Feeds

Cellphones will sport Wi-Fi, say industry execs

Carriers want to drive mobile data business

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

Will Wi-Fi prove to be a key technology integrated into future cellphones? Panellists speaking yesterday at the annual Telecosm conference in Squaw Valley, California believe so.

"I believe Wi-Fi will become a standard component of cellphones in the future," said Sky Dayton, CEO of Wi-Fi network provider Boingo Wireless, according to a Comms Design report.

However, Dayton's vision will only be realised if mobile phone network operators decide that Wi-Fi has a role to play alongside cellular technology within the handset. The two technologies certainly offer value to data customers, allowing providers to offer high-speed Internet access at fixed locations, from which users can roam into slower but more widespread 2.5G or 3G coverage.

That's US telco SBC's plan, for instance. Earlier this month, it said it plans to build a 20,000-node network of Wi-Fi hot-spots tied into the 3G network offered by its Cingular subsidiary.

But Wi-Fi in the handset? There's a benefit for data-based applications, such as video streaming, where the higher bandwidth offered by Wi-Fi could yield better playback quality, provided users find themselves in range of a hot-spot.

Such an idea does now appear to be attracting the interest of cellular network providers. "I've seen a market shift in my discussions with carriers in the last 18 months," said Intel president Paul Otellini. "They have moved from saying, 'heck no,' to seriously considering it."

And not just for data traffic. "I was in the lobby of this conference center today making a voice over IP call over Wi-Fi," said Otellini. "This is happening a whole lot faster than most people thought."

Representatives from US handset maker Qualcomm were less enthusiastic, however. While the carriers will start the ball rolling, it may not happen as quickly as the other panelists expect. "Basically, we are just waiting for the carriers to ask us to put it in the chip sets," said Qualcomm executive VP Paul Jacobs. "I think we'll see the demand for it eventually."

Spurring that demand will be a desire to use Wi-Fi to take some data traffic off the cellular network to improve the network performance for business customers.

But fellow Qualcomm VP Jeff Belk warned that such a move must be backed up by better hot-spot infrastructure. To achieve Wi-Fi's full bandwidth potential, it can't be limited by the slower speed of the DSL connections used to hook many WLAN base-stations to the Internet, he said. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore
Fresh round of network stats fisticuffs possibly on the cards here
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?