Mac upgrade maker
Sonnet Technologies Inc.
on Monday announced that it’s shipping its
Aria Extreme, a CardBus-based card that offers PowerBooks 802.11g networking capability.
IEEE 802.11g is a fast wireless networking specification that enables computers to communicate at up to 54Mbps. Also known to Mac users as AirPort Extreme, the technology made its debut on the Mac early this year with the introduction of the 12- and 17-inch PowerBook G4 models, and has been proliferating out through the rest of the Mac product line since then.
It wasn’t until this month’s release of the new
15-inch aluminum-clad PowerBook G4
that users of that laptop had an AirPort Extreme-based offering however — all PowerBooks since the FireWire-equipped PowerBook G3 have sported internal support for AirPort, which uses the slower IEEE 802.11b wireless networking protocol. AirPort Extreme uses a different expansion card interface than AirPort.
Regardless, that doesn’t leave users of older PowerBooks out of the loop when it comes to faster wireless networking. Many PowerBook G3s and all 15-inch PowerBook G4s have a CardBus-compatible expansion slot on their side, and with Apple’s release of the
AirPort v3.1 drivers, they’ve been able to use some third-party expansion cards that support the 802.11g spec. Sonnet’s new Aria Extreme is just such a card.
Sonnet notes that the Aria Extreme supports AirPort Extreme Base Stations and other 802.11g bases stations, and is backwards-compatible with 802.11b hardware as well. It supports 64-bit and 128-bit Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption, and requires Mac OS X v10.2.6 or later and AirPort v3.1 drivers or later. (The Aria Extreme also supports various flavors of Windows.)
The Aria Extreme has a suggested retail price of US$79.95. See the Web site for compatibility details and further information.