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Ericsson plans merger of wireless and IP systems

A test under way in Georgia provides businesses with their own mini local wireless networks

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Ericsson and US cellular provider Powertel are to run trials of a system that integrates cellular communications with IP networks, and that effectively gives businesses their own local and in-building cellular phone networks. GSM on Net, as the system is known, is intended to provide communications services over an integrated GSM-IP network. Local and global mobile services are intended to be integrated, and Ericsson suggests that future systems could have multimedia capabilities and access to advanced IP-based applications. The bandwidth currently available in GSM networks isn't great enough to support these, but it would saeem Ericsson is trying to build up some of the infrastructure and customer base for broadband 3G cellular systems. But today local, 'mini-GSM' networks owned by businesses could also use multiple channels to handle multimedia without it being necessary to pay vast amounts in call charges. The Ericsson-Powertel system, which is in West Point, Georgia, has already been tested, and will shortly be trialed over a WAN link. The system uses small base stations to provide local GSM coverage for office LANs. Users can have a single number for both local and global mobility, and Ericsson envisages them connecting via GSM phones, PC phones, multimedia terminals and fixed IP phones. ®

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