RealTime IT News

802.11b Gets a Little 'WiSER'

Think you're a wireless wizard? Sure, you prance around the office with your 802.11-enabled laptop. But, wait... Why do you have to use a serial device for your projector or an interactive whiteboard?

Well, Fremont, Calif.-based OTC Wireless Friday announced it is currently beta testing hardware that will let users use an 802.11b solution to connect any two RS-232 devices together, eliminating the physical serial cable that connects them.

Formerly known by the code name "VESTA," the company says the new WiSER is a plug and play device operating in the 2.4GHz frequency range, with a data transfer rate of 11 Mbps, and is totally compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.

The company said there are no disc or software drivers to load or configure, just connect it to the serial port of the Whiteboard, desktop or laptop and power the unit from either the PS/2, USB connection or by the AC adapter provided.

OTC's first commercial application is centered on the Interactive Whiteboard. The company said there has long been a connectivity problem involving a serial cable that runs from the Interactive Whiteboard to the laptop or desktop computer. The physical cable has been the limiting factor on board placement and installation problems.

The company said its wireless alternative could free the Whiteboard from the computer, making it much more attractive in a changing environment.

"The solution allows an RS-232 signal to be transmitted wirelessly over a distance of 1,200 ft. anywhere in the room," said OTC Wireless president and CEO Dr. Alex Tsao. "Unlike low bandwidth, line-of-sight products that allow a maximum distance of 15 to 30ft. and can lose the signal if someone passes between the radios, OTC's solution will allow complete freedom of movement and placement of the Whiteboard anywhere in the room without any loss of signal."

The company said it expects to ship WiSER to OEMs in time for the holiday shopping season in the United States, Canada and the U.K. The product is expected to be available in Japan in the first Quarter of 2003.