Proxim Hopes 802.11a Hot Spots Take Off

Proxim Inc., plans to use its 802.11a-based Harmony line to establish a
free public “hot spot” network at a cable trade show in Colorado.

The public
wireless network is believed to be the first hot spot based on the 802.11a
technology, which uses a different part of the spectrum to transmit data at
speeds faster than Wi-Fi products currently on the market.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company said attendees of the CableLabs
Winter Conference, running Feb. 11-13 at the Westin Hotel in Westminster,
Colo., will be able to connect a wireless network capable of true Ethernet
speeds (up to 100 Mbps). Proxim will loan Harmony 802.11a CardBus cards.

Though temporary, the wireless network will still serve as a testbed for
802.11a products, which are finally coming to market. Wi-Fi products based
on 802.11b are already widely in use for public hot spots around the country
and in other parts of the world. Because of the widespread acceptance of
Wi-Fi, Proxim will make its network backwards compatible supporting 802.11b
PC cards.

What makes it all possible is the design of the Harmony family, which
relies on a separate access-point (AP) controller at the server level that
manages the operations of the network, said Amy Martin, Proxim spokeswoman.
Rather than rely on the AP’s firmware to manage the function, Proxim’s
Harmony line centralizes on a controller in the server closet that can be
re-configured to the 802.11a specifications.

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