Wireless Web Digest: You Can Take It With You

In this installment of the Supersite's Web Digest, US regulators start to get serious about cell number portability, NTT DoCoMo makes a serious foray into GPS, Apple continues its serious investment in AirPort, and more.

Apple Releases Airport 3.0

Apple updated its AirPort software to version 3.0, which supports both AirPort Extreme and legacy AirPort products. There are two versions available: one for Mac OS X 10.1.5 and one for Mac OS X 10.2 and higher. AirPort 3.0 improves printing support, administration abilities, and options for extending the range of your wireless network, especially with AirPort Extreme.

Read the full story on: The Mac Observer

Phone Numbers Are Soon to Go Mobile Too

Starting in November, U.S. regulators will enforce a rule that requires wireless operators to offer "number portability," the ability to switch carriers without making consumers give up their telephone number. That means consumers will face less of an obstacle when moving to cheaper service plans or switching services if theyre not happy with their current provider, said David Heim, deputy editor of Consumer Reports magazine.

Read the full story on: Forbes.com

802.11b Chips Dip Below US$10, Sources Say

Quote prices for 802.11b MAC/baseband integrated single chips recently dipped below US$10, with one supplier asking for as little as $7-8, according to a DigiTimes report. Several Taiwan-based IC design houses began to price their 802.11b chips at the $10 level. These Taiwanese companies reportedly aim to ride the Centrino wave and quickly position themselves as 802.11b chip suppliers while leading WLAN chip providers, such as Agere Systems and Intersil, are branching into the development of 802.11g chips or 802.11a/b/g chipsets.

Read the full story on: DigiTimes

Military, CTIA Support Spectrum Bill

Legislation designed to create a spectrum relocation fund for federal agencies received the endorsement of the military, the administration and the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) Tuesday afternoon at a meeting of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. Sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R.-Mich.), the subcommittee chairman, H.R. 1320 seeks to help federal agency relocate to comparable wavelengths to make way for private wireless carriers advanced wireless service offerings to consumers. The government already has identified the 1710-1755 MHz band, mostly currently encumbered by the military, for relocation from the to the private sector. "This bipartisan bill represents a win-win-win," said Upton. "This is good news for the private sector, which craves certainty in the process, and the consumer who craves the benefits which new services enabled by additional spectrum will afford them. This is good news for government agencies who know that they will be made whole when they relocate to comparable spectrum, and good news for taxpayers who will not have to pay a dime to relocate government agencies and will know that there is tight fiscal oversight in this regard."

Read the full story on: InternetNews.com

SMC Networks Unveils New, Longer-Range Wireless PC Card

SMC Networks on Tuesday unveiled a new 802.11b PC card with longer-range capabilities. The SMC2532W-B 2.4GHz 802.11b High Power Wireless PC Card, the companys first product in its new EliteConnect High Power family, features transmit power of up to 200 milliwatts and operating range of up to 2,700 feet. That range can be increased by attaching an optional high-gain antenna to one of the two available MMCX connectors, according to the company. The card is scheduled for early April availability and is priced at $139.99.

Read the full story on: CRN

Finnsh Test Cell Phone System to Monitor Traffic

Finnish mobile operator Radiolinja Oy developed a software system that assigns cell phones entering a monitoring zone ID numbers and calculates the time required for the phones to pass measuring points, typically base stations, located a few miles apart, according to Hannu Turunen, who is responsible for telematic systems at the Helsinki operator. The software operates on GSM networks. "Speed is a function of time," Turunen said. "So if the phones were tracking require longer to cross between two points, we know there is congestion and can calculate the delay." The technology could also be used to monitor the flow of crowds at public events or the number of cars passing roadside billboards as a tool for advertisers. "We have a patent on the technology and hope not only to deploy it in Finland but also to sell it to other operators in Europe and beyond," said Turunen.

Read the full story on: IDG