August 19, 2003
Nextel Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NXTL) has today finally confirmed that it will use RadioFrame Networks Inc.'s dualmode wide- and local-area wireless networking system to offer its corporate customers base 802.11 access in their offices.
Of course it's old news to us. Unstrung exclusively revealed that Nextel was planning this wireless LAN move in October last year! (See Radioframe's Euro Duality.) RadioFrame has been working with Nextel for three years providing a box that improves the indoor coverage of Nextel's iDEN cell phone network. Adding wireless LAN access to this system requires Nextel to plug 802.11b (11-Mbit/s over 2.4GHz) radios and signal amplifiers into the existing cellular chassis.
The move could also start to lay the foundations for the carrier to introduce voice-over-WLAN handsets. Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), the company that developed iDEN and the sole supplier of Nextel's handsets, has already said it is working on cell phone designs that can handle both cellular and voice-over-IP calls on a wireless LAN network (see Motorola Plots WLAN VOIP Move).
However, most analysts and industry watchers say there are a number of technical problems with voice-over-wireless LAN that need to be addressed before such systems become widely used in the enterprise (see Is 802.11 Ready for VOIP? for more on this).
A spokesperson for RadioFrame says that the company is still developing the similar GSM/WLAN indoor coverage system it first demonstrated in February (see RadioFrame Demos GSM/WLAN).
— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung
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