The Toronto Police Department will be the first to use IBM's upgraded Everyplace Wireless Gateway.

IBM on Monday unveiled an updated version of its Everyplace Wireless Gateway that will let handheld devices roam between wireless LANs and cellular carriers wide area wireless networks.

Officers in the Toronto Police Department will be the first to use the new gateway, which will let them file reports remotely. When they are parked close to a Wi-Fi WLAN, the gateway will use Wi-Fi technology but when out of Wi-Fi range, the gateway will switch them automatically to the cellular network. EWG will support both cellular and packet-switched wide-area networks, officials said.

Torontos eCOPS program will roll out later this year.

The EWG supports several authentication and encryption schemes. Customers can choose among DES, Triple DES, RC5 and AES, said officials at IBM in Armonk, NY.

The eCOPS project is indicative of a recent industry push to bridge Wi-Fi and wide area networks. Companies such as Hewlett Packard Co. and Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. have acknowledged discussing such hybrid services with several wireless carriers.

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