We at TidBITS have a fondness for interesting ways of connecting computers together, which accounts for a number of past articles on networking with radio waves and electric lines. Now it seems that even Apple is getting in on this. The Apple Complex Systems group is working on a program called MacKDT which can perform normal telecommunications actions over a radio-frequency modem made by Motorola. Motorola already has a line of hand-held wireless terminals that use the radio-frequency modem. The Motorola terminals and the Mac will communicate with other machines over the ARDIS (Advanced Radio Data Information Service) networkthe administrators of which requested that Apple develop MacKDT.
ARDIS will supposedly go online in early April, although we have heard nothing about it since then, and will operate at 4800 bits per second (bps) at first. Later, ARDIS plans to increase speeds up to 19200 bits per second (roughly equivalent to baud). Even 19200 bps isn’t that fast considering that AppleTalk runs at about 230,000 bps, but 19200 bps is comparable in speed to standard modems.
The really interesting bit is that the article claims that Apple is investigating ways of incorporating the RF modem into the Macintosh hardware, particularly that of the Mac Portable. The only drawback would be that ARDIS may be the only provider of service, though it is imaginable that they could provide a gateway to standard telephone lines.
ARDIS — 708/913-1215
Macworld — Jun-90, pg. 107