Proxim's Symphony creates PC harmony by wireless...


May 10, 1999

Proxim's Symphony creates PC harmony by wireless network

Several weeks ago, we reviewed Diamond Multimedia's HomeFree Wireless Networking kit. That inexpensive system is good for basic file and print sharing between the PCs in your house, but it has its failings, such as frequent packet loss.

A more flexible and reliable solution is Proxim's wireless Symphony ($149 with an internal ISA card, $199 for a laptop PC card). This system is just as simple and quick to set up and use as HomeFree. You plug an ISA-based card into each desktop PC on the network and a PC card into each laptop. Install the software, choose which machine will be your Internet host, and you're in business.

Besides file, print and Internet sharing, Symphony allows you to access the hard drives of the other machines on your network and even run applications from them. Because Symphony does a better job of sending data packets across the network, multiplayer gaming suffers less from lag time than it does with HomeFree.

For those serious about home networking, and willing to spend extra money, Proxim's Symphony works beautifully. Thanks to Symphony, I'm about to file this review from my laptop as I sit on my side porch.

Information: 800-229-1630 or

-- Gareth Branwyn

Router adapts Mac devices for new Ethernet networks

The advent of Macintosh OS 8.5 and the popular new G3s and iMacs has opened up a market for Asante Technologies and its AsanteTalk ($99), a simple router that enables LocalTalk devices such as Mac-compatible network printers, older Macs, PowerBooks, and Newton MessagePads to communicate with newer Ethernet networks.

AsanteTalk is barely larger than a pack of cigarettes. It's built for plug-and-play setup as much as possible. The white metal box has three jacks: one for A/C power, a 10baseT jack for Ethernet and a DIN-8 connector for Apple's LocalTalk interface. There's no power switch; four LEDs indicate power status, link integrity, transmission and reception.

The small box ships with a LocalTalk DIN-8 cable, a 12-inch, unshielded twisted-pair Ethernet cable and a 6-inch, shielded twisted-pair crossover cable in case your Ethernet network does not have a hub. You can use a PhoneNet-compatible connector on the AsanteTalk if you have a small LocalTalk network established.

The AsanteTalk isn't the first device of its kind, but with the popularity of Ethernet and the resurging popularity of the Mac, the cost of these gadgets has dropped more than 50 percent over the past few years.

Information: 408-435-8388 or

-- Peter Cohen

You can find full reviews of these and other gadgets at

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