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PC Card maker touts 'seamless' Wi-Fi, 3G access

Option card to ship through Swisscom

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Option, the developer of Vodafone's 3G add-in card for notebook PCs, has launched a version of the product that also support Wi-Fi and GPRS network technologies.

Crucially, its driver software allows the host notebook to flip transparently between each technology on the basis of whichever one is offering the highest bandwidth at any given time.

Option claims the switch between, say, a Wi-Fi hotspot and a UMTS link is "seamless", requiring no action on the part of the user. Essentially, the system relies on maintaining all three connections whenever possible and simply routing data packets onto whichever offers the fastest throughput.

The new card will initially be offered by Swisscom's mobile network subsidiary, Swisscom Mobile, with shipments commencing in August. It will brand the card Mobile Unlimited.

The availability of the card ties in with Swisscom's Wi-Fi hotspot roll-out and its implementation of 3G. The company said it hopes to have 83 per cent of the Swiss population within range of a 3G base-station by the end of the year.

Whatever connection technology the card adopts in a given circumstance, the user will pay the same per-byte pricing, Swisscom said. Prices range from CHF80-100 ($65-81/£35-44) per month, depending on the number of bundles bytes included in the package. ®

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