D-Link offers multimode wireless networking products

D-Link Systems Inc. has announced a new line of multimode wireless networking products that support IEEE 802.11a and 802.11b specifications, and the draft spec of 802.11g as well -- the same specification Apple follows for its AirPort Extreme products.

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Wireless networking has been fractured in the past couple of years. Conventional 802.11b networking is gaining ubiquity in corporate and public access environments. Some companies have adopted the faster-but-incompatible 802.11a specification, while some vendors are hedging their bets on 802.11g -- a faster form of wireless networking that's backwardly compatible with the popular 802.11b spec.

The final specification for 802.11g hasn't yet been ratified by the IEEE, but that will happen this summer. That's close enough for some vendors like Apple and D-Link to begin shipping products based on the draft specification, which isn't expected to change enough between now and then to make devices that use the draft spec incompatible with the final specification. What's more, D-Link hopes to bridge the compatibility gap between 802.11a and 802.11b/g with new multimode solutions by offering wireless networking products that work -- regardless of the specification used.

D-Link's new multimode product line includes the DI-864 Wireless Router with 4-Port Switch, a wireless broadband router with firewall features, Web browser administration, an embedded DHCP server, and four auto-sensing 10/100Mbps ports. Also available is the DWL-300AP Wireless Access Point. The device can also be managed using a Web browser. It supports 64 and 128-bit WEP encryption, and includes a detachable omnidirectional antenna.

Prices and availability were not offered, though D-Link said it expects to ship the wireless access point before month's end.

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