Lucent claims to have completed a successful demonstration of Wi-Fi to UMTS handoff. It passed a secure internet session between the two networks using its own UMTS infrastructure, Proxim WLAN equipment and software from ipUnplugged. The capabilities were tested using a laptop PC with UMTS telephony capabilities and a PC Card WLAN modem.
“Lucent is strongly focused on giving UMTS network operators the end-to-end solutions they need to offer attractive new services to business customers,” said Bruce Dale, vice-president for UMTS product and offer realization for Lucent’s Mobility Solutions Group. “This achievement will serve to enhance a mobile worker’s wireless experience by giving them continuous access to the information they need using the fastest technology available in any given location.”
The test raises the prospect of users being able to take advantage of high speed hotspot connections while maintaining seamless connectivity outside WLAN coverage areas.
When many operators around the world are still struggling to get UMTS networks to maintain calls between base stations, this is no small achievement. It is becoming clear that mobile network operators are well positioned to provide hotspot broadband services as part of an integrated wide area offering. Technology such as this will be important in three or four years time when many markets will have 90% UMTS coverage and large installed bases of Wi-Fi users.
PMN sees 3G and WLAN as complimentary technologies. Long-term, there will almost certainly be convergence towards a single IP infrastructure for voice and data (4G?), but currently UMTS and Wi-Fi are suited to very different environments. As an integrated product, they will make a compelling service offering for the business customer.
Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.