D-Link goes wireless

D-Link Systems Inc. last month announced two new wireless Ethernet cards and a low-priced wireless access point for small and midsize businesses and enterprise workgroups.

The DWL series of wireless network products includes the DWL-500 PCI-based wireless LAN (WLAN) adapter for desktop PCs, the DWL-650 PCMCIA adapter for notebooks and the DWL-1000AP access point device. All three devices provide 11Mbps Ethernet transmission based on standard 802.11b wireless Ethernet technology.

The fact that the DWL wireless products adhere closely to the 802.11b standard makes them a good choice for cheaply adding wireless clients into an existing wireless Ethernet LAN, or for setting up a wireless workgroup, says D-Link president Steven Joe. The DWL-500 and DWL-650 LAN adapters cost less than similar cards from Cisco Systems Inc. and 3Com Corp., while the D-Link access point costs around half the price of WLAN access points from Cisco, Enterasys Networks, Lucent Technologies Inc. and 3Com.

The range for the wireless adapters and access point is 100 meters indoors and 300 meters outdoors. Both the adapters and the access point use 40-bit wired equivalent privacy (WEP) encryption for securing data sent through the air.

The WLAN market is expected to boom over the next several years, with total equipment revenues reaching US$785 million by 2004, according to Cahners In-Stat Group, a research firm based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The PC and laptop WLAN adapters both cost US$199, and the access point is priced at US$399. All three D-Link wireless products are available.