Today, Linksys — which, as of the first quarter of 2003 was the leader in supplying wireless LAN products according to Synergy Research Group — announced the Wireless-G Ethernet Bridge (model WET54G), a WLAN adapter that will plug into the existing RJ-45 Ethernet jack on any computer, printer, game console, etc. to let it access your network, sans wires. It’s the first wireless-to-Ethernet adapter that gets speeds up to 54 Megabits per second because it uses the 2.4GHz 802.11g specification, which is backwards compatible with 802.11b.
The WET54G comes with one 10/100Mbps Ethernet interface. It works without drivers so it can connect to products with or without an operating system, though it may have to be configured first using a PC, depending upon your network setup. Configuration can be done through the Web browser. It can take advantage of an optional Power over Ethernet (PoE)
The WET54G supports up to 128-bit WEP keys for encryption of data, and uses the Ubicom IP2022 wireless network processor and software platform. Among the products Linksys says the WET54G is compatible with are the Turtle Beach AudioTron music player and the Microsoft Xbox game console. It will cost $199 (estimated street price).
Linksys also says the WET54G directly connect two separate networks as a true wireless bridge (it’s not just a ‘bridge’ from Ethernet to wireless). Other such bridges using 802.11g are available as part of Buffalo Technology’s 802.11g SOHO router. D-Link recently announced a new outdoor bridge product with extended range using special antennas, but it uses 802.11b so speeds are limited to under 11Mbps.
Linksys also sells an 802.11b-only Wireless Ethernet Bridge adapter, model WET11.
In March, Cisco Systems
made a deal to acquire Linksys. The transaction should be finalized before the end of the year.