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Visor goes Wireless with SpringPort

Tue Apr 25, 2000 - 1:45 AM EDT - By Marcus Adolfsson

Questions and Answers about Wireless Ethernet (802.11)

Q. What is a Wireless LAN Springboard Module (WLSM)?
The WLSM is a wireless local area network (LAN) Springboard Module that provides a fast and affordable way to connect your Visor to a wireless network that utilizes the IEEE 802.11b standard. A Visor with the Wireless LAN Springboard Module allows a user to roam about their wireless LAN and browse the Internet, receive E-mail messages, chat, and generally leverage any applications that utilize an IP connection from the Palm OS. 

Q. What wireless network technology is the WLSM compatible with?
We are demonstrating compatibility with Apple's Airport which is 802.11b compliant. A full compatibility statement will be made when product is ready for shipment. 

Q. What can my Mac do when connected with a WLSM equipped Visor?
With the appropriate software, your Mac can act as a web server, E-mail server, or provide other services for your wirelessly connected Visor. Typically these Mac services would be set up on AppleShare IP or Mac OS X Server. The WLSM equipped Visor can interoperate with Airport equipped Macintoshes such as the iBook, iMac DV, and PowerMacintosh G4 with an AirPort card.

Q. How far from the base station can the WLSM equipped Visor work?
Typical in-door range at full speed will be approximately 160ft. At slower connect rates the in-door range increases to approximately 375ft. The wireless network works through walls so direct line of sight is not required as with other wireless technologies such as infrared.

Q. How fast is the WLSM equipped Visor on the network?
The network connection is auto-negotiated at the best rate by the WLSM up to 11MB/sec. This is a very high speed solution for a handheld device. 

Q. Does network HotSync work over the wireless connection?
Yes. Network HotSync works over the wireless connection if the base PC is configured for network HotSync. Any configured conduits will update via the connection in the typical fashion. 3Com/Palm has not made network HotSync available for the Mac at this time.

Q. Will Xircom offer the WLSM as a product and when will it be available? 
Yes. Xircom will be offering a product in the April/May 2000 timeframe that is very similar to the demonstration model shown at MacWorld San Francisco.

Q. Will my WLSM equipped Visor be compatible with third party 802.11b wireless products?
Yes. The WLSM is 802.11b compliant and will be WECA certified guaranteeing interoperability with other 802.11b WECA certified equipment.

Q. Can the WLSM equipped Visor be used in a PC centric network?
Yes. Both the network as well as the connectivity software used by the Visor conform to industry standards and thus can be used in a network with both Mac and PCs. 

Q. What is IEEE 802.11 and why is it important?
IEEE 802.11 is a standard developed by the same organization that set standards for Ethernet networking, which is commonly used in business offices. 802.11 is a worldwide standard, so companies that build products conforming to this standard can have their products work together. Businesses, schools, and other institutions often find it beneficial to standardize equipment so that they can combine hardware from different vendors. Home users who buy standardized product are assured that it will work with products from other companies.

Q. What are the details behind the technology demonstration?
The WLSM uses 802.11b technology, which has been integrated into a sleek, stylish form factor by Xircom. Access to network resources is provided by the Apple Airport Base Station Access Point. The WLSM automatically configures the appropriate Internet Protocol (IP) address for the Visor on these networks. The WLSM complies to the 802.11 standard and will be able to interoperate with any 802.11 DSSS compliant network.

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