Making It Work Together

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2006-05-03

Wi-Fi to Cellular Convergence to Ship Soon

LAS VEGAS—Wireless mobility provider Trapeze Networks has teamed with DaVitas Networks, a new provider of mobility software and appliances, to deliver the ability for handset users to roam freely between Wi-Fi and cellular networks without interrupting a call.

DaVitas will deliver handset software and an appliance for enterprise networks.

Together with the Trapeze Mobility System Software and the companys new LAN Mobility Exchange switches, companies will be able to give users the ability to communicate using VOIP (voice over IP) over internal wireless data networks.

When the need arises to move outside of the enterprise coverage area, the Trapeze-DaVitas products will allow the user to roam between network types without interrupting a call.

"Were using WMM [wireless multimedia] with the 802.11e standard," said Trapeze CTO Dan Simone.

According to Simone, this allows the Trapeze solution to be interoperable with offerings from other manufacturers because they can use compatible approaches to QoS (quality of service).

"DaVitas brings the handoff capability for the handset," Simone said.

He said that this code includes software that runs on the phone and on an appliance installed on the enterprise network.

"Were carrier-agnostic," Simone said, adding that the convergence capability should work regardless of what type of cell phone a company decides to use.

Read more here about Trapezes outdoor access point.

While a number of companies have demonstrated handsets that can use either Wi-Fi or cellular technology, Trapeze said that this is the first that can move freely between these different systems.

Simone said that the hardware for the convergence is already shipping, and that handsets with this capability should be available within a few weeks.

"This is one of the first working fixed mobile convergence devices," said analyst Joel Conover, who is research director for Current Analysis.

"Trapeze has reached out very early to partner with DaVitas," Conover said.

He added that this will give them field experience that other companies dont have.

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Making It Work Together

Conover said that while some companies have tried to make use of existing WLAN products to create a voice-capable wireless handset, Trapeze and DaVitas were the first to actually make it work.

"No one has worked on optimizing it," he said, adding that Wi-Fi products arent normally designed to handle stations that are in motion.

"You need to make a lot of changes to do this," Conover said, adding that Trapeze has also optimized its own mobility software to support this capability.

Conover said that he thinks that Nokia and Symbol Technologies will be among the first handset manufacturers to make phones that can work with the Trapeze-DaVitas products.

He said that the converged communications devices should work with any SIP-capable PBX.

He said that currently the handset code will work with Windows Mobile and Symbian phones, and will be working with Linux based devices very soon.

In a related move, hardware vendor D-Link is extending the companys current relationship with Trapeze to deliver a new wireless switch capability for its xStack 3200 series switches.

These data center layer-2 devices can now be upgraded to support wireless switching.

This will allow companies to have up to 720 ports of 10/100/1000 Ethernet that will support fast-roaming, automatic failover for failed access points, and to detect rogue access points.

The new software for the 3200 series switches will be available within two weeks, according to systems engineer Chris White, who was involved with the design of the new switch feature.

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