The Federal Communications Commission has given Sony its approval to release the PEGA-WL110, a new wireless networking card for some Clie models. At this point it appears almost indistinguishable from the company’s current one.
Though Sony says the range of the WL100 is greater than that of the new model, it’s possible the company is simply being more realistic. It’s unlikely that anyone was actually able to get the WL100 to connect at a range of 300 feet indoors or 1000 feet outdoors. The WL110 promises 200 feet indoors or 500 feet outdoors, a bit more realistic numbers.
The two Wi-Fi cards are so similar the fact that the WL110 has two status indicator lights, rather than the one the WL100 sports, qualifies as a major change. According to the user manual submitted to the FCC, both the cards can even use the same software driver.
Both cards use the 802.11b (Wi-Fi) wireless networking standard and are CompactFlash cards. They can be used with Sony’s NX series and the NZ90.
The WL100 was made by Symbol Technologies, while it looks like the WL110 will be made by Sony itself. It’s possible this change is simply to allow Sony to sell a product it makes, rather than one it has to buy from another company.
Sony has not yet announced the WL110. The FCC must approve all wireless products before they can be released and companies rarely say anything about a product before it gets FCC approval. However, several retailers already have the WL110 listed, though none have it available. Prices range from $140 to $150.
Memory Stick Version Coming
Sony had a Memory Stick with Wi-Fi capabilities at this month’s CeBIT tradeshow. Company representatives at the show said this would be available mid-summer. However, Sony representatives in the U.S. were unable to confirm this.
The company may have developed the internal wireless hardware and be planning to release it in two forms for different handheld models.
Wi-Fi, or Wireless Fidelity, is a medium-range wireless networking protocol. It offers data transfer speeds of up to 11 MB per second over a range of 300 feet. It’s typically used to allow mobile devices, like laptops and handhelds, to connect to networks and therefore the Internet.
Networks can be set up at home or offices and an increasing number of coffee shops and other businesses offer Wi-Fi access.