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Intel to release faster home networking kit

Adding to the rapidly growing market for home networking, chip leader Intel plans to release a new, faster kit to link PCs and peripherals in homes next week.

Adding to the rapidly growing market for home networking, chip leader Intel plans to release a new, faster kit to link PCs and peripherals in homes next week.

Intel has assembled a new phoneline kit that allows consumers to network personal computers, printers, and other peripherals, as well as share Internet connections, by plugging equipment into a traditional phone jack.

The new kit, which sends data information along a network at speeds of 10 megabits per second (mbps), is 10 times faster than a home networking product Intel released in April.

Intel spokesman Tom Potts said the slower version has sufficient power for most home users, but the faster version will give people the extra bandwidth needed to connect more than five PCs, transfer large files and graphics, or distribute video across a home network.

With the release of its new kit, Intel joins Diamond Multimedia, Nortel Networks, the 3Com-Microsoft alliance, and other firms that are rushing to release their own home networking kits in time for the holiday buying season.

Separately, networking equipment firm Linksys today released its own 10 mbps phoneline networking product geared for small businesses and home offices. Cost is $65 for each PC card adapter.

Analyst firm Cahners In-Stat predicts the home networking market in the United States will grow to $1.4 billion by 2003, from $230 million this year.

Intel's new kit costs $79 for each PC card adapter and will be available at Best Buy, CompUSA, Office Depot, and other retail outlets. Intel has reduced the price of its original kit from $79 to $49. Both versions are compatible.