They've taken their time but Cisco has introduced the Linksys Wireless A+G range of home networking products to Europe, more than two years after the products appeared in the US. The dual-band devices support the 2.4GHz 802.11g standard and the 5GHz 802.11a standard for wireless LANs. The products provide access to more bandwidth and higher data rates for home networking, while retaining compatibility with older devices, the company said.

The products were first made available to US businesses in the second quarter of 2003, according to company spokeswoman Karen Sohl. Delays in obtaining certification for the products held up bringing them to Europe, she added.

The Wireless A+G range includes a wireless router, a wireless access point, a PC Card adapter, a PCI adapter and a USB adapter. The "g" and "a" standards both support access speeds up to a theoretical maximum of 54Mbit/s, compared to 11Mbit/s for the 802.11b standard, support for which is more common. Devices compatible with 802.11g are backward-compatible with 802.11b devices, and operate at the lower speed in such networks.

Devices can connect to the router or the access point simultaneously in both frequency bands, as the devices each have two radios, Cisco said. The two devices can be configured using a browser.

Computer connections using the PC Card or the PCI adapter can be secured with the WPA protocol.

The company recommends dividing applications between the two frequencies as a simple way of labelling traffic and guaranteeing quality of service. It suggests using the 802.11g connection for sharing files, photos, music or Internet access, and 802.11a for video streaming, so that time-critical applications like video aren't held up by bursty or bandwidth-intensive applications.

In addition, because the products accommodate all the 802.11 family of wireless networking technologies, there's no risk of finding that the wireless hotspot you're using, or the PC your visitor brought with them, is equipped with the wrong one, the company said.

The products are available immediately throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the spokeswoman said. In the UK, the company expects the broadband router (WRT55AG) and the wireless access point (WAP55AG) to retail for around £99.99 (inc VAT) each, while the wireless PC Card (WPC55AG), the PCI adapter and the USB adapter will retail for around £79.99.