The network hardware manufacturer launched the firmware upgrade at the WLAN show in London on Tuesday. The 54mbps 802.11g standard, which was ratified last year, has already been boosted to around 108mbps by the majority of wireless hardware manufacturers, but U.S. Robotics is one of the first to further increase this speed.
In January, Broadcom updated to 125mbps, and manufacturers such as Buffalo Technology, Belkin and Linksys are expected to release equivalent updates in the near future.
Peter Blampied, European director of sales and operations at U.S. Robotics, said in a statement that the company will offer on its Web site a free firmware and driver upgrade for existing 802.11g customers. "Customers purchasing U.S. Robotics wireless solutions today should be assured that they are buying 125mbps-capable products," he said.
Earlier this year, Synergy Research Group reported that revenue for wireless networking gear reached US$2.5 billion in 2003, up about 40 percent from the previous year.
Market research firm Allied Business Intelligence said that next year the market will change again as shipments of dual-band 802.11a/g networking products surpass those of 802.11g equipment, driven largely by multimedia applications. By 2009, the company said, 95 million Wi-Fi networking equipment devices will be shipped.
The 802.11g wireless standard runs at a higher speed than 802.11b and offers greater security. The two specifications, which are interoperable, function on the 2.4GHz frequency, along with microwave ovens and Bluetooth products. The 802.11a standard operates on the 5GHz spectrum, reducing interference problems; it is interoperable with the "g" specification but not with "b."
Munir Kotadia of ZDNet UK reported from London. CNET News.com's Dinesh C. Sharma contributed to this report.