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Proxim favours Mac OS X over 9

802.11a drivers hit next-gen operating system first

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Wireless networking specialist Proxim has favoured Mac OS X over Classic for its upcoming IEEE 802.11a 108Mbps LAN system.

Yes, we were surprised too. Most vendors' software roll-out plans centre on targeting Mac OS 9 first and Apple's next-generation operating system second - sometimes a distant second.

Not so Proxim. Drivers to support its Harmony Fast Wireless network adaptor PC Card will ship for OS X by the end of the year, with OS 9 drivers following "some months" after that in the first quarter of 2002, the director of Proxim's commercial networks division, Lynn Chroust, said.

The Harmony Fast Wireless system comprises the $249 PC card adaptor for laptops and a $695 base-station, and both are available in the US now.

An as-yet-unpriced PCI card for desktop systems is expected to ship (no release date yet) Stateside. It too will be supported with Mac OS X drivers.

European availability remains an open question. The Fast Wireless system is based on the 802.11a wireless LAN standard. IEEE 802.11a operates between 5.15GHz and 5.35GHz - collectively known as the '5GHz band'.

The European Union has yet to ratify the use of 802.11a in the 5GHz band, having previously decided to support a rival standard, HyperLAN. With almost no HyperLAN kit out there, the EU has reconsidered its decision, the upshot being that Europe is lagging up to six months behind the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and other nations which have authorised 802.11a.

Proxim hopes to jump the queue, as it were, by seeking certification for its kit in individual European member states, with UK availability expected early 2002, according to Chroust.

In addition to the corporate-oriented Harmony line, Proxim is planning to offer 802.11a versions of its Skyline home and small business wireless LAN family. ®

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Proxim doubles 802.11a wirefree bandwidth to 108Mbps

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