SMC Networks is the latest SMB networking vendor to embrace technology that speeds Wi-Fi data transfers.
The company last week unveiled its Easy Connect Turbo line, which promises to deliver wireless data rates of up to 22 Mbps and boasts a 30 percent increase in coverage area using 802.11b (Wi-Fi)-compatible equipment, according to SMC.
Like a similar line from D-Link unveiled in June, SMC's new products use spread-spectrum technology called packet binary convolutional coding (PBCC), which was developed by Texas Instruments (TI) and approved by the Federal Communications Commission for use in the 2.4GHz band. Because the technology works in the same spectrum as traditional 11-Mbps Wi-Fi, TI said it is backward-compatible with existing Wi-Fi products.
The new products offer SMB customers the chance to achieve faster wireless speeds without moving to 802.11a, a technology that offers up to 54-Mbps transmission rates but at a higher cost, solution providers said. An SMC 802.11a broadband router, for example, has a street price of about $285,$100 more than the 22-Mbps 802.11b Barricade Turbo router, which is part of the SMC line introduced last week.
But the PBCC feature used in the new product line has not been accepted as part of the official 802.11b standard, and some solution providers are advising customers to use the Easy Connect Turbo technology in a controlled setting,or not at all.
"The main thing we tell customers is to use the products in an environment where they know they can make sure everything is compatible," said Jeff Loomer, a supervisor at Level Computers, Fullerton, Calif.
SMC's new product lineup includes Barricade Turbo, a broadband router with a three-port switch and an 11- or 22-Mbps auto-sensing access point. The router, priced at $185, provides stateful packet inspection firewall security and VPN support. A PCI card and PC Card with up to 256-bit WEP encryption are also available. List prices are $185 for the PCI card and $110 for the PC Card.