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One of Year's Hot Technologies... Wireless Networking

Techstination feature for Thursday, January 3, 2002

One of the hot technologies to watch this year... wireless networking. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Over the last year, wireless connections using a standard called 802.11b have become much more affordable. You can add the capability to a desktop or notebook for about a hundred dollars. But the new year is bringing wireless connections that are five times faster. The problem is... there will be two competing standards that sound like alphabet soup. One is 802.11a and the other is 802.11g. Lesley Kirchman of Actiontec Electronics admits it can be a little confusing for consumers...

"I agree that there's going to be at some point a need to set a little bit more on standards. I agree that there's going to be some confusion in the marketplace until then because of all the competing standards. I think what will happen is, you'll see a natural winner."

Higher speed 802.11A... is just coming to market... but isn't compatible with B. 802.11G, which will emerge later this year... is backward compatible with B. As for Actiontec's strategy to develop products for all the standards, Kirchman says...

"We've learned in this business, nobody really knows what's going to happen. The way the market changes, it can change on a dime in a day. We want to be the leading edge in terms of wireless and then we're watch and see how things play out. And then at that point we'll make some decisions."

For most people and most applications... 802.11b... is fast enough, is easy to install and more affordable than the new products will be for some time. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.