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Hardwired + Wireless Trumps All-Wireless
Wireless Speakers and HDTV? In-Wall Access Points Will Answer the Call

Admit it, you know you've said it: We don't need to prewire. Everything is going wireless.

But savvy consumers and pros alike know that the best wireless solution is a hybrid one, where you extend the reach of wireless technology by strategically placed wireless access points (WAP) hardwired to a hub.

Trouble is, who wants a houseful of WAPs when we're already dealing with enough cabling and component clutter? There are some new varieties that aren't too heinous. OnQ's in-ceiling WAP, for example, looks like a smoke detector -- not that smoke detectors are all that great looking.

Ortronics offers an in-wall WAP, the WiJack Duo. But that's just one more single-purpose outlet we have to deal with.

The problem solver is coming from UStec, which just won a patent for a WAP built into a multiport outlet. So those wallplates that already have two coax and two Cat 5+ ports would have wireless built in. One less piece of clutter to deal with.

The patent isn't so much about the technology of distributing signals over Cat 5 or coax, then converting to WiFi, Bluetooth, UWB, Wireless 1394 or some other wireless protocol. It's really about the form factor -- bundling cable and wireless technologies in a single in-wall package.

The concept seems too simple to be patentable, but the idea was conceived in 1998 and submitted the patent back in 2000, when the idea wasn't so obvious.

The technology will be especially useful as we move to more wireless speakers and wireless HDTV.

Read the entire story with links and images here: