Proxim’s consumer business unit–better known to Mac users as Farallon –will use this week’s Macworld Expo to debut a $399 network gateway that combines a traditional wired Ethernet-based Internet router and an AirPort-compatible, 802.11b wireless networking base station. Proxim also announced that it is shipping the Farallon SkyLINE PCI Card, which allows older desktop Macs to connect wirelessly to AirPort Base Stations and other 802.11b wireless networking products
The NetLINE Wireless Broadband Gateway, scheduled to ship at the end of January, is targeted at schools and small businesses where multiple users need to share a single DSL or cable Internet connection–and don’t have the services of a network administrator. In most situations, one gateway can easily handle 15 to 20 wireless nodes, although this can vary based on each Mac’s bandwidth demands, said Proxim marketing director Ken Hasse.
The gateway, he said, functions a natural firewall, as the WAN and LAN portion of the router are separated–both the wireless and wired networks are behind the uplink. However, individual computers can be fully exposed to the Internet if the user wants. You can configure the gateway using a Web browser on a Mac or PC. By default, the gateway connects to other computers through the DHCP protocol, but other protocols are supported.
Older Macs at the AirPort
The SkyLINE PCI Card works with most PCI Power Macs that are not already AirPort capable. It sells with a SkyLINE PC Card for $239, or without one for $69; the latter option is for users who already have 802.11 PC Cards, or for international distributors who offer bundles with country-specific PC Cards. The PCI card will not function as a general-purpose PC card reader, Hasse said.
Proxim also announced that Symphony-HRF, its suite of HomeRF-based wireless networking products, now supports the Mac through a Mac-compatible Symphony PC Card. HomeRF is a wireless home-networking standard with enhanced support for voice transmission and multimedia streaming. The card is available now for $129. Proxim said it will offer Mac drivers on its Web site this month and plans to offer Mac support in other HomeRF products as well.
Proxim acquired Farallon in June 2000, transforming the company into its consumer business unit. Hasse said that Proxim intends to retain the Farallon brand name, long familiar to many Mac users. At Macworld Expo this week, the company will demonstrate products under a Proxim/Farallon logo–in a booth designed to replicate a home.