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People who use bar-code scanners for identifying stock in warehouses would likely have a way to dump the inventory information automatically into a server somewhere so that it could be incorporated into a database. But just as likely they'd rather not buy some special-purpose device to make that happen.

That's just one classification of people who might be interested in a nifty-sounding device called the PowerLink, from Wireless Mountain Labs. The device will hook up with any digital device that has an RS-232 port and transmit info to a base station with in 500 feet, according to reports from the company. The base station can connect to any PC or similar computer.

The device has its own power supply, so it won't drain batteries in portable bar-code scanners. Yet it is supposed to be as small as a paper-clip holder, so it won't weigh anybody down. Wireless Mountain says that, "A major World Wide Parcel shipper has completed their engineering evaluation of the PowerLink wireless product," and that it met or exceeded expectations. Crosstalk was minimal and interference from the usual suspects in an industrial environment was negligible. Such claims would have to be verified with your own testing, of course.

This was last published in December 2000

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