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Zoom Introduces Affordable 802.11 Standard Wireless LAN Product Line

Boston, MA, December 16, 1998 - With the release of three new products, Zoom Telephonics (NASDAQ: ZOOM) has significantly lowered the cost for wireless local area networks compatible with the IEEE 802.11 standard.

The ZoomAir PC Card Wireless NIC, ZoomAir ISA Wireless NIC, and ZoomAir Access Point Software comprise the first three members of the new ZoomAir product line. The Network Interface Cards (NICs) have an estimated retail price of $299, well below the price of similar products from other manufacturers. The ZoomAir Access Point Software has an estimated retail of $199, well below hardware access points typically retailing for more than $800.

Zoom's IEEE 802.11 Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) compliant products can interoperate with wired 10BaseT or 100BaseT Ethernet in large enterprises, and can also provide an excellent solution as a primary LAN for smaller networks. ZoomAir products enable peer-to-peer and Ethernet network access at up to 2 Mbps over a range of up to 300 feet indoors and over 1,000 feet in outdoor settings.

"We believe that 802.11 DSSS standard products are the right choice for most people selecting a wireless LAN", said Frank Manning, President of Zoom Telephonics. "The 802.11 standard assures interoperability in a wide range of environments including offices, homes, factories and schools. And 802.11 gives the customer lots of choices for equipment, software, and suppliers."

The ZoomAir NICs make any Windows 95/98 or NT4 notebook, laptop, or desktop PC into a wireless networked workstation. ZoomAir products operate in the 2.4 GHz Instrumentation, Medical, and Scientific (ISM) radio frequency band and are based on the Harris Radio Prism chipset. The ISM radio frequency is less affected by interference than wireless solutions that operate at lower frequencies. The 2.4 GHz band is also much less affected by common physical barriers such as walls or people passing between communicating units.

Advanced performance features of the ZoomAir NICs include intelligent power control, with a power-saving standby mode to maximize laptop battery life, and Flash memory for easy upgrades.

In addition to certification to U.S. FCC Parts 15B and 15C, and Canadian Specification RSS210, Issue 3, ZoomAir radio transceivers (network interface cards) have successfully passed European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) testing. Zoom's wireless LAN products will be approved for use in at least 14 European countries and the Americas.

Data security concerns are addressed through Wired Equivalency Privacy (WEP), which provides 40-bit data encryption. In addition, Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum is inherently difficult to monitor using surveillance equipment because it breaks the data signal into multiple, fluctuating frequency bands that are difficult to decode.

ZoomAir Access Point Software provides a low-cost bridge between wired and wireless networks, extends the range of wireless networks and increases the total system capacity. Zoom's Access Point Software also includes Internet sharing with firewall security to allow all wireless and wired network users to access a single Internet connection. Any PC running Windows 95/98 or NT4.0 which is also equipped with a ZoomAir NIC and ZoomAir Access Point software can become an access point.

When ZoomAir is used in ad hoc (peer-to-peer) mode, ZoomAir Access Point Software is not required to provide Internet sharing. A variety of Internet sharing software packages can also be used, including: Sygate, RideWay, or I.Share.

The 802.11 DSSS standard currently supports a data rate of 2 Mbps with collision avoidance. Collision avoidance increases network throughput to an effective data rate greater than a wired 2 Mbps network using collision detection. Future generations of standards-compatible DSSS products from Zoom are expected to have data rates up to 11 Mbps with backward compatibility to 2 Mbps products.

Additional advantages of ZoomAir wireless networks over wired networks include:

  • Mobility. ZoomAir provides users with real-time network access anywhere in the range of their network peers or access points. It's ideal for conference rooms, hospital buildings, school campuses, warehouses, and manufacturing areas.
  • Ease of installation. The ZoomAir Wireless PC Card supports existing network software and appears to a PC as a wired 10BaseT Ethernet NIC. Wireless networks can be set up without the expense and disruption of pulling cable through walls, floors, and ceilings. Furthermore, wireless technology enables the network to operate anywhere within the range of the system, often where wire cannot go.
  • Easy moves. The wireless LAN connection moves with the PC. In addition, an entire wireless network easily moves to a new location.
  • Reduced cost of ownership. Overall installation expenses and life-cycle costs of a wireless LAN can be significantly lower than that of a wired LAN, especially in dynamic environments requiring frequent moves and changes.
  • Scalability. Zoom's wireless LAN can be configured in a variety of topologies to meet the needs of specific applications and installations. Configurations are easily changed and range from peer-to-peer networks suitable for a small number of users to full infrastructure networks of thousands of users that enable roaming over a broad area.

Zoom Telephonics, a communications leader since 1977, designs, produces and markets Wireless LAN products, faxmodems, ISDN products and other products that link people and their personal computers through the world's largest network, the international telephone network, and connected networks including the Internet and corporate local area networks. Zoom Telephonics is publicly traded on NASDAQ (NASDAQ: ZOOM). Zoom products are produced in Boston, Massachusetts and sold worldwide.

For more information about ZoomAir or other Zoom products, call toll-free at 800-631-3116 or visit the Zoom Website at www.zoomtel.com

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