Improved WiFi Repeaters Due in 2005
A Florida-based WiFi startup is developing chips to enable full-duplex WiFi repeaters, a step up from the half-duplex repeaters in use today.A Florida-based WiFi startup is developing chips to enable full-duplex WiFi repeaters, a step up from the half-duplex repeaters in use today. WiDeFi Inc. of Satellite Beach, Fla., said Thursday it has raised $6.8 million in venture capital that it will use to further develop its repeater chips, which are due to enter production about April 2005, a WiDeFi executive said. WiDeFis funding was led by The Aurora Funds Inc. of Research Triangle Park, N.C., and Axiom Venture Partners of Hartford, Conn. Depending on the signal strength, sources of interference and other variables, a WiFi access points range averages about 100 meters. WiFi repeaters, from companies such as Buffalo Technology Inc., Cisco Systems Inc.s Linksys division and D-Link Inc., are common and can extend the range of a wireless network still farther, using chips from Broadcom Corp. and Texas Instruments Inc.
But todays repeaters have a weakness: They work only in "half-duplex" mode, in which the radio listens for part of the time and broadcasts for part of the time on the same frequency, according to Brian Verenkoff, a marketing engineer for Buffalo Technology in Austin, Texas. Until recently, the repeaters, which serve as a Layer 2 bridge, couldnt maintain the WPA security protocol. If theres any interference, the repeater may simply drop the packet, Verenkoff said.