Saturday, December 1, 2001

Wirelessly connect to your LAN with SeriaLynx


By Steve Niles

Lynx System Developers (at has recently introduced a new product called SeriaLynx. It's a communication device designed to provide an interface between Serial Data communication devices and Ethernet networks. SeriaLynx communicates over Ethernet using standard 10baseT or 802.11b wireless networking. It's only fitting that this exciting new device should be named PalmPower's Enterprise Edition Product of the Month in this special wireless issue.

You can find SeriaLynx at The device is pictured in Figure A.


Connect your Palm handheld to your LAN with SeriaLynx. (click for larger image)

SeriaLynx allows you to access a LAN (Local Area Network) either by using your existing Ethernet cabling or by using SeriaLynx's built-in wireless capability. First you must install the VCPD (Virtual Com Port Driver) software on the computer and assign your SeriaLynx unit an IP (Internet Protocol) address. Then you can connect the unit to your network via the built-in RJ45 (Registered Jack-45) port.

Range is a major issue when discussing wireless connectivity to a LAN. Kevin McGill at Lynx System Developers told me about a recent experiment they performed in order to test this aspect of SeriaLynx.

Kevin and some Lynx tech guys went out to Tufts University to see from how far away SeriaLynx could be used to work a scoreboard. The ORiNOCO AP-500 access point (at was located in the press box in Tufts' stadium. They tried the experiment with two antennae: one small antenna and one larger antenna, built using HyperLink Technologies' HyperGain HG2412P antenna kit (at

Kevin loaded his Palm handheld with Lynx System Developers' own FieldLynx application and ventured out onto the field to see how far away he could get while still operating the access point.

With the small antenna in place, he discovered that he was capable of going anywhere on the field, or about 350 to 400 feet from the access point, and still communicate wirelessly using SeriaLynx and his Palm handheld.

When they used the HyperGain antenna, Kevin was stunned at the performance. He wasn't able to measure the exact distance, but he was able to walk out of the stadium and down the street. Despite obstacles like wind, trees, cars, a metal fence, people, etc., the signal never faltered. He estimated he was about 1000 feet from the access point when it started to rain, so he walked back.

Judging by the results of this experiment, SeriaLynx sounds like a powerful solution for wirelessly connecting your Palm handheld to your LAN. See for yourself. Check out for more information.