NetGear ships multi-standard WLAN card

Wireless LAN vendor NetGear this week begins shipping what it says is the first network interface card that can run on three different kinds of wireless LANs.

The WAG5111 is a PC Card adapter that has two radios: a 2.4-GHz radio for IEEE 802.11b and the not-yet-ratified 802.11g nets, and a 5-GHz radio for 802.11a. The lower frequency supports data rates of 11M bit/sec for 11b and 54M bit/sec for llg, while the higher frequency runs the 11a data rate of 54M bit/sec, and offers eight non-overlapping channels compared to three for the lower-frequency standards.

With the card, enterprise wireless users can match the frequency of whatever access points have been installed at work, at home, or in a growing number of public access wireless hot spots in airports, cafes, and so on. Most corporate wireless LANs use 11b, but 11a appears in areas with lots of users or high bandwidth demands.

It's because of the co-existence of this mix of wireless LAN standards that vendors are creating these dual-frequency, usually called dual-mode, client cards.

The IEEE has not yet formally approved the 11g proposal as a standard, but WLAN vendors have just started introducing access points and adapters based on it. NetGear's PC card, as other brands, is based on the draft 11g standard, which is expected to be finalized later in 2003.

To complicate things even more, NetGear plans to issue new firmware later this year to boost the 11g data rate to 108M bit/sec. But this proprietary "turbo mode" will only work when both the clients and access points are NetGear products with the new firmware.

The WAG 5111 uses 152-bit Wireless Equivalent Protocol (WEP) encryption - but because of the known weaknesses of WEP, most enterprises are unlikely to rely on this alone. NetGear will use the Wireless Protected Access algorithms, which are early implementations of several important WEP improvements and sponsored by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Eventually, NetGear will incorporate into its products the much more powerful Advanced Encryption System (AES).

The new card uses the Atheros AR5001X wireless LAN chipset. According to NetGear, the Dual Band PC Card automatically roams among 802.11a, 802.11g, and 802.11b networks, while providing an option to only enable roaming in either 802.11a or 802.11b/g networks. The 32-bit WAG511 CardBus adapter has a program to simplify setup and use.

A separate included application, NetGear Wireless LAN Manager, lets users set profiles for specific wireless LAN settings in different locations, such as the home, corporate headquarters or a branch office. This software also creates a listing of all available wireless access points in a given area.

The WAG511 Dual Band 802.11a/b/g PC Card has a list price of US$157, a three-year warranty, and round-the-clock technical support.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Cox

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?