Ok, ok, we know that you've read probably all you want to
read about Comdex, but don't you want to hear about the stuff
that most other Comdex reports don't talk about? We
promise to not bore you with yet another story about web tablets,
but instead you'll get the straight poop on the new router
and wireless products that will be hitting the shelves shortly.
We also did some digging on powerline networking and Voice-over-IP
(VoIP) products and will fill you in on those, too.
words for the Wise:
All pricing and availability info that follows is the
best info that we are able to get, and is subject
The trend that started with the AsanteFriendlyNET
and SMC Barricade
combination router / print servers continues, with
802.11b wireless now thrown into the mix.
SMC showed the
7004WBR Wireless Barricade, which marries
their popular 4 port Barricade with an 802.11b Access
point. The result is a unit that can simultaneously
route to both Ethernet and wireless parts of your
LAN, as well as host a printer. Availability
is late November and estimated "street"
(which includes on-line) pricing (ESP) looks to be
is back in the ring with two new products. The UGate
3200P is their popular 7 port UGate 3200, joined
with a single port print server. ESP will be about $270
and the product will be available early December (download
the PDF datasheet from here).
Take a UG3200P and add 802.11b wireless and you have the UGate
3300. Due out in Jan '01 at a $330
street price, the 3300 will give you more ports than
most of the competition and a print server, too!
As mentioned in last
week's news item, Linksys
is launching a barrage of purple and gray boxes, almost too
many to keep track of! We even found a couple more of
them while poking around their booth. One was
the BEFN2PS4 4 port router with Net2Phone. This little
number, produced in partnership with Net2Phone
(more on them later in the VoIP section), is a 4 port Linky
with Net2Phone VoIP circuitry built-in. You plug a regular
phone in and can make Internet based phone calls via the Net2Phone
PC to Phone service. The product will come bundled with
a starter pack of Net2Phone minutes. ESP is about $200,
with a Q12001 release.
Saw the new BEFVF11 EtherFast VPN Firewall. The VF11
is a high-end firewall that is clearly not aimed at the consumer
market at an ESP of $1000. It's designed to be
used with another VF11 to establish one IPsec or PPTP tunnel
and can conduct up to 200 simultaneous VPN sessions.
Safe to say, you probably won't be seeing a review of this
one on PracticallyNetworked!
In the lower-end of VPN routers we found the BEFVP41 VPN
router. This one appears to be a 4 port Linky, but
with a built-in IPsec endpoint. No pricing info, but
it's scheduled for Q12001 release.
No sign of any new NETGEAR routers at the show either
with or without Sonicwall
technology. Maybe something will show up in
Not all the wireless news had the word "router"
in it, though. Buffalo
Tech had a good sized booth, showing off their affordable
line, including their new LPV-WL11 Wireless Print Server.
Expected out in December at a street price of about $230,
it'll let you put your printer where you want it, which might
not be next to your AirStation or other WiFi access point.
The LPV-WL11 supports NetBEUI, TCP/IP, IPX/SPX and Appletalk-Ethertalk
protocols (you'll need a PostScript printer for Appletalk-Ethertalk),
and can be connected to an external antenna to increase range.
was showing their full line of RangeLAN and Symphony
products. Symphony is now in the HomeRF (1.6Mbps) standards
camp and have new HomeRF certified USB
card adapters, as well as their HomeRF
Cordless Gateway. Pricing is about $85 for the USB,
$115 for the PC card, and $175 for the Gateway.
The news at the NETGEAR
booth was pretty interesting. First the good news: the
new Wireless11X product line looks like it will blow
the bandwidth socks off existing 802.11b wireless solutions.
NETGEAR's Comdex demo had three multimedia streams (one full-screen
video, one quarter-screen video, and one audio) going simultaneously,
with no visible glitches or hiccups, all sharing the same
LAN bandwidth. How is this possible, you say?
Start with a more powerful radio, add TDMA for bandwidth sharing,
mix in continuous Bit Error Rate monitoring, and finish off
with microwave oven interference hardening and the ability
to automatically switch to quieter channels if things get
Now the bad news: this performance depends on some pretty
heavy duty signal processing magic that takes place in the
devices on the network boards, and that magic makes NETGEAR's
solution incompatible with both the HomeRF and WiFi standards.
Don't plan on using this product to surf the web from your
wireless laptop either, at least not right away. The
WA301 client card due out in January '01 is
intended for desktops, plugging into PCI card slots.
A PC card adapter will eventually be available, but no estimate
on when that might be. Save your pennies, too, because
the WA301's estimated Retail price will be $240.
You can trim that to $180 each by buying the WB301
starter kit, which has two cards for $360, however.
Data sheets were also available for the WA101 USB adapter
and WE102 Ethernet to Wireless11X bridge. Note that
we said bridge, not router. You'll have to take care
of that in another box.
So... expensive, incompatible, but with performance that
could set the bar pretty high for the other guys to jump over.
Sounds like an uphill battle to us, but those multimedia streams
looked pretty nice!
More wireless, pluggin'
away, and more...