Wireless access is hot, and the wireless technology that most people are becoming accustomed to-802.11b-is getting faster and more robust through enhancement gear from home networking leader Linksys.
Linksys has developed a new product that increases the operating range and performance of the company's 802.11b wireless networks gear, specifically its Wireless Signal Booster WSB24. The new booster connects either to a Linksys 802.11b access point or wireless router, and effectively increases the range of the network and the strength of the signal being shipped wirelessly.
Linksys currently boasts nearly 2 million WiFi (the industry term for wireless gear based on the OFDM-based 802.11 scheme) access points and wireless routers worldwide. The new booster will be available at retail for about $100, Linksys said.
802.11b wireless technology was the first flavor to be adopted as the basis for personal wireless LANs, yet the platform continues to evolve, getting faster and with longer range. 802.11b works in the crowded 2.4 GHz frequency and, under ideal circumstances, offers throughput of up to 11 Mbps. A newer flavor of the technology—802.11g—is poised to co-opt 802.11b networks, offering far greater throughput rates (approaching 54 Mbps) in the same common 2.4 GHz frequency. However, new 802.11g gear is currently in the process of being standardized, and isn't expected to dent the wireless networking market until later in the year.
For now, though, the new Linksys booster can get 802.11b users closer to that target data rate, allowing for better performance in areas where either extended range or a noisy environment are having an adverse affect on wireless network performance.