In technology news, NEC says it has succeeded in the development of a mobile router that enables seamless broadband communication from high-speed mobile vehicles such as train and cars through the employment of wireless LAN and a third-generation (3G) cellular network. The company hopes to use the research to develop projects that allow uninterrupted voice and data communication even on high-speed moving objects.
In product news, it's been a slow month. Among the few notable announcements, Peak Technologies has announced a new radiofrequency identification (RFID) product and services suite, called Peak Compliance, that lets consumer goods manufacturers and distributors to quickly meet retailers' RFID compliance requirements. The suite's three modules are Peak Compliance Express, Peak Compliance Mobile, and Peak Compliance Gateway. Each module includes software, hardware, lab services, professional services, and support to generate and manage Electronic Product Code (EPC) RFID tags in a standalone environment or integrated into an existing database or business system. Peak also provides EPC-compliant RFID tags that meet customers' specific requirements.
Also, Wireless Valley plans to introduce a new capacity- and traffic-planning capabilities for its EnterprisePlanner and LANPlanner wireless network design products. The new design capabilities will let users predict and plan their wireless networks based on the environment, the number of users and even the applications they will be using, the company says.
In other product news:
In hot-spot news, Citizens Wireless will deploy Flaron's Flash-OFDM technology in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Radford, Va., to business and residential consumers, state universities, and local public safety and security organizations. Flash-ODFM is similar to the forthcoming WiMax technology in that it permits hot zones that can extend for several city blocks to many miles, depending on the topography and building density.
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Ovum: Nokia's Commitment Could Boost Mobile WiMax Devices
Intel and Nokia have announced that they will collaborate on several areas in support of mobile WiMax technology, based on the IEEE 802.16e standard, including mobile clients, network infrastructure and market development. Intel already collaborates in the 802.16e domain with leading telecom vendors Alcatel, LG Electronics, and ZTE. Julien Grivolas, an analyst at the telecommunications research firm Ovum, comments, "Nokia has a tumultuous relationship with WiMax. Nokia was a founding member of the WiMax Forum but decided to leave the organization in May 2004, only to return a month later. The industry was understandably confused regarding the Finnish company's WiMax strategy, but this partnership with Intel demonstrates Nokia's willingness to integrate mobile WiMax solutions into its radio-access technology portfolio. Nokia considers WiMax as a complement to its 3G offering and a step towards next-generation 3G mobile technologies that will use several techniques such as OFDM and smart-antenna technologies already used in 802.16e. The companies will collaborate to accelerate development of the IEEE 802.16e standard, which mobile WiMax will be based on. The idea is to avoid the delays experienced with the fixed version of WiMax, based on the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard, and from which the industry is still waiting for certified products."
Grivolas says it's easy to imagine that Nokia is thinking about integrating mobile WiMax into its mobile handsets in the future — if that were true, the addition of Nokia to Intel's mobile WiMax ecosystem would be "very important for the WiMax industry from an end-user device perspective, because it could bring Nokia's expertise and market leadership to the WiMax cause. Together with the integration of 802.16e chip sets into laptops, the integration of WiMax directly into handsets is a key driver for mobile WiMax adoption," he says. For example, in South Korea, SK Telecom plans to launch its WiBro services in 2006 with a dual-mode WiBro/CDMA2000 1XRTT handset.
ABI: Voice over Wi-Fi Is the Wave of the Future
Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) got a boost recently as BellSouth announced a trial of a converged system in the enterprise environment of Grey Worldwide's Atlanta, Georgia office in the U.S.
Not long afterwards, British Telecom launched its Bluephone service that, while it uses Bluetooth rather than 802.11 for its local connection, is seen by ABI Research senior analyst Philip Solis as BT's interim step towards VoWi-Fi. The British communications giant has recently announced its decision to become an all-IP operator, and, says Solis, "the Bluephone is their precursor to a fully Voice-over-Wi-Fi solution that would have a much better range than the Bluetooth radio installed in most mobile handsets."
Back in the U.S., SBC has stated that it will start to roll out VoWi-Fi to consumers by 2007. Many dual-mode (cellular and VoWi-Fi) handsets exist already, Solis adds, and more are set to come out within the next year. Solis believes VoWi-Fi is the wave of the future. "Cellular coverage is far from ideal indoors," he points out. "Most people would greatly prefer to have one phone that works just as well in the depths of a large building as it does outdoors. Moreover, it's a cheaper way for carriers to transmit calls, and it provides natural synergies and extra revenue opportunities where there are linkages joining wireless and wireline companies such as SBC and Cingular. So it's a tool for bundling that also provides cheaper services to consumers."
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