One man's future proofing is another man's snake oil dispenser...
Intel Europe is shipping wireless LAN terminals equipped for the 802.11a wireless standard despite the fact that it is currently illegal within the continent.
802.11a is a faster equivalent of the 802.11b wireless standard, currently used in most wireless LAN cards. 802.11a offers much faster data speeds, up to 54Mbps compared to the 11Mbps delivered by 802.11b.
However, 802.11a uses the 5.2GHz band, and is not currently approved for use in Europe.
A different technology, called HiperLAN II has been approved by the European standards body ETSI as the continent's fast networking system of choice.
Intel believes that with a few modifications to 802.11a it can be made compliant with the specifications for HiperLAN II by Q2 2002.
According to David Bradshaw, Intel's head of marketing for EMEA Wireless LANs, the company is urging customers to buy 802.11a enabled wireless LAN base stations now.
They will only need a software upgrade to operate with the new version of 802.11a when it is approved for use in Europe.