Intel launch will kick-start fast wireless competition

Wireless networking products based on the IEEE 802.11a standard will be launched by Intel in November. They will be able to...

Wireless networking products based on the IEEE 802.11a standard will be launched by Intel in November. They will be able to transfer data up to five times faster than current 802.11b products, writes Eric Doyle.

The slightly more expen-sive 11a products will have a range equal to 11b but offer transfer speeds of up to 12mbps, compared to the current 2mbps, at 90m between an enabled device and an access point connected to a conventional Lan. Closer to the access point, 11a can achieve rates of 54mbps - 11b offers just 11mbps.

This market sector will be hotly contested, with Proxim, Enterasys Networks, Cisco, 3Com and Agere all planning to launch products in the near future. Although the access points will support both standards' frequencies, sales of 11b will continue because of the cost of replacing existing, relatively new access points with the dual-standard models.

One influential factor is that 11a works on the 5GHz waveband rather than the 2.4GHz frequency of 11b, cutting interference from other devices using that waveband.

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