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Five Technologies That Won't Survive 2007

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
12/29/2006

We used to love them, but its all over now. Unstrung reveals the one-time wireless treasures that will get trashed in 2007.

WiFi Handsets: Handheld VOIP phones that use 802.11 as a transport have helped to kickstart the idea that companies could employ mobile voice services over wireless LAN in a corporate setting. With the coming of dual-mode 802.11-cellular handsets, however, Unstrung believes that WiFi-only phones are living on borrowed time. Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) all have -- or are working on -- dual-mode devices. We expect these will start to become more important in the enterprise market in the second half of the year. (See FMC: $3.7B by 2009?)

IMS: Despite the fact that we picked fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) as a hot technology for next year, it seems less and less likely that carriers will achieve such convergence through IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). For one thing, even though other major vendors still support the IMS standard, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s lukewarm support for the specification and phasing out of its main related product line cannot be good news for overall take-up in the industry. The complexity of deploying IMS across networks also lends weight to the idea of operators using unlicensed mobile technology (UMA) or other technologies to initially deploy FMC services, as they, in fact, already are. (See Cisco Kills Initial IMS Platform and The Year of Calling Convergedly.) Fixed WiMax: Even as it arrived on the market in 2006, fixed WiMax technology was already being overshadowed by its mobile sibling. Operators such as Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) have said that they plan to start to deploy mobile WiMax networks in 2007. The South Korean version, WiBro, is already up and running in that market. Fixed WiMax still has some utility as a T1 replacement for businesses and as a cable/DSL alternative in rural and emerging markets. It is clear, however, that many of the major vendors and operators are leap-frogging fixed in favor of mobile. (See WiMax: The Real Deal.)

802.11g: The 802.11g wireless LAN standard has been a huge market driver for WiFi over the last few years. We suspect, however, that the stalwart specification will see less love in 2007 as it gets increasingly superseded by pre-802.11n products in the consumer market. Especially if, as now seems likely, 802.11n gets ratified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) in the summertime. (See Enterprise WLAN Market Up 19%.) Standalone Enterprise Access Points: The standalone access point has had its day in the workplace. By this time next year, you are highly unlikely to find an access point that isn't being managed by some kind of controller in all but the smallest or oldest WiFi deployments. Even if corporations do implement some high-capacity APs to deal with voice and other multimedia traffic. All the sales reports from 2006 show that this trend has already begun; it will accelerate in 2007. (See Insider Outlines WLAN Challenge.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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