Until this year if you wanted an wireless dog fence, the only game in town was the PetSafe IF-300. Using traditional radio wave technology, the IF-300 creates a containment radius of up to 90 feet giving it a coverage of 0.5 acres. The IF-300 works well and gets good reviews from our customers, but the range limits its usefulness. After all the most common use for wireless systems, with their circular containment area is rural properties where a 90 foot range is simplify too small.
Perimeter Technologies is introducing in April 2009 a WiFi Fence, a wireless containment system based on the WiFi technology that is used in the wireless internet routers that are in most people's homes. This has two significant advantages, range and the ability for two way communication. It also has one significant disadvantage, power usage.
The WiFi dog fence claims a containment radius range of 200 feet giving it a containment area of over 2.5 acres, a major improvement over the IF-300. Although, we would love to see something even larger, using occasional WiMax which has a reported range over a mile. WiFi still gives a large enough coverage area for your dogs to get some real space.
The WiFi fence also has two-way communication between the collar and the base station, telling the owner immediately how far the dog has wandered. I also gives you instant alerts if the dog challenges the boundary, if the battery is running low, or if the link between the collar and base station is lost. This alert is really useful and we hope it finds greater adoption, since particularly in the early days of the training you are constantly worrying about if the dog has escaped.
The downside is that WiFi is notoriously power hungry, so we are concerned that this will result in poor battery life. The collar for the WiFi dog fence is not rechargeable, and is reasonably proprietary so we hope that Perimeter has this problem solved because the feature set should make this the new leader in wireless dog containment.