20Mbps. The 802.11b standard allows connections as fast as 11bps, but is also somewhat slower in most cases.
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Gateway yesterday introduced an 802.11g router at $99 and an 802.11b router at $69. The company also released a $59 wireless USB adapter that connects desktop PCs to 802.11b wireless networks via a USB port, and a $69 PCI adapter that is installed inside a PC's case through a PCI (peripheral component interconnect) slot for connections to 802.11g networks.
For notebook users, Gateway now offers two PC cards for wireless networking. The Gateway 802.11g Cardbus Card costs $59, and the Gateway 802.11b card costs $49.
The products based on the 802.11g standard use chipsets from Broadcom. Gateway used a chipset from Intersil for the PC card and USB adapter, and a chipset from Marvell Semiconductor in the 802.11b router.
Gateway already offers products from Linksys Group that use the 802.11a standard, said John Schindler, manager of connectivity products at Gateway. The company is looking into developing its own products based on that standard for high-bandwidth applications, but has not seen enough demand from consumers to justify its own product at this time.
The 802.11a standard enables connection speeds as fast as the 802.11g standard, but with a much shorter range. 802.11a products also run on a different frequency from 802.11b and 802.11g products, and are, therefore, incompatible with products based on those standards.
Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service