3Com’s AirConnect Wireless LAN Achieves Wi-Fi Certification

  • Written By: P. Hayes
  • Published: May 5 2000

3Com’s AirConnect Wireless LAN Achieves Wi-Fi Certification
P. Hayes - May 5, 2000

Event Summary

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - On April 18, 2000, 3Com Corporation (Nasdaq:COMS - news) announced that its 3Com AirConnect 11Mbps Wireless LAN is among the first products awarded the Wi-Fi™ certification for interoperability. Granted by the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA), the Wi-Fi compatibility logo serves as the "seal of interoperability" for products based on the IEEE 802.11b standard.

Market Impact

The WECA was formed in 1999 in order to certify IEEE 802.11b, or Wi-Fi as the international standard. 3Com's AirConnect is built on the IEEE 802.11b standard, the only standard available to provide wireless access at Ethernet speeds up to 11Mbps; making a wireless LAN a viable option for any sized corporation.

The 3Com AirConnect system requires an access point, priced at $1195 (MSRP-USD) with each wireless AirConnect pc-card costing an additional $219 (MSRP-USD). 3Com will be releasing a PCI AirConnect card within the next quarter (probability 90%). 3Com has taken the concept of a high speed wireless LAN from fiction to reality and is set to take the wireless LAN market by storm.

The costs associated with implementing a standard switched 10/100 MB LAN with Category 5 cabling are prohibitive. They are expensive to install, difficult to modify once in place, and worst of all, if you move office locations you lose your investment in your network backbone. Not so with AirConnect.

While the cards may be relatively expensive compared to the cost of a standard NIC (Network Interface Card), the cost of an access point is roughly the same cost as a 16-Port 10/100 switch. This makes the system more cost effective than implementing a physically wired network, and the wireless network can be taken with you for office moves or office-redesign.

User Recommendations

The 3Com AirConnect Wireless LAN simplifies the whole concept of networking. By mounting AirConnect Access Points throughout an office, users will have high-speed access to all available network resources, whether the user is in a conference room, at their desk or in the cafeteria. While we believe that 3Com's AirConnect Wireless LAN is a great step forward in wireless networking, we also believe users should hold out for more economical pricing.

In some cases users cannot wait and their wireless needs must be met today; for these cases we recommend smaller rollouts to groups of users who require wireless access as opposed to the users who simply want wireless access. In either case, make sure you have fully production tested the product within your environment prior to making any final purchase decision.

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