RealTime IT News

4.9 and Wi-Fi in One Card

Motorola hasn't announced pricing yet, but all the other details are in place for the launch of the WDE1000. This laptop PC Card will be out in Canada and the U.S. this week, and is one of the first, if not the first, to support 2.4GHz 802.11b/g and 4.9GHz frequencies in the same card. 4.9GHz is reserved by the Federal Communications Commission for use by public safety and first responders.

What's more, the card has extra features such as operating channels with 5, 10 or 20 Megahertz (MHz) — 20 is the standard.

"With smaller channels, there's a bunch of benefits," says Rick Rotondo, Director of Marketing at Motorola. "Agencies may only have a limited amount of spectrum they can use on the band."

Rotondo says it's great for being able to set up multiple networks in a single area as well. "If you have 20 MHz, you can only have two channels," he says. "[4.9 maxes out at 50MHz], but at 10MHz sized channels, you can have five networks. There's a potential loss of throughput. But you shrink the channel width and still get 3dB extra of gain for more range."

The WDE1000 will also fully support peer-to-peer ad hoc networks. Rotondo says future upgrades will make the card capable of being a node on a mesh network under either 2.4 or 4.9GHz (the card is part of the company's MOTOMESH portfolio of products). The card packs extra output power to extend standard Wi-Fi range as well. A latch on the card can be lifted to expose a plug for an external antenna.

Rotondo says this card is "tough," as in beyond consumer grade. He says it's even tougher than most enterprise products, as it's likely to be used in tough conditions by police or rescue workers. "This is a tough card; you can feel it," he says. "It's more solid than anything at Best Buy." At least one police department, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, already has them in use — the city is using MOTOMESH equipment to provide 4.9GHz service to the cops.