Sprint Beefs Up PCS Data Link Features

Sprint will expand its Sprint PCS Data Link wireless data service for business users.

Sprint Corp. next month will expand its Sprint PCS Data Link wireless data service for business users.

Sprint PCS Data Link gives businesses a frame relay or network-based VPN connection to their networks. It allows mobile workers with a Sprint PCS Connection Card and compatible laptop to access corporate applications.

Among the new features in Sprint PCS Data Link are more flexible IP addressing options, such as support for static IP addresses. Sprint previously offered only dynamically assigned public IP addresses, which was problematic for enterprises that require static IP addresses.

"Its been demanded by us, and we just now built the capability because we had to do some enhancements in the network," said Randy Lundin, group manager for Sprint, in Overland Park, Kan. "A lot of government agencies and different agencies require static IP addresses because [they add] a level of security."

Sprint is also now offering businesses hosted user authentication services. Businesses can access user information through Web-based tools.

Also new in Sprint PCS Data Link is a deployment option targeted at retail shops, banks and restaurants that process credit cards or use ATMs. With Sprint PCS Data Link for wireless WAN, businesses using a Sprint-certified CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) modem can provide primary connectivity for fixed locations and portable devices or provide a backup for wire-line access. Sprint officials said this offers businesses an affordable option to traditional land-line data services and more flexibility in turning on new stores or supporting temporary facilities. The service is priced based on monthly traffic usage, and Sprint provides a 90-day trial for businesses to determine their usage needs.

Earlier this month, Sprint started turning on its high-speed data EvDO (Evolution Data Optimized) service in a handful of airports and business areas, with plans to extend service to 60 metropolitan areas by early next year. Sprint says its high-speed network offers data download speeds that range from 400K bps to 700K bps. For now, Sprint supplies only EvDO cards for laptops, but it plans to offer EvDO handsets next quarter.

Also last week, Sprint said it would acquire its mobile phone affiliate, US Unwired, for $1.3 billion. The acquisition would squelch US Unwireds attempts to block Sprints merger with Nextel Communications Inc. US Unwired had claimed the Nextel merger would violate its affiliate contract with Sprint because Nextel operates in some of the same territories as US Unwired.


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