Carrier Current Technologies recently said that it would increase the speed of Carrier-Net, a network adapter for PC-compatibles that runs at 38,400 bits per second (bps) over standard electrical wiring. Users attach a Carrier-Net adapter box to the serial port of the computer and plug it in to the electrical outlet, which carries the network signal. Carrier Current plans to be able to reach 115,000 bps this fall and up to 4 megabits per second sometime later by using multiple channel technology. The company has announced no plans for AppleTalk support, but with the maximum speed of AppleTalk at 234,000 bps, such a product might be possible. Carrier -Net is currently limited to in-building wiring because the network signals cannot pass through a transformer, but Carrier Current is working on a gateway solution.
A major cost of networking is laying and maintaining the network wiring, so a technology such as Carrier-Net would be much easier to work with than conventional wiring techniques. Another solution to the wiring problem is radio frequency transmission, but that too is limited to the PC world. A company called OCI markets a product called LAWN (Local Area Wireless Network), which, like Carrier-Net, is currently limited to 38,400 bps and has a limited range but requires no additional wiring. Should either technology attain a speed quick enough to run AppleTalk, it would undoubtedly become popular with Macintosh users, considering the ease of networking the Mac and the introduction of FileShare in Apple's System 7.0.
Carrier Current Technologies -- 800/222-0377
OCI -- 800/OCI-LAWN
InfoWorld -- 16-Apr-90, Vol. 12, #16, pg. 24
InfoWorld -- 11-Jun-90, Vol. 12, #24, pg. 33