Wireless data standard gains support

Tuesday, May 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) _ A new format for fast wireless networks gained the support Monday of four companies that will help develop and roll out the technology in an increasingly competitive environment.

Card Access Inc., Intermec Technologies Corp., Proxim Inc. and TDK Corp. each will be allowed early access to the format being developed by Atheros Communications Inc.

The technology _ based on a standard called 802.11a _ is one of many emerging formats that connect laptops, desktops, printers and other devices at tremendous speeds without wires.

``These companies are united in their belief that 802.11a is the answer to both today's market demands and tomorrow's even more challenging requirements,'' said Rich Redelfs, Atheros' chief executive.

Atheros' technology operates at a higher frequency than many of its competitors and can transmit up to 72 megabits per second, the company said.

Another format, known as Wi-Fi or 802.11b, offers speeds up to 11 megabits a second but operates at a frequency that could interfere with other data standards, telephones and microwave ovens.

But Wi-Fi has been growing in popularity. Computer makers Dell, Apple and IBM are building it into portable machines.

Bluetooth, yet another standard that runs at the same frequency as Wi-Fi, ran into trouble during a recent trade show demonstration. And Microsoft has chosen not to support it in its new version of Windows.