Belkin intros new 802.11g, USB, FireWire 800 devices

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Peripheral maker Belkin Corp. is throwing its support behind technologies Apple integrated into its new PowerBook G4 systems, introduced last week during Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco.

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Belkin has introduced a line of "Connect 2" data cables designed to support the IEEE 1394b standard, or FireWire 800. A new feature on Apple's 17-inch PowerBook G4, FireWire 800 is a high-speed 800Mbps data interface used for transfer from hard drives, digital video hardware, and other equipment. It's downwardly compatible with the original FireWire interface found on almost all equipment available today, as well.

The new Connect 2 cables are being offered in 9 to 9 pin configurations, suitable for attaching your new PowerBook to a FireWire 800-equipped peripheral, or two FireWire 800-equipped devices to each other. Belkin is also producing a 9 to 4 pin cable for connecting FireWire 800 devices to older FireWire gear.

Belkin has also introduced a new line of wireless networking products that support IEEE 802.11g, the industry standard that operates at 54Mbps. Sold by Apple as "AirPort Extreme," 802.11g is downwardly compatible with 802.11b products, like Apple's original AirPort hardware, while providing higher transfer rates between so-equipped machines.

Belkin's 54g line consists of a wireless cable/DSL router retailing for $149.99, a wireless access point that costs $139.99, a notebook network card for $79.99, and a wireless desktop network card for $79.99. Belkin said the devices are set to ship this week, but an installer for Mac OS 8.6 and higher is not anticipated to be available until February.

Also coming in February is Belkin's Bluetooth Access Point with USB Print Server, a device that enables Bluetooth-equipped computers, PDAs and other hardware to communicate with the Local Area Network (LAN) or the Internet. What's more, the $149.99 peripheral also handles a USB-based printer, so you can print straight from the device as well. Up to even users can simultaneously access the network or printer from Belkin's Bluetooth Access Point.

First offered by Apple as a standalone USB peripheral and now incorporated internally into the new PowerBook G4, Bluetooth is a Personal Area Networking (PAN) technology that provides instant, wireless access to so-equipped peripherals. Apple is leveraging the new technology in its iSync synchronization software, enabling Jaguar users to exchange contact info, appointment schedules and other data with devices like PDAs and cell phones.

Last but not least, Belkin has unveiled the 2x1 USB Peripheral Switch. The device gives two computers access to a single USB peripheral, like a printer, camera, scanner or external storage device. It operates at the USB 1.1 standard speed of up to 12Mbps. It supports hot key switching and features active-port LED indicators to show you which switch is in use. The 2x1 USB Peripheral Switch carries an estimated street price of $59.99 and supports Mac OS 9.2.2 or higher, including Mac OS X. It'll ship this week.

This story, "Belkin intros new 802.11g, USB, FireWire 800 devices" was originally published by PCWorld.

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