How-To: Setting Up Wireless Presentation Systems

If your offices are full of projectors and wires, it may be time for a clean-up job. We give you the lowdown on how to build a wireless presentation system and a rundown on the tools you'll need.

The wireless presentation systems on the market are dominated by offerings from projector vendors. By simply adding a wireless card or Ethernet connection to their standalone projectors, suppliers like InFocus, Epson and NEC can make their products wireless. Their add-on solutions include wireless access cards for the projector and software applications for the presenter's machine. The software acts as a desktop mirroring program by sending a screenshot to the projector at regular intervals.

As wireless presentation systems gain traction, SOHO vendors like Linksys and D-Link have begun to offer vendor-neutral produtcs designed to work with wired projectors. These special-purpose AP-like devices interface directly with the projector's VGA port and are compatible with almost any projector system. They use client screen transmission software applications to transmit screen images from presenter to projector, much like the products offered by the projector vendors.

There also are software packages for distance learning and online meetings. Similar to Microsoft Netmeeting and WebEx Meeting Center, Elluminate Live was developed for e-learning and collaboration. But it also includes a valuable feature called application sharing: By sharing a specific application such as Microsoft PowerPoint or the whole desktop, the presenter can share his screen with everyone in the Elluminate session. You can add a projector by connecting a dedicated computer to each projector installation, so that presenters are not required to be in the same room physically but can share their displays from anywhere on the network.

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