The idea of cellular and Wi-Fi complementing each other got a boost last month when Motorola, Wi-Fi equipment maker Proxim and Avaya announced a partnership to make phones that roam seamlessly between the two types of network.
Under the deal, Motorola will make the phones, Proxim will supply the access points and Avaya will provide the switches and software. The handsets will contain joint 802.11/cellular radios and will be handover-capable, Avaya’s MultiVantage software providing the handover capability at the network end.
IP telephony will play a part in the voice side of the equation, with Avaya providing capability to utilise the emerging SIP (session initiation protocol), which builds on HTTP and other established protocols to create and maintain sessions between IP telephony users.
The first port of call for the project, to become commercially available next year, is the private corporate wireless LAN space, but Motorola wireless LAN business development director Bo Pyskir told Computerworld’s US sister publication InfoWorld that “our vision is to connect the various spaces; that is public hot spots, private in the enterprise and personal in the home”.
Wi-Fi is a notorious user of battery power, but Motorola claims to have designed handsets that provide the same battery life as those on cellular networks. The handsets will offer both 802.11a/b and 802.11a/g compatibility.
Nortel Networks announced in December that it was working on technology to enable its telco customers to offer seamless linking between wireless LANs and cellular networks.
For both Nortel and the Motorola/Avaya/Proxim project, integrating charges for the two services into one bill is an issue.