3Com, Microsoft plan home network kits
March 12, 1999
(IDG) -- Microsoft and 3Com will work together to produce co-branded home networking products that will allow consumers to connect their home PCs to share Internet access, peripherals, and applications.
The first products, to be released in the second and third quarter of this year, will include Ethernet and phone line networking kits, the companies said in a statement. Future versions will also allow wireless data transmission over radio frequencies, as well as over home electrical wiring.
With a single Internet connection, two or more people in a home will be able to surf the Web simultaneously, the companies said. Because of the ability to share applications, home networks will eventually lead to new "lifestyle applications" -- including shared family scheduling, family messaging, distance learning, and multimedia entertainment applications such as multiplayer gaming and whole-house audio on demand, the companies said.
Consumers will be able to choose from several different types of networked connectivity, including the use of traditional phone lines, the companies said.
The phone-line networking solutions will be compatible with standards from the Home Phoneline Networking Association, an industry-sponsored group that has developed standards for home networking.
The basic network kits will provide 10Mbps performance, the companies said. Higher performance product lines will include Ethernet solutions based on 3Com's chip sets, the company said. In the future, the product line will also include high-speed radio frequency and power-line connectivity solutions.
The products will be easy to use for consumers with limited technical knowledge, promised the companies. They will automatically configure computers and be available in a range of form factors, including USB adapters that enable plug-and-play connectivity.
Jana Sanchez is London bureau chief for the IDG News Service.
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