InterDigital Communications is launching client cards with steerable antennas at the Wi-Fi Planet show in San Jose today. Other products announced at the show include software to monitor guests on a wireless network, from Sesame Networks, and test equipment for VoIP installations from Veriwave.

InterDigital Communications - a long-established maker of wireless silicon - is entering the Wi-Fi market with an advanced antenna for client devices. AIM (Adaptive Interference Management) monitors and reacts to interference, locking onto the best signal, said Brett Attebery, its product marketing manager.

Typically, a Wi-Fi antenna generates multiple beams to send and receive data in omnidirectional patterns. What InterDigital has developed is an antenna that uses two steerable beams and one omnidirectional beam in order to find and lock on to the strongest signal.

As a client device enters a location and creates interference for other devices, an AIM-enabled device goes into scan mode and corrects the antenna direction. The technology is designed to be built into equipment from other brands, and should show up in product designs by the first half of 2005, Attebery said.

Another Wi-Fi Planet announcement aims to help companies control guests on their network. Guest services are popular with enterprises that have installed Wi-Fi, said David Hayden, principal at MobileWeek. "Guest services allow a company to add value to its network by giving visitors attending a meeting on campus access to a secure portion of the WLAN," Hayden said.

Sesame Networks will be showing its SesameSpots product, which validates guests using their cell phones. SesameSpots requires guests to type in their cell phone number, and sends back an SMS message with a temporary pass code. The phone number allows network administrators to monitor individual guest behaviour and terminate a session at their discretion.

Finally, installing Wi-Fi networks could be made easier by improved tests that could help locate the best position for APs. Traffic Generator, a test device from VeriWave launched at the show, verifies the quality and performance of devices used in Wi-Fi networks by emulating traffic then capturing and receiving data from test devices to analyse it.