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Intel Debuts Wireless Networking Products

Today at RetailVision, Intel launched three new home-networking products, including two wireless models that can tie a notebook computer into a home network.

The wireless product introductions — the first wireless products in Intel’s Anypoint home networking line — consist of a PC card and an external USB device, which can also be used with desktop PCs, and have respective suggested retail prices of $129 and $119.

These devices use the standard developed by the Home RF Working Group and allow a notebook to share all the components connected to a home’s computer network at a data transfer rate of 1.6MB per second, said James Woodruff, Intel consumer marketing director.

The products, shipping this month, have a range of 150 feet and can send and receive data through walls and ceilings. Intel’s consumer research found that while notebook owners enjoy the cost savings involved in sharing an ISP on a home network, these people enjoy the peripheral sharing almost as much.

The third product is based on the Home PNA standard that uses a home’s telephone line to connect the network, Woodruff said. This external USB hub, suggested retail price $99 and shipping in April, should be attractive to consumers because it allows the implementation of a network without the consumer having to open up the PC.

“The hub is just plugged into the USB port, and that is a huge selling point among customers who are not tech savvy and would rather not open up the box,” he said. The hub has a 10MB per second data transfer speed and will be sold online and through brick & mortar retailers.

These products are particularly well suited for selling on the web, Woodruff said, adding they now equal about 25% of all channel sales, and this figure could hit 50% by the end of 2000.