Intel’s recent migration towards 802.11b has left some industry experts wondering about the future of HomeRF, the slower wireless networking standard heavily leveraged by Farallon’s parent company
Proxim and others. Proxim says that its efforts haven’t changed, despite the setback.
Intel is heading towards a more widespread adoption of 802.11b (or Wi-Fi), the same wireless networking standard used by Apple’s AirPort hardware — the company announced earlier this week that its next generation of consumer devices would use the standard. Until now, Intel has supported 802.11b for corporate networks, while it has embraced HomeRF for home use.
Although Proxim’s stock dropped sharply following Intel’s revelation, the company says it’s still planning to deliver a new generation of products that will make HomeRF’s performance more competitive with Wi-Fi. Proxim says that HomeRF 2.0 will sport 10 megabit per second transfer speeds, compared with 1.0’s current 1.6 megabit per second limit. Wi-Fi systems like Apple’s AirPort operate at 11 megabits per second.
Proxim CEO David King says that his company plans to announce new OEM and service provider partnerships in the coming months that will expand the market for HomeRF dramatically.
“We believe HomeRF wireless networking products are the right choice for residential customers because they provide superior interference immunity and security while enabling toll-quality voice and streaming media services at an affordable price,” said King.
And while Intel’s new consumer products may sport Wi-Fi support instead, Proxim says that Intel will still support HomeRF 1.0 products and will remain part of the
HomeRF Working Group — an industry consortium.
So far, the HomeRF standard has seen very limited support on the Mac platform. Farallon has introduced a HomeRF-based PC card that works in PowerBooks, but has yet to release other HomeRF-compatible devices for Power Macs or iMacs.
Farallon has promised more HomeRF-compatible products for the Mac in the future, however.