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Networking firm taps electrical lines

Efficient Networks, a division of Siemens, announces three products designed to let consumers use their home electrical lines to create a computer network.

Efficient Networks, a division of Siemens, has announced three products designed to let consumers use their home electrical lines to create a computer network.

The new products plug directly into wall outlets, support a data transfer rate of 14 megabits per second and offer 56-bit DES encryption. Two of the products, the SpeedStream Powerline USB adapter and the SpeedStream Powerline Ethernet adapter, will hook PCs and other products up to existing home networks.

The SpeedStream Powerline 802.11b Access Point is designed to enhance wireless networks in areas where signal strength is weak.

The three products all adhere to the Homeplug standard, supported by companies including Cisco Systems, Intel, RadioShack, Motorola and Hewlett-Packard. That standard uses a home's internal electrical network to link electronic devices.

Dallas-based Efficient Networks said the new products will be available in the fourth quarter. The USB and Ethernet adapters will be $99, and the wireless access point will be $129.