Asante Technologies Inc. has released the AeroLAN AL5402-XG. It’s an IEEE 802.11g-compatible wireless networking card that utilizes the CardBus interface found on latter-day PowerBooks and PC laptops. And the card works on the PowerBook.
Asante has confirmed that the card works with the latest version of Apple’s AirPort drivers, making it possible for users of non-AirPort Extreme-equipped PowerBooks to upgrade to faster wireless networking.
Apple began offering AirPort Extreme on the new PowerBook G4 models introduced this past January at Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Calif. AirPort Extreme utilizes the IEEE 802.11g standard, a higher-speed wireless networking protocol that maxes out at 54Mbps, compared to the 11Mbps of the original AirPort.
Apple’s initial AirPort Extreme products utilized a draft version of the 802.11g specification. The IEEE spec was finalized earlier this June, and last week Apple upgraded its AirPort drivers to v3.1 to adopt the changes in the final specification.
Alas, AirPort Extreme is only available on PowerBooks and other recently updated Mac models that support the AirPort Extreme card, which uses a mini-PCI interface different from the “regular” AirPort card slot found in other Macs. So to date, only AirPort Extreme-compatible Macs have been able to take advantage of the faster speeds 802.11g has to offer.
According to Asante, those same AirPort 3.1 drivers also enable Macs to support Asante’s own card, which features a high-gain 15.5dBm design and support for 64-bit and 128-bit WEP encryption.
The AL5402-XG carries a suggested retail price of US$99. System requirements call for a CardBus-equipped PowerBook, Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later, and AirPort 3.1 drivers or later.