D-Link Upgrades Dual-Band Access Point

By Eric Griffith

August 21, 2002

The new version of D-Link's 802.11a/b router not only increases the 11b speed to 22Mbps using the Texas Instruments ACX100 chipset, the product has also dropped to half its previous price. In fact, dual-band product prices may be plunging.

We all know that in computing, everything eventually gets cheaper and faster. However, it's usually not this fast or cheap -- D-Link Systems of Irvine, CA, has announced a new version of its D-Link AirPro DWL-6000AP Dual-Band Wireless Access Point that doubles the speed and drops from $499 down to $249 in price.

The DWL-6000AP was first announced in April this year. The dual-radio (2.4GHz/5GHz) product offered speeds of 54Mbps for 802.11a users, and 11Mbps for 802.11b users.

The latest iteration of the unit has the Texas Instruments ACX100 chipset using what's becoming known as "802.11b+" -- a boost to 22Mbps for 802.11b users with client cards running the same chipset. Those with standard 802.11b adapters will still get the 11Mbps speed. 11Mbps is never really seen in the real world due to network overhead, but D-Link says that standard 802.11b performance will increase by about 20% anyway with this product, due to use of TI's Packet Binary Convolutional Coding (PBCC) modulation. TI originally wanted PBCC to be part of the anticipated 802.11g specification. 11g will instead use Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) like 802.11a does.

The 802.11a chipset from Atheros used in the DWL-6000AP also provides a "turbo mode" -- up to 72Mbps for 11a users.

The D-Link DWL-6000AP has a Web-based interface run by an embedded Web server. It comes with monitoring and management software that uses Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). WEP encryption goes up to 256-bit for 11b and 152-bit for 11a. MAC authentication is supported for extra security.

While the price drop may be attributed to the overall lower cost of using the ACX100, and drops in 802.11a chips, it's also in response to yesterday's news from Linksys. That company's brand new Instant Wireless Dual-Band Wireless Access Point (model WAP51AB) will sell for a $299 street price.



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