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New Card Promises High-Speed Wireless Networking

Sierra Wireless today announced that is has signed a distribution and supply agreement with Wireless WebConnect! to offer the AirCard 400 for the Ricochet 128 kbps network (“AirCard 400 for Ricochet”). Commercial shipments of the AirCard 400 to Wireless WebConnect! are expected to commence in the first quarter of 2001.

Sierra Wireless’ AirCard 400 is the first wide-area “Always On” wireless network interface card (NIC) for the Ricochet high-speed mobile access service, providing users with reliable high-speed wireless access to e-mail, enterprise networks, corporate applications and the Internet. The AirCard 400 for Ricochet can be used with laptops, Internet appliances and Pocket PCs with a PCMCIA Type II slot. The AirCard 400 for Ricochet works at the speed of an ISDN line, which is three times faster than a dial-up connection. Connecting to the Ricochet network allows users to connect to a corporate network or the Internet wirelessly and without the need for a cellular phone.

“As a long-standing Ricochet Authorized Service Provider, Wireless WebConnect! has the experience and expertise to effectively reach new markets for the AirCard 400,” said Jason Cohenour, senior vice president, distribution for Sierra Wireless. “We are excited to see the AirCard 400 added to Wireless WebConnect’s portfolio of wireless solutions and look forward to working with them to deliver advanced, ‘always-on’ wireless connectivity to mobile professionals.”

Wireless WebConnect’s customers benefit from the company’s long-standing experience with Ricochet through its five-year relationship with Metricom, the company behind Ricochet. Originally involved with the initial launch of the Ricochet 28.8 service as a reseller in 1995, Wireless WebConnect was selected as the exclusive provider to support the original generation Ricochet customers and was signed as an authorized service provider for the new Ricochet 128 kbps service.

“As the fastest wireless solution on the market since 1995, Ricochet continually sets the bar for mobile access,” said Deac Finn, Chief Executive Officer, Wireless WebConnect!. “The AirCard 400 and Ricochet are anchor products in our portfolio and we are excited to be offering our customers the latest in reliable, high-speed service.”

“The combination of Wireless WebConnect’s experience supporting Ricochet and Sierra Wireless’ track record delivering top-notch wireless products will service Ricochet WebConnect customers well with a total mobile solution,.” said John Wernke, senior vice president of marketing and sales, Metricom. “This partnership will extend Wireless WebConnect’s options for mobile professionals and let their users simply slip the AirCard 400 for Ricochet into their laptops and remain connected to information on the go with high-speed always on performance.”

The AirCard 400 for Ricochet is outfitted with a small antenna that exchanges data with Ricochet micro cell radios mounted on city streetlight and utility poles. As part of the Ricochet network, these “poletop” radios communicate with each other and local wired access points using a meshed frequency-hopping network architecture, which is interconnected to a wired local network and the national Internet backbone. In this way, customers can stay connected to data anywhere in coverage areas, without being tied to a wall jack, even while moving at speeds up to 70 miles an hour.

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