D-Link releases super-G in Europe after all

LONDON (03/11/2004) - D-Link Inc. has launched Super-G products in Europe that operate at a nominal 108Mbit/s, roughly double the speed of plain 802.11g. This brings D-Link Europe into line with the rest of the company and reverses a decision made last year.

In October, D-Link U.K. told us that compression (provided by a Texas Instruments Inc. chipset) was better than the channel bonding proposed by Atheros Communications Inc. and offered by Netgear Inc. Things got confusing when D-Link offered Super-G in the U.S., while its European branch held off. Now D-Link Europe is singing from the same hymn sheet.

So what happened? "In November there was uncertainty about channel bonding," said Nick Bharadia, the pre-sales engineer at D-Link who explained D-Link Europe's original qualms to us last year. "The market was a little bit hesitant on that front." There were even rumors that channel bonding might be illegal in Europe.

"The Wi-Fi Alliance hadn't clarified their stance on channel bonding, at that point," he said, a position which is not greatly changed now. "The Wi-Fi Alliance haven't made any comments on Super-G but they haven't refused to certify products, as long as they also run straight 11g."

There is a market demand for "108 Mbit/s" Super-G products, said Bharadia. More to the point, the U.S. has spoken: "We have more of a global strategy now," he said, "rather than different sectors doing different things."

Bharadia confirmed that the enterprise-friendly CAPWAP-compliant access point announced last month would be available in the U.K., although it still has no announced delivery date.

There is a more interesting issue of course: when will D-Link -- a vendor that does both Wi-Fi and switches -- actually launch a Wi-Fi switch? Given the price-performance of its current products, one might expect a D-Link wireless switch to come in at a lower price than the current enterprise crop. The company has no announced plans in that area and Bharadia was giving little away: "You may see something appearing," he said. "The main players are highly priced. If D-Link comes through, it will be at the right price and performance level to make it attractive."

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