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Nokia starts push into wireless LAN

Products due in Q2 in US, Q3 in Europe

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Cellular phone giant Nokia is mounting a major push into the broadband wireless LAN market, with 2 megabits per second products due in Q2 in the US and Q3 in Europe. The company will be putting out IEEE 802.11 compatible PC Cards and LAN access points which use the 2.4GHz part of the radio spectrum. Nokia modestly describes the initiative as being intended to "move wireless LAN products towards [the] mass market." But don't get too excited - that's Nokia code for 'charge high prices to the early adopter market.' The PC Card is going to be an almost reasonable $295 in the US, but the access point (i.e., base station) will be $1,295. That's not going to be particularly attractive to people who want to link a couple of machines in the home or a small office. The numbers stack up better if you're thinking of a larger operation, which will allow the access point to support something in the region of its 30 maximum users. But we're getting there, and Nokia usually cuts its prices after hitting people for about 12 months. The wireless connection for the products is good for about 100 metres in-building, and three to four times that outdoors. Nokia intends to jack speeds up to 11Mbps when the standard's set, which according to our calculations means faster products next year, and those price cuts on the current ones. ®

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