MaxStream


MaxStream makes wireless networking gear, but their market isn't personal computers, but embedded devices. They build wireless modems in the 900MHz and 2.4GHz bands for use in weather stations, electric and gas meters, monitoring remote conditions in mobile and fixed applications, vending machines, point of sales devices, HVAC, gas lines, and so on.

Why not 802.11? I asked that question and the answer comes down to three things:

  1. Overhead - 802.11 implements and entire networking stack and lots of embedded devices don't need it.
  2. Range - There's an inverse relationship between range and bandwidth. Most embedded applications need range more than they need bandwidth.
  3. Cost - These devices in bulk need to be very cheap to be embedded in other devices.

On the other hand, why not X10 or something like it? It comes down to the advantage of digital signals over analog signals. MaxStream is digital and so provides packetization, retries, encryptions, and so on. X10 doesn't do that.