Linksys Extends its Wi-Fi Range

By Colin C. Haley

July 08, 2004

Cisco's wireless home networking unit unveils new antennas to bolster range and signals.

Cisco's Linksys division has introduced a line of "high-gain" antennas to help extend the range of its home and small office wireless broadband network equipment.

Some of the new antennas are for use on walls or ceilings, while others replace existing antennas on routers, access points, network adapters or bridges. They are designed for use with Linksys' Wireless-B and Wireless-G product lines.

Linksys said the devices help increase the strength of outgoing Wi-Fi signals and the sensitivity for incoming signals.

"Every environment is different, so it is very difficult for us to say how much exactly the range will be," Karen Sohl, a Cisco spokeswoman said. "Not just range but performance should increase since you are putting a strong signal to move data."

This is the first time the company has offered an external attachable antenna, Sohl said. Last year, it introduced a power amplifier antenna, but it was discontinued.

The new offerings are available at U.S. and Canadian retailers, both online and through resellers, and cost between $30 and $60.

It's the latest example of Cisco working to make its home networking equipment more useful. Last year, the company unveiled a product to transport pictures and music stored on PCs to TVs and stereos, the first in a new line aimed at filling missing links in a wireless home networking chain.

Cisco bought Linksys last spring for $500 million in stock in order to gain a foothold in the burgeoning market helping consumers and small business owners connect multiple PCs, laptops, printers, scanners and other devices over wireless local area networks.

According to research from Instat/MDR, Linksys leads the wireless devices sector with a 16.7 percent revenue market share during the first quarter. It has shipped 10 million wireless devices in the last three years.



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