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MacEdition Pro News : Febuary 11, 2003

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New ways to get connected

Fire in the hole!

Texas Instruments has begun shipping its new FireWire 800 chipset, meaning that expansion cards for the new standard in high-speed connectivity should be reaching those that don’t yet own a spiffy new Mac within a couple of months.

The TI chip – dubbed the TSB81BA3 – will support three ports, be backwards compatible with FireWire 400 devices and will automatically detect and correct for loops in the cabling network of the devices communicating with the chip.

The company also announced it will be shipping a companion chip – the TSB82AA2 – by the end of March which will handle FireWire 800 interconnects with all existing PCI buses. The companion chip will be Open Host Controller Interface (OHCI) 1.1 compatible and have elements of the 1.2 standard embedded into it so that it will handle higher rates of data transmission than the current crop of chips out on the market.

“The availability of IEEE 1394b devices enables much higher performance for applications such as external hard drives,” said Julie Holland, business manager for TI’s connectivity solutions group. “As the need for more and more storage space grows, our TSB81BA3 device and future 1394b devices will provide the desired functionality for moving multimedia and data at high rates over great distances.”

Texas Instruments anticipates the TSB81BA3 chip will also find a home in network devices, audio-visual hard disk drives (AVHDD), musical instruments and home entertainment devices. The FireWire 800 standard supports the use of the technology as a networking methodology with cable runs of up to 100 meters (~330 feet) using standard Cat-5 cable.

Pricing for the chip is US$12.50 in lots of 1,000 units, meaning the new FireWire 800 cards shouldn’t be any more expensive when they reach the market than current FireWire cards have been.

Hit the ground running

Well, you can forget about the old adage that being a day late leaves you a dollar short.

Linksys followed Apple out of the blocks in announcing an 802.11g product a day after Apple CEO Steve Jobs made his AirPort Extreme announcement at Macworld last month. But the California networking company recently announced it has shipped over 100,000 units of 802.11g product since it rolled out the line at CES.

“The launch of our Wireless-G products has been the fastest growing product line in Linksys’ 14-year history,” said Glen McLaughlin, Linksys Vice President of Sales. “We can contribute the hyper-growth of wireless-G products to customer demand for higher speed wireless connectivity at home and in the corporate environment. The strong support of our online, retail, direct response, VAR and distribution partners have helped drive the adoption of wireless networking more quickly that we had anticipated. The overall Wireless-G effect has been predominately incremental, the 802.11b products are coexisting favorably with the new Wireless-G line.”

Linksys expects to ship over 500,000 AirPort Extreme-compatible products by the end of the first quarter.

Don’t touch that dial

Belkin Corp. has inked a deal with Cerberian Inc. to utilize Cerberian’s off-site Internet filtering technology in a line of upcoming networking products.

The agreement means that future routers and gateways from Belkin will automatically filter harmful Internet content without the need for configuration software on the administrator’s computer, or give little Johnny a means to disable the software when doing school reports on Asia. (Warning: adult-oriented content link.)

“We recognize the value in Cerberian’s Web Filter, and expect that our networking customers will find the non-obtrusive, and customizable filtering solution to be on par with the quality they expect from Belkin,” said Gary Hansen, senior product manager at Belkin. “Cerberian’s Web Filter offers parents and business owners alike the solution they need to protect their investment in the Internet, by monitoring access and controlling the content that comes across their computer screens. Our parental control solution constitutes the first real filtering solution designed for a home network, requiring no software installation on PCs. Belkin networking products are among the most trusted products on the market, and they now feature the added value of the most accurate filtering solution available.”

The technology relays user requests through a filtering bank, managed by Cerberian, before downloading the page to the user. Shipping dates and pricing on the new product line was not disclosed by Belkin at the time of the announcement.

The power is on

PowerDsine Inc. is putting its money where its mouth is by releasing a line of 10/100base-T hubs which feature its Power over LAN technology.

The technology allows the hub to feed power to other network components over standard Cat-5 cabling. The new line of Power over LAN technology also features a browser-based remote management capability so a network administrator can immediately tell where and which components are failing to respond to network traffic.

“Centralized management is critical to reducing the cost of maintenance and ensuring uninterrupted service for enterprises managing an increasing number of devices connected through their LAN,” said Amir Lehr, PowerDsine’s vice president of marketing and strategic planning. “Our Power over LAN midspans with PowerView enable end-users to monitor and control power allocation and consumption, ensuring that their powered Ethernet-connected voice and data devices are properly powered for reliable operation.”

The PowerDsine 6000 series range from six to 24 ports. The company also offers cabling solutions to deliver power to products which don’t use its technology and has OEM solutions available to other network equipment manufacturers.

The real airmail solution

A Seattle company has had a successful run at handling email to flying users and is looking to parlay that success into a big chunk of what the Boeing Corp. once saw as a potential US$70 billion market.

ASI Entertainment Inc. tested its Data3Mail solution with Alitalia during a four-hour flight over Rome last December. The company revealed it is also in the final stages of discussions with Saudi Airlines to place the system on aircraft operated by that airline.

Data3Mail uses a satellite link up to handle the connection while the server’s software allows users to preview email in their inboxes and decide which items they wish to download or send through the system. The rate charge for the service depends on the amount of correspondence the user wishes to engage in.

Those accessing the Data3Mail service are not required to make any configuration changes or load any special software in order to access the system.

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