Cable customers are being offered the chance to build their own high-speed wireless home network, by signing up for trials being operated by ntl and Telewest.
Electronics manufacturer Pace announced on Wednesday that both cable firms plan to run commercial trials of its home networking product. This kit plugs into the cable set-top box or cable modem to create a wireless broadband network that can link PCs, laptops and other home electronics equipment to each other and to the Net.
According to Pace, its wireless 'plug and play' home networking product will provide a boost to the take-up of high-speed Internet services. The company claims that it has carried out research that found that computer users are more likely to sign up for a broadband connection if they can use it to create their own home wireless network.
"Our networked home technology is designed for operators to create new revenue generating opportunities for minimal additional investment and extend their customer appeal," said Pace chief executive Malcolm Miller in a statement.
Both ntl and Telewest will run the trials for eight weeks. Users will be given a Pace "Gateway Expander", which plugs into the Ethernet port on their cable modem or set-top box. This creates a wireless base station, which uses the Dect wireless standard to send data around the home at speeds of at least 512kbps.
Users must attach a USB-enabled device called the "pcConnect" in order to connect a computer to this wireless network.
The DECT, or Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications, standard is used extensively in cordless phones. It has a range of up to 100 metres, and some industry experts have speculated that it has the potential to rival Bluetooth and 802.11b as the technology of choice for wireless local area networks.
Analysts have warned, though, that 802.11b has the advantage of a large base of users across Europe and the US.
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