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BT Uses Tatara for Bluephone

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Light Reading
3/14/2005
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NEW ORLEANS -- Tatara Systems Inc., a developer of converged mobile service solutions for communications service providers, today announced that its SIM Authentication technology through its Tatara Mobile Services Convergence Platform has been selected by British Telecom to form part of a ground-breaking voice-over-WLAN trial in the United Kingdom.

The trial aims to test the technological viability of enabling business users and private individuals to switch automatically between WLAN and GSM networks for voice calls.

Trial participants will be issued with HP iPAQ 6340 personal digital assistant (PDA) devices, enabled for WLAN and GSM voice connectivity. Initially the trial restricts Wi-Fi access to Adastral Park only but ultimately users will be able to make voice calls over WLAN networks at the office, at home, or at a public hotspot. When out of range of a WLAN network, the user will make voice calls over the standard GSM network.

The Tatara Subscriber Gateway and the Tatara Service Manager Software Developers Kit (SDK), elements of the Tatara Mobile Services Convergence Platform, form a key part of the technology infrastructure that BT is deploying to enable the trial. The Tatara Subscriber Gateway, already installed at BT’s Adastral Park R&D labs at Martlesham Heath, UK, enables trial participants to automatically identify themselves securely to both WLAN and GSM networks through a single subscriber identity module (SIM) card installed within the iPac. The connection between the PDA and the Tatara Subscriber Gateway is enabled using Tatara’s SDK, which is installed on the iPaq device.

Tatara's Mobile Services Convergence Platform helps give BT the ability to offer a converged voice service with a seamlessly handoff from BT’s partner GSM network to WLAN networks with the same high level of real-time control on WLAN networks as they have on their GSM network. For the SIM authentication portion of the trial, the Tatara Mobile Services Convergence Platform uses a unique two-stage authentication process for secure EAP-SIM authentication over both 802.1x and HTTP -based WLAN networks. In addition, the Tatara product provides a strong level of customer care, including network diagnostics, performance monitoring, and billing system mediation. These features ensure high network availability and correct billing – using a single bill – for the services used.

The market will start to see considerable uptake of voice-over-WLAN in 2007, according to industry analyst firm Meta Group. Tatara believes that services will begin to roll-out in earnest in early 2006, and users will be attracted by the ability to make free or low-cost calls over an IP network while on the move.

“Initial uptake will be among businesses keen to reduce their communications costs,” said Steve Nicolle, chief executive officer of Tatara Systems. “But the proliferation of public WLAN hotspots and home wireless networks, combined with the emergence of dual-mode (WLAN and GSM) handsets, is likely to spur uptake among consumers as well.”

Tatara Systems Inc.

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