Carrier WiFi

Proxim Offers Dual-G

Amidst the herd of new enterprise wireless LAN infrastructure products announced today by Proxim Corp. (Nasdaq: PROX) was what the company believes to be the first access point sporting two 802.11g (54-Mbit/s over 2.4GHz) radios (see Proxim Pushes 802.11 Pack).

The idea is that the double-g access point could act like a two-lane blacktop, easing traffic problems between 802.11b (11-Mbit/s over 2.4GHz) and g users on the access point. The g standard is designed to be backwards-compatible with b, but some users have found that early versions of the g specification can knock b radios off the air on crowded networks (see Interop Woes Smite 802.11g).

The dual-radio access point is supposed to help some of those congestion problems. "What you do with the two-g unit is dedicate one channel to g users who need high performance," says a company spokesperson. "The other channel can be used with both types of radios."

The g-only channel can offer higher throughput in part because it doesn't have to support both types of devices by sending out initial data strings that can be recognized by both types of client device. The complementary code keying (CCK) preamble that lets a b device know that there is an access point in the area is longer than the one used to communicate with g clients, and thus slows down the performance of the entire network.

However, although the dual-g node could help with congestion problems, users are still likely to face interference problems in general -- as more and more high-bandwidth g devices come into use on the public 2.4GHz band (see N+I: Noise Report).

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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