Enterprise wireless network administrators looking for a handle on the management of expanding, mixed-platform systems will see improved efforts from wireless operators and hardware makers at this weeks CTIA Wireless conference.
Sprint Corp. will roll out a new offering called Extended Workplace, which gives business users a single-sign-on software client for CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), WLAN (wireless LAN) and dial-up remote access options on their laptops. A Web-based portal allows administrators to enforce access and security policies, said officials at Sprint, in Overland Park, Kan.
Sprint also will announce availability of its Managed Mobility Services, which provide over-the-air software upgrades, security, and billing and asset management.
"Once youre tethered to a device, you need to get it swapped out quickly, without a loss of productivity," said John Chillock, vice president of customer service operations for Imagistics International Inc., a printer and copier reseller in Trumbull, Conn. Imagistics recently migrated its mobile work force from PalmOne Inc.s Treo 300 models to the newer Treo 650s. "A VAR wouldnt have been able to handle that as quickly," Chillock said.
Sprint will announce new wireless data SLAs (service-level agreements), which provide performance metrics based on dropped or blocked sessions and network availability.
Cingular Wireless LLC will unveil at the New Orleans show a consolidated billing plan that gives users unlimited access to data on their laptops over either Cingulars high-speed EDGE (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution) network or some 4,000 Wi-Fi hot spots accessible through the Atlanta-based companys agreements with various Wi-Fi carriers. Sybase Inc. subsidiary iAnywhere Solutions Inc. will announce that it has extended its remote management and synchronization software for the EDGE network, said sources close to the Dublin, Calif., company.
Hardware companies are readying products that support roaming between local and wide-area wireless networks.
Royal Philips Electronics NV, of Amsterdam, Netherlands, will introduce a reference design for a phone that can automatically switch from 802.11g Wi-Fi to cellular networks as soon as it strays out of Wi-Fi range. Based on software from Kineto Wireless Inc., the design adheres to the UMA (Unlimited Mobile Access) protocol. Officials at Philips declined to name licensees but said they are seeing interest in roaming capabilities from both hardware licensees and, lately, carriers.
Wi-Fi access point manufacturers are taking an interest in Wi-Fi/cellular convergence, too. "I believe a combination of those technologies is the best way to go," said Steven Joe, CEO of D-Link Systems Inc., in Fountain Valley, Calif. "I would say that integrating technology into handsets is a likely direction for us."