Nomadix Inc. has a new version of its Network Service Engine software, which includes features designed for mobile operators: enhanced roaming, session rate limiting and media access control filtering, ability to fail over to another gateway, duration-based billing support, and better network management. The company is working with Cometa Networks Inc., a WLAN services wholesaler formed by several companies, including AT&T Corp., IBM and Intel Corp. Target customers include individual venues such as hotels and coffee shops as well as carriers that want to deploy the services themselves.Proxim Inc. is working with Verizon Communications Inc. to turn Verizons existing pay phones into WLAN hot spots. There are about 150 "hot" phone booths in Manhattan, and the company plans to branch out into other parts of the country by the end of the year, said Proxim officials, in Sunnyvale, Calif. For its part, RadioFrame Networks Inc. plans to add General Packet Radio Service access points to its repertoire later this year, said officials at the Bellevue, Wash., company. The company makes in-building solutions that bridge 802.11 with Nextel Communications Inc.s Integrated Enhanced Digital Network. Companies that have always focused solely on WLAN components will continue to do so, with the caveat that WLAN is not just about data anymore, especially now that voice network operators want it. "Now were working on making sure the wireless LAN infrastructure supports voice," said Rick Bahr, vice president of engineering at wireless chip-set maker Atheros Communications Inc., also in Sunnyvale. The IEEE is working on a new standard in the WLAN alphabet; the 802.11e protocol is designed for quality of service, which will address the issue of voice over WLAN. It is developing slowly, though, primarily because the data community and the multimedia community have different ideas of how WLAN traffic should be organized, Bahr said.
"You dont want to have to go to McDonalds every time you need wireless access," said Kurt Bauer, senior vice president of field operations at Nomadix, in Westlake Village, Calif.