Wireless technology is speeding up, getting connected

Wireless technology is speeding up, getting connected

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

MARCH 7—Wireless computers with loads of custom enterprise software will soon be able to synchronize with host networks, according to speakers at the recent Mobile Insights 2000 conference in Palm Desert, Calif.

Voice-enabled handheld computers are on the way, too, said keynote speaker Alan Kessler, chief executive officer of Palm Computing Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif. The Postal Service and the Navy have customized the Palm operating system for specialized uses, such as bar code scanning, Kessler said.

Norman Brinton of Handspring Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., displayed a tiny scanner that plugs into the Handspring Visor's springboard slot to scan bar codes. He also demonstrated plug-in Visor software modules in several foreign languages.

Palm OS licensee TRG Products of Des Moines, Iowa, demonstrated its flash ROM for loading a Palm organizer with up to 32 software images at a time via a PC serial port extension device.

Mobility Electronics Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., showed the EasiDock 3000, a PCI-bus docking station with two full-size drive bays, two small PCI slots and a cable/PC Card combination for portable devices with CardBus slots. The cable connections are "100 times faster than Universal Serial Bus," said Jeffrey Doss, Mobility's executive vice president.

Wayport Inc. of Austin, Texas, loaned PC Card wireless antennas to handheld-carrying members of the audience, who set up LAN access points around the conference site via the IEEE 802.11 standard.

Wayport CEO Brett Stewart said 802.11 wireless throughput approaches 11 Gbps. Travelers soon will find their wireless connections are as fast as or faster than their office connections, he predicted.

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