Monday, August 18, 2003
Well, that didn't take long. Only a few years after the Internet "economy" collapsed, we are once again getting hype from Silicon Valley, complete with a new technology "under development," name dropping, promises of world domination and cures for baldness, and of course, revolution:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Airgo Networks, a secretive Silicon Valley start-up composed of a superteam of wireless pioneers, on Monday said it will reveal plans for what analysts say could offer a revolution in wireless transmission quality...

Airgo, of Palo Alto, California, will begin offering sample versions of its short-range radio antenna chips to equipment makers that promise to boost the speed, range and reliability of wireless devices indoors and between nearby buildings...

The antenna technology also can transmit high-definition TV signals inside homes and improve indoor mobile telephone reception, positioning the company to become the latest in a line of Silicon Valley fairy-tale successes, consultant Craig Mathias of the Farpoint Group in Ashland, Massachusetts, said...

The privately held company includes a dream team of developers, including the Stanford University engineering team that pioneered MIMO [multiple-input/multiple-output technology] and co-founder Dr. Richard van Nee, patent holder on much of the technology used in the 802.11 standards...

"Wireless LAN (Local Area Network) is our first market," Raleigh said. "Our ambition is to be the most successful wireless equipment maker in the world."
I am no expert on wireless technology (see this guy), but I do know breathless hype when I see it. It's nice to have ambitions and all, but it sounds like Airgo needs to spend its money on a couple of PR flacks with a clue about expectation management.

By the way, I think what Reuters refers to is described in this press release (MS-Word doc, 37.5 KB). The technology exists, and it really does give a boost to wireless network speeds.

Using Airgo’s unique multiple antenna system, the AGN100 extends existing Wi-Fi rates to 108 Mbps per channel while remaining compatible with all common Wi-Fi standards. In head-to-head testing, the AGN100 demonstrated range that was two to six times that of competing WLAN chipsets, resulting in an order-of-magnitude increase in the area covered by each access point.
108 Mbps is certainly impressive. The current prevailing 802.11b rates only 11 Mbps under ideal conditions; 802.11a boosts that to about 55. I don't mean to diminish Airgo's engineering accomplishments; I just wish "serious reporters" would cut the hype a bit.

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