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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Melco Ignites Price Explosion in Wireless LAN Market
  • February 3, 1999 (TOKYO) — Melco Inc. released its AIRCONNECT Series low-cost wireless LAN products recently that are expected to ignite a price explosion in the market.
    The products are inexpensive for a wireless LAN with 2Mbps speed using 2.4GHz bandwidth.

    It is possible to configure a wireless LAN for less than 100,000 yen (US$865) with two notebook PCs. The new products will ship from February.

    This series will include Access Point with an antenna which is a parent machine in the wireless LAN, PCMCIA card (type II) with an integrated antenna for a notebook PC and ISA board for desktop PC. Access Point sells for 59,800 yen (US$520), PC card for 29,800 yen (US$260) and ISA board for 39,800 yen (US$345).

    Easy Intro Pack, consisting of one Access Point and two PC cards, sells for 98,000 yen (US$850).

    The price of a PC card is approximately half or even one-third that of an existing similar 2Mbps product. The Easy Intro Pack price is as cheap as one-third to one-fifth of existing products.

    The company said the low-price of the series was realized because the prices of microchips as a core part of wireless communications declined drastically.

    In July 1997, the standard specification for wireless LAN was fixed by the IEEE802.11 committee. After that, volume shipments of products based on the specification began in the latter half of 1998. As a result, mass production of the microchips was made possible.

    Another reason for the low prices is the products exclud “roaming” capability, which enables an automatic change of Access Points while the devices move around.

    Generally, wireless LAN products have been developed on a premise that they are used not only in office environment but also in factory or warehouse for inventory control. In plants, a device moves with the operator, which requires a roaming function.

    Melco focused on office use and, therefore, decided to exclude roaming. Melco said it is easy to change an access point with the packaged software.

    In addition to Melco, Macnica Inc. will also ship in February a wireless LAN kit for one notebook PC including one Access Point for the small office, home office market. This Access Point will also function as a remote router. The whole package will sell for 149,800 yen (US$1,300).

    Market watchers said the price explosion has just started in the wireless LAN market.

    (Nikkei Communications)

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