Carrier WiFi

'Pre-G''s Alright With Me

Hardware vendors touting uncertified 802.11g (54-Mbit/s over 2.4GHz) products at last week’s WLAN Event in London were playing down fears that their existing equipment will be incompatible with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE)’s future standard, expected on June 12 (see 'G' Spec Nears Completion ).

Despite market concerns over how well these earlier products will work with kit using the baked standard, D-Link Systems Inc., U.S. Robotics Corp., Proxim Corp. (Nasdaq: PROX), and Intersil Corp. (Nasdaq: ISIL) were all pushing pre-ratified g equipment to passing punters.

Proxim’s senior VP and general manager of its LAN Division, Angela Champness, completely dismisses any suggestion of a problem. “Any changes will just be cosmetic,” she predicts. “We don’t believe there is any risk in launching new products at this time.” Champness claims that the launch of the company’s ORiNOCO AP-2000g access point was necessary in order for the company to become what she calls “the only wireless infrastructure provider to have enterprise class 802.11g products.”

U.S Robotics -- launching a suite of 802.11g Wireless Turbo networking products -- hopes to start shipment in July, once the standard is finalized, but told Unstrung it was possible it could begin selling before that (see US Robotics Nortonizes WLAN). “If this situation arises, we will do all we can to ensure the equipment is compatible,” says EMEA product marketing executive Maxime Grandchamp.

[Ed. note: Champness? Grandchamp? You're having me on, right?]

Meanwhile low-end players Netgear Inc. and Intersil both say they will provide a free firmware upgrade available from their Websites, should existing products require modification.

Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) was the sole exhibitor Unstrung found that was purposely delaying the release of any 802.11g kit. “We won’t be launching g products until the standard has been ratified,” says Peter Finter, the company’s EMEA director for enterprise solutions. “It is work in progress within our business but we just don’t have the confidence to launch it without causing potential problems to our customers.”

— Justin "Champ" Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung
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