MaxStream announces XBee, the 40-mile range ZigBee bridge

Ah, Zigbee, that funnily-named wireless mesh network that has investors excited with thoughts of people controlling all sorts of things from all sorts of locations with Bluetooth-like two-way communication. MaxStream, the company already all over the whole 40 mile wireless thing, announced the XBee Xtender, promising to extend ZigBee and 802.15.4 networks up to 40 miles. Damn right we said miles. The XBee comes in an aluminum casing with dipole antennas and runs at the 900 MHz 1-Watt XTend frequency. This is pretty big news seeing as how ZigBee networks are designed to be so low-power, yet this little modem uses a powerful band at such a long distance; as for low cost (which is usually the words ZigBee proponents follow the low-power tagline), the XBee is set to start at $399. For 40 miles though, that's, what, just under $10 a mile?

[Thanks, Vernon J]