NetWorld+Interop tries wireless Net

Symbol Technologies Inc. passed out 11M bit/sec. wireless LAN cards like popcorn at Networld+Interop and set up wireless access points throughout the Georgia World Congress Center to give attendees with laptops untethered access to the Internet and the network supporting the show.

The wireless technology, based on the 802.11b standard, was set up by Holtsville, N.Y.-based Symbol Technologies in conjunction with the show's organizers. A company spokesman said the wireless products vendor wanted to give attendees the experience of using wireless systems inside a large facility.

Tests conducted by Computerworld showed that the wireless connections were easy to set up and performed well. But many attendees said they couldn't be bothered with installing the drivers for the wireless cards and relied instead on dial-up analog connections via phone lines.

The Networld+Interop network went down briefly last Wednesday, temporarily disrupting the wireless connectivity. But technicians said the outage had nothing to do with the wireless infrastructure. It was caused by someone at the show tripping on an optical cable, they said.

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