The most obvious current signal of this combo platter future is Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s plan to buy Wi-Fi provider BelAir Networks Inc. The vendor intends to site Wi-Fi radios with its cellular base stations to deliver better Wi-Fi connectivity for smartphone users.
That's by no means the only example of more advanced integration plans out there right now though:
- Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) is putting Wi-Fi on the same chip as its Atom processor -- under the code name Rosepoint -- in a move that will likely help to make smaller and more efficient mobile devices.
- Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)'s latest cut of its Gobi processor, meanwhile, supports both twin-channel (FDD) and single-channel (TDD) LTE as well as HSPA+ and CDMA EV-DO 3G.
- ip.access Ltd. and TE Connectivity (NYSE: TEL) have combined a small cell with its own distributed antenna array (DAS). This comes the week after ip.access revealed a combo LTE and 3G small cell.
- Ruckus Wireless Inc. plans to announce its foray into all-in-one 3G/4G/Wi-Fi small cells at next week's show.
I suspect we will see a lot more integration talk at Mobile World Congress. Although of course, talking about multi-modal wireless is a lot easier than delivering it. We should be looking at how well users can hand off and authenticate as these multi-headed networks become more commonplace.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile