Palm Embraces Wireless LANs
Palm offering discounts when purchasing a Xircom Wireless LAN module and a handheld from the Palm Store. Even if a handheld isn't purchased at the same time, the module still comes with a CD containing an email client, browser, a VPN, and other software.
The Xircom Wireless LAN module uses 802.11b to connect to a network access point at up to 11 Mbps with a range of up to 1,000 feet. It costs $290 separately or $600 with an m505, $550 with an m500, or $500 with an m125.
While priced out of the range of most consumers, this is part of Palm's drive to make its products more interesting to large corporations.
The LAN module comes with a CD containing Corsoft's Email Client, which is compatible with Microsoft Outlook 97/98/2000/XP. Users can set the system to check for new email as often as every 5 minutes. Because customers determine how frequently to check for email, they can increase modem battery life from hours to days. Also, data is protected with 192-bit AES encryption for added security.
It also has DPWeb Browser, which formats web pages for handheld computers.
In addition, there are trial versions of Certicom's movianVPN and vVault's Direct Desktop Access.
The Xircom Wireless LAN module works with all handhelds that use Palm's Univeral Connector, which currently includes the m500 series and the m125. Palm has promised that all future handhelds for at least two years will use the UC.
"Wireless is changing the way our customers use their handhelds," said Kevin Hell, senior vice president of Product Management, Solutions Group, at Palm, Inc. "Making wireless LANs more easily accessible to Palm handheld users is an important part of our ongoing strategy to make sure Palm has solutions available for our users across multiple wireless network standards."
802.11b Wireless LAN, also known as Wireless Ethernet, is a radio frequency (RF) network access technology. It allows users to access information wirelessly throughout a home, business or campus location. The technology is most often used to expand the coverage of a wired LAN, but, it can also be used to replace wired networks. The technology can require the installation of access points (radio transceivers) to provide wireless coverage across a local area. Wireless LAN can also exist in a Peer-to-Peer setting, between devices that have WLAN access modules. The 802.11b standard ensures interoperability among WLAN networks by implementing regulations for WLAN product manufacturers. Businesses, schools, and other institutions often find it beneficial to standardize equipment so that they can combine hardware from different vendors. Home users who purchase 802.11b compliant products are assured that they will work with products produced by various manufacturers.
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