January Newsbits

January Newsbits

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Written By Eric Sandler

By Naomi Graychase

January 31, 2008

ASUS releases new energy-efficient chipset; FreeFi partners with Disney-ABC to provide video-on-demand at DIA; Boingo will serve up JiWire ads at 28 airport locations; iBox2Go releases its new “hotspot in a box”; and more.

Today, ASUS Computer International (ACI) announced a new chipset designed to aid in the “quest against global warming” by reducing power consumption by 80%. The P5E3 Premium WiFi-AP @n green motherboard, an Intel X48 chipset-based solution, is the latest in the ASUS EPU (Energy Processing Unit) family of motherboards, which, the company says, “combine top-of-the-line performance with excellent energy efficiency.”The ASUS P5E3 Premium WiFi-AP @n ships with onboard IEEE 802.11n draft technology. And, with a reported five seconds of boot-up time, the ASUS Express Gate offers an optional boot-up selection screen that allows users to instantly get online without entering the Windows OS—a great feature for users who enjoy Skype, IM, etc.

January 29, 2008

FreeFi Networks announced yesterday that it has partnered with Disney-ABC Domestic Television to provide video-on-demand rentals over Wi-Fi at Denver International Airport. The downloadable movie rentals will include films from The Walt Disney Studios, including new and older releases from Walt Disney Pictures, Disney-Pixar, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, and Miramax Films. “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” “Ratatouille,” and “The Invisibles” are now among those available for download at DIA. FreeFi funds WLANs through advertising-generated revenues. For more on the DIA free Wi-Fi deployment, read DIA Deploys Free Wi-Fi.

January 25, 2008

Earlier this week, Boingo Wireless and JiWire announced that JiWire’s targeted advertising will soon be appearing on some of Boingo’s most popular airport-based networks. Boingo users will see JiWire-supplied advertising throughout the Boingo Wi-Fi login process at 28 major U.S. and U.K. airports, including Atlanta-Hartsfield, JFK and LaGuardia in New York, Chicago’s O’Hare, and Heathrow in London. JiWire customizes its advertising based on a consumer’s location and device. Among the companies Boingo’s users can expect to see advertising are Charles Schwab, Dell, HBO, Land Rover, Microsoft, Nokia, Sony, and Toshiba. Stay tuned next month for our feature on ad-models as a means of monetizing WLANs.

January 23, 2008

iBox2Go has released an interesting new product. Its eponymous debut device is a mobile hotspot in a box–or, more accurately–in a suitcase. Touting itself as the perfect solution for nomadic peoples–including RV-dwellers and “bedouins” (a new breed of modern office workers without offices)–as well as business travelers and small businesses, iBox2Go gives users mobile broadband connectivity to the Internet (via Sprint Mobile Broadband cards) and a Wi-Fi router. The insta-hotspot can be set up in seconds, so long as you have a power source and are within the Sprint coverage area. The company says up to ten users can share the connection.


Three pricing options are available: iB100 ($249.99 plus $59.99 per month for unlimited access); iB300 ($199.99 plus $59.99 for unlimited access); iB500 ($349.99 plus $59.99). The 12-volt power inverter ($29.99) means you can run your hotspot from your vehicle. For those looking for temporary access–say, at a trade show or outdoor event–rental pricing is also available.

January 17, 2008

Earlier this week, NewSoft America released a new USB flash drive that allows users to wirelessly broadcast presentations directly to Wi-Fi-enabled projectors and displays. With the Presto! WMS 200 ($44.95; 512MB) flash drive, which includes the Presto! WMS 200 software on-board, users simply connect the drive to a USB port on their laptop, select the appropriate application, and run it. Presentations, video, audio, and pictures can then be broadcast via Wi-Fi from a laptop to a Wi-Fi-enabled projector or display. NewSoft says it’s the first drive of its kind to reach market. 

January 16th, 2008

SmartPhoneToday has reported that one of Palm’s new Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones made a surprise appearance at CES during Bill Gates’s keynote address.

The mobile device, code-named “Drucker,” reportedly showed up in one of the Microsoft CEO’s presentation slides, as he talked about his company’s partnership with Palm and its Windows Mobile Treos.

January 14, 2008

Aruba Networks announced today that the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) has begun deploying its adaptive WLAN and identity-based security solution at its 344 retail stores (located at 107 U.S. Navy installations worldwide).

NEXCOM is required to meet stringent payment card industry (PCI) data security standards designed to prevent the theft of consumers’ personal and financial data. The solution it chose–Aruba’s FIPS 104-2 certified platform–provides a secure firewall, wireless intrusion detection, and is compliant with PCI standards.

Aruba’s solution will be overlaid on NEXCOM’s legacy wired network to defend it against network breaches.

NEXCOM’s stores and regional headquarters will also be equipped with Aruba Air Monitors that scan both the wired and wireless networks to provide secure access and wireless intrusion detection.

January 10, 2008

Wayport announced this week that it has partnered with Sony to offer free Wi-Fi access at its hotspots to users of Sony’s new Wi-Fi mylo COM-2 Personal Communicator devices. (Stay tuned for a Wi-Fi Planet review of the mylo.) 

mylo COM-2 users will receive free access at the more than 9,000 McDonald’s restaurants, hotels, and other retail venues that belong to Wayport’s network without having to enter a username or password. The free access will be in effect until Dec. 31, 2010.

January 8, 2008

Wayport announced today that it will provide Berkshire Health Systems of Pittsfield, MA, with wireless Internet service in its two hospitals, Berkshire Medical Center and Fairview Hospital. The hospitals will absorb the cost of the deployment and, according to Joe Diver, Chief Information Officer for Berkshire Health Systems, the Wi-Fi access will be offered at the hospitals to patients and visitors at no extra charge. (For more on Wi-Fi in the health care industry, read The Doctor is In: Wi-Fi’s Increasingly Valuable Role in the Business of Healthcare.)


Tropos announced today that Tom Ayers would replace Ron Sege as President and CEO of the company. Sege, who saw tremendous growth during his tenure (40% in the last six months alone), played a key role in developing not just his company’s place in the market, but in expanding the entire metro Wi-Fi market in this country and abroad. Ayers is a 30-year industry veteran who was most recently the Senior Vice President of Field Operations at Blue Coat Systems. Sege will stay on as an advisor. (Read our recent interview with Sege.)


Canary Wireless today introduced the next generation of its Digital Hotspotter, a Wi-Fi detection device with a handy LCD, which displays not just whether a network is available, but a plethora of other helpful information, such as the broadcasting SSID (when there is one) and whether the encryption in use is WEP or WPA. (Read our review of the first generation, the HS10.)

The 2nd gen Digital Hotspotter (HS20) is slimmer and includes an improved user interface and other upgrades. It will be available direct from Canary Wireless later this quarter ($59.95). (Check back for a Wi-Fi Planet review.)

January 7, 2008

Today, Broadcom announced it has added a new solution to its line of dual-band Intensi-fi solutions. The new release combines 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz to enable a true Wi-Fi multimedia experience with simultaneous support for voice, video, and data applications. Both NETGEAR and Linksys have selected Broadcom Intensi-fi solutions for their latest dual-band 802.11n draft routers. (Stay tuned for reviews next month.)


WiMAX chipset manufacturer, Wavesat, announced today that it has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer, Raj Singh. Sing comes to Montreal, Canada-based Wavesat from MoSys, a provider of high-density system-on-chip (SoC) embedded memory solutions, where he was VP of Marketing and Business Development.

January 3, 2008

Motorola announced today a new WiMAX plug-and-play desktop device. The CPEi 100 is a single data port, 2.5 GHz plug-and-play WiMAX solution designed to sit on a desktop and serve as the interface between a computer and the WiMAX network. The CPEi 100 is part of the Motorola’s MOTOwi4 family of broadband wireless access products and is expected to be available later this year.

Motorola currently is among the vendors investing in WiMAX. The company currently has 15 WiMAX contracts and more than 57 WiMAX engagements in 38 countries worldwide, including 44 active trials in countries such as Chile, South Africa, Malaysia, and the U.S.


Marvell announced yesterday the release of its Marvell TopDog 11n-450, an 802.11n 3×3 WLAN solution with three spatial streams. The 802.11n chip raises the bar for competitors by operating at speeds up to 450 Mbps.

The maximum bandwidth blows the doors in on 802.11g 54 Mbps versions, and performs at speeds up to 1.5 times faster than current 802.11n draft solutions, which typically top out at 300 Mbps.

Marvell says the chip enables significant performance enhancements for notebooks and desktop PCs, printers, routers, set top boxes, digital TVs, gaming devices, and DVD players and recorders.

In addition to throughput, Marvell says the TopDog 11n-450 provides up to a 500 percent increased range over 802.11g and a 160 percent increased range over other 802.11n draft solutions, when performing at its full potential.

“Marvell is first-to-market with an 802.11n 450 Mbps solution,” said Sameer Bidichandani, senior director of technology strategy at Marvell Semiconductor in a press release. 

The TopDog 11n-450 delivers 3×3 capabilities with three transmitters and three receivers, and is built on 90-nanometer (nm) CMOS process technology. It is backward-compatible with previous 802.11a, b, g, and n versions and currently sampling. Volume shipping begins Q208.


The UWB wireless revolution is poised to take another big step forward. Westinghouse Digital Electronics and Pulse~LINK announced today that they will be unveiling a fully integrated wireless HDTV at CES this weekend. The High Definition LCD TV, which features Pulse~LINK’s integrated CWave UWB Wireless HDMI technology, is currently scheduled for release to the B2B digital signage market in Q2 2008. Its makers say the wireless LCD HDTV–the first of its kind– offers real-time visually lossless wireless streaming of high-quality audio and video content between entertainment source devices, such as DVRs, Blu-ray or HD DVD players, and its HDTV displays.

Thanks to the integration of CWave Wireless HDMI, the digital display can be mounted anywhere in a room without needing to run data cabling from the TV to the content source, which can be a traditional consumer electronic device, or a live cable or satellite feed. 

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Video data is encoded using the JPEG2000 video codec, the same codec used by movie theaters for “Digital Cinema.”

“This fundamentally raises your expectations of what a TV should be and what it should do,” said Bruce Watkins, Pulse~LINK President and Chief Operating Officer, in a press release. 

Pulse~LINK also recently celebrated the announcement that its FCC Certified CwaveUWB chipset was proven in independent testing (conducted by octoScope) to be the “world’s fastest commercially available wireless networking technology,” with a 1.35 Gbps over-the-air signaling rate delivering 890 Mbps application layer throughput. The tested wireless range is over 500 Mbps at eight feet and more than 115 Mbps up to 40 feet. 

Naomi Graychase is Managing Editor at Wi-FiPlanet.com

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