Carmen Nobel at eWeek has the story:
Cisco Systems Inc.’s Linksys division is offering new Wi-Fi hardware that offers throughput and data transfer rates that rival Fast Ethernet, albeit with proprietary technology.
The WRT54GX4 Wireless-G Broadband Router and WPC54GX4 Wireless-G PC Card are based on the third generation of MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) chip sets from Airgo Networks Inc. The chip sets can support data rates of up to 240M bps, with “real-world” TCP/IP throughput rates huddling around 120M bps, according to Airgo officials in Palo Alto, Calif.
“The cool thing about this generation is that it’s not just for notebooks anymore,” said Greg Raleigh, CEO of Airgo. “You can connect your desktops and do away with the Ethernet.”
You can do that with 802.11a, b, or g too, but MIMO gives you more speed (likely not noticeable in everyday use) and more range (likely very noticeable).
MIMO technology runs multiple data streams in a single channel to boost throughput to rates of up to 108M bps, which is double that of the maximum speeds of 802.11a and 802.11g. Some variant of MIMO will be at the heart of the upcoming IEEE 802.11n standard. Many enterprise-level hardware makers plan to wait for the standard before releasing a MIMO product, but ratification of that standard isn’t expected until early 2007 due to an ongoing stalemate between two competing contingents within the standard task group.
In October, a splinter group called the Enhanced Wireless Consortium announced itself and its plans to expedite the ratification of 802.11n with its own draft specification. The group includes several powerhouse players in the Wi-Fi space, including Intel Corp., Cisco, Atheros Communications Inc., Broadcom Corp. and Linksys—but not Airgo.
So Cisco/Linksys is on the opposite side of the fight from Airgo, but releases a “pre-n” product based on Airgo’s technology? Makes sense to me! See also a previous post on the 802.11n standards battle.
In any case, the Linksys press release is online with more info and prices:
The WRT54GX4 and WPC54GX4 are available now through Linksys e-commerce resellers at estimated street prices of $149.99 and $99.99 respectively. The products will soon also be available from retail, direct response, and VAR partners.