The Motorola CN620 dual-mode phone is a “”good start”” for users wanting to roam between cellular and 802.11 networks, but vendors should find some way of making these devices work at public Wi-Fi hotspots, a Canadian research analyst says.
“”It has good potential to make employees more productive
when they’re on the road,”” said Ronald Gruia, enterprise communications program leader with the Toronto office of Frost & Sullivan. “”The missing glue to make it more appealing is for the service provider to go in and say, ‘Hey — let’s offer a bundled plan to offer X amount of minutes on our 3G network and Y minutes, at a cheaper rate, on a Wi-Fi hotspot.'””
The CN620 will be resold later this year by Avaya Inc., which is now offering its W310 wireless local-area networking (WLAN) gateway and W110 WLAN access points in Canada to organizations wanting voice over IP (VoIP) over WLANs (VoWLANs) using the IEEE 802.11 standards.
The CN620 works both on 802.11 WLANs and on carrier networks that use the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard.
Users outside of the range of 802.11 access points would make calls on a carrier’s GSM network, while users within the range of the access points could use the phone as if it were an internal extension.
The Motorola handset is designed to roam automatically from the cellular network to the 802.11 network, so that users walking into a building won’t have to hang up and then switch over to wireless LAN mode, said Mack Leathurby, Avaya’s marketing director for technical alliances.
Instead, the phone will detect Wi-Fi access points, call them while the user is talking on the cellular network, and then switch over to the Wi-Fi network, Leathurby said.
Leathurby said the W310 gateway will work with about 75 per cent of access points from Avaya and Proxim Corp., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based equipment manufacturer which, along with Motorola, participated in developing the seamless roaming offering.
Leathurby added Avaya has an interoperability program, which will enable VoWLAN phone users to roam among access points manufactured by other vendors, including Trapeze, Aruba and Meru, but only the Avaya products will allow roaming to GSM networks.
The lack of complete interoperability will be a bone of contention with some potential customers, Frost & Sullivan analyst Wai-Sing Lee said.
“”I think that there is a market for handsets that will be able to roam between cellular and WLAN networks but I don’t believe that customers would want to necessarily be locked in to one equipment provider or one particular standard,”” Lee stated in an e-mail responding to questions from Communications & Networking.
Pricing for the CN620 has not been announced.