April 21, 2003 4:19 PM PDT

Motorola takes Wi-Fi to the living room

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Motorola has started connecting home-networking devices using its new combination cable modem and Wi-Fi access product, a move it hopes will spur demand for more connected gadgets.

The chipmaker's broadband services division, called the Broadband Communications Sector, on Monday began selling the $350 SBG1000, a combination cable modem, wireless networking access point, Ethernet router and switch, print server and advanced firewall. The device is meant to expand consumer access to information and entertainment while taking advantage of the growing popularity of wireless networking technology Wi-Fi.

Motorola says it's offering consumers an easy and complete product for sharing broadband access over a home network. In addition to a broadband connection, the device will allow other resources, such as a printer, fax machine and game console, to be shared over a network.

More and more manufacturers, such as Sony and Hewlett-Packard, are building wireless networking capabilities into new devices as part of a larger vision of making content and resources accessible throughout the home. The move for Motorola also is meant to capitalize on the growing subscriptions to broadband service.

"The Motorola SBG1000 is an example of how...Motorola can work with retailers and network operators, driving innovation to meet ever-increasing consumer demand for broadband," John Burke, a Motorola corporate vice president, said in a statement.

Broadband Internet use in U.S. homes surged 59 percent in 2002, fueled by consumer defections from slower dial-up connections, according to a study from Internet measurement firm Nielsen/NetRatings. More Americans, 74.4 million compared with 33.6 million, access the Web using narrowband connections versus broadband.

In related news, Motorola announced the availability of its $150 SB5100 cable modem.

Both products are available through retail store giants Circuit City, Best Buy and Office Depot.


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