There's nothing quite like watching one manufacturer attempt to outdo another, only to watch them both fall short unsuspectingly when a third wheel steps in and ups the ante. While ZigBee and One-Net certainly have their applications, AIRcable is hoping to conquer their respective territories while adding an additional dash of wireless connectivity. Designed for "wireless sensor interface, mesh networking and data logging applications with an RS-232 port interface," the Industrial XR sports autonomous, programmable operation, a rugged outdoor enclosure, a Li-ion cell with solar panel recharger, real-time clock / temperature sensor, and a Bluetooth transmitter capable of broadcasting signals "150 meters" with the built-in 3dBi antenna. The real fun happens, however, when you strap in an (optional) 24dBi parabolic rod, which extends the range of this simplistic looking box to a whopping "28 miles." The company also notes that a cluster of units can be networked together to convey Bluetooth data logging information across a bevy of channels, all securely and automatically. So if you've got bigger jobs on the docket than simple in-home automation hookups, or just want to handle things from the next town over, you can pick up the Industrial XR now for $299.

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AIRcable offers up 28-mile Bluetooth range extender