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A bunfight over wireless LAN standards, is stopping the technology from gaining mainstream acceptance, according to Proxim, the California-based wireless LAN card vendor. Seven major proposed standards are competing for mindspace in the wireless LAN market, and divisions between rival contenders are holding back the market, the company claims. Brian Button, VP for sales and marketing at Proxim , a proponent of Open Air from the Wireless LAN Industry Federation (WLIF), attacked 802.11 and Bluetooth on cost and technology grounds. Speaking at Comdex, Button claimed that 802.11 is an unworkable solution as it requires too much power from the devices for which it is intended -- namely portable computers; PDAs and handheld terminals. And he reckons that Bluetooth will fail -- as it won’t reach its projected price point of $5-$6 per computer. He estimates the technology will come in at best around the $35 per unit mark. Open Air -- the specification to which Proxim's product range are built -- has been included in the Windows CE Professional Edition. Other standards include: two separate version of the IEEE's 802.11 (wireless Ethernet) standard plus SWAP (a home RF networking standard); Bluetooth (a wireless standard promoted by the major mobile phone handset manufacturers); plus DECT and HyperLAN (European standards for wireless telephony and wireless networking respectively). While wireless computing standards share the same available spectrum -- 2.4GHz -- there is little compatibility even among product purportedly built to the same spec -- such as 802.11. There is also an Atlantic divide -- while Open Air may be triumphant in North America, DECT and Bluetooth enjoy considerable backing in Europe. Register bizarre factoid -- simultaneous with slagging-off 802.11, young Button is no doubt also promoting Proxim's complete range of product, including the Proxim RangeLAN802 IEEE... er... 802.11 compatible range... ® See also
Proxim banks on CE for expansion

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