The first wireless LAN is entering beta testing. The product, Ray-LAN, is a wireless local area network for groups of IBM-compatible PCs operating over distances of up to 500 feet. Because nodes communicate by means of tiny antennae instead of through cable, locations are easily added or changed. Stations can even be mobile, allowing direct digital communications. At about $1,500 a node, the cost is approximately 50 percent higher than wired LANs. Deliveries will begin in the first quarter of 1988.
Ray-LAN is a packet-switching network. The data format is proprietary, but similar to X.25. Data is transferred at 19.2K baud. The design conforms to Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) standards, and is claimed to be adaptable to any seven-layer LAN software such as NetBios, Microsoft MSNet, LAN Manager and TCP/IP. The system can be also hooked up with wired networks by adding Ray-LAN equipment to a wired station and adjusting the software.
Each station is equipped with a PC adapter board, a low-powered 72-MHz FM transceiver, and Ray-LAN software shell compatible with Novell's Advanced NetWare. The transceiver can be 20 to 25 feet from the PC. The Ray-LAN system operates under FCC Rule 90.75, which requires a simple network site registration.
Ray-LAN is designed for IBM PC, XT and AT systems and fully compatible clones, and operates under DCX 2.X or 3.X. A P5/2 adapter board will be available by spring.
[Contact: Ray-NET Communication Systems, Inc., 2468 Haywood Avenue, West Vancouver, BC. V7V lYl; (604) 926-7277.]