Trio Tackles Wireless Roaming

Motorola, Avaya and Proxim to collaborate on devices and supporting software and hardware for wireless roaming.

Motorola Inc., Avaya Inc. and Proxim Corp. on Tuesday announced plans to collaborate on devices and supporting software and hardware that can roam between cell phone networks and wireless LANs without interruption.

The idea is that business travelers could take advantage of public WLAN "hot spots" and then continue a connection on the way back to the office.

The concept of roaming between networks is not new. Nokia Corp., for example, provides PC Cards that support both 802.11b "Wi-Fi" WLANs and GSM (global system for mobile communications) wide area networks. But Mondays announcement targets all the major hurdles of wireless roaming.

Avaya is building the network management software, Motorola is building phones that include the ability to go between WLANS and WANs, and Proxim is building voice-enabled WLAN access points as well as management systems that facilitate hand-offs between access points.

The companies plan trials of the joint solution later this year, with commercial availability expected by the beginning of next year, according to officials at all three companies.