Gadget Brief: Diamond Wireless LAN hits home

Diamond Multimedia has announced a wireless LAN product specifically designed for home use - as long as you live in the US. The HomeFree wireless LAN technology transmits signals at 2.

Diamond Multimedia has announced a wireless LAN product specifically designed for home use - as long as you live in the US. The HomeFree wireless LAN technology transmits signals at 2.4GHz, or radio frequency, with data speeds up to 1M-bps and at distances of up to 150 ft but Diamond has confirmed that UK users will have to wait until the first half of next year for the product.

Similar technology is available for corporate users but Diamond says HomeFree differs because it uses the PC's CPU to perform much of the work needed to transmit data. That, says Diamond, allows the company to eliminate some of the hardware used in corporate systems, and cut the cost for home users.

Diamond will aim HomeFree at homes with two or more computers where people want to share a printer or a scanner, or for small businesses. The package also includes a software router which will allow multiple computers to share an Internet connection. Connection speed will be reduced however.

Almost 60 percent of home PC users would like to be able to share a printer, according to research performed for Diamond by Access Media International. The company said the network could also be used for multi-player gaming.

The kits go on sale in the US in September. A Desktop Pac, including an ISA and a PCI card, will cost $200 (£121). A Combo Pac, which includes an ISA card and a PC card for a notebook, will cost $230 (£140). To hook up more than two computers, consumers will need a single-node card, which will cost $100 (£61).

Karen Widdows, northen European marketing manager for Diamond told ZDNet News: "These are two different markets. People have more PCs in the US then in Europe, but wireless is the way things are going to go forward. We will hold back on launching it here for at least this quarter."

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