Est. Street Price:
$185 Desktop Pac
$210 Combo Pac
$100 single PCI
$100 single ISA
$130 single PCMCIA
Each network card has a built-in transmitter/receiver, and the system operates on the 2.4GHz frequency. This is well above the range of normal 900MHz phones, but it remains to be seen what affect, if any, the new 2.4GHz phones may have on a Homefree network.
Diamond claims that the network has a 150ft range, but doesn't specify if this range is "outdoor" (open air, no obstacles) or "indoor" (enclosed space, many obstacles). Either way, the range should be sufficient for most households.
Please note that Diamond has a new "HomeFree Phoneline" product, which connects your computers through your existing phone network. That's a completely separate product from the HomeFree Wireless, so make sure you pick up the right one.
File and Printer Sharing
You can share files and printers on the Homefree network just like with traditional LANs. This is actually one of the features you may find yourself using the most out of any networked environment (after all, how many hours a day can you play anyway?), as it makes sneakernet completely obsolete. Files of virtually any size can be zapped across the network from the comfort of your keyboard.
Diamond claims that "Homefree's high transfer rate delivers the performance that today's interactive games demand for fast-moving, edge-of-your-seat action." This is probably the big draw of the HomeFree kit - effortless networked gaming without the need to consult a huge web guide!
Reliable & Secure Home Networking
The system randomly switches frequencies to secure the network, and all Homefree networks are unique; a foreign Homefree system won't be able to invade your network. This is a great feature, and I'm glad Diamond didn't overlook it.
Homefree includes WinNAT software from RouterWare that allows you to share a 56k modem, cable modem, or DSL Internet connection across the entire network. I commend Diamond for including such a sophisticated feature in a basic networking setup kit.