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Unstrung's Five Technologies Doomed in '07

Dan Jones

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 We suspect, however, that the stalwart specification will see less love in 2007 as it gets increasingly superseded by pre-802.11n products in the consumer market.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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12/5/2012 | 3:17:21 PM
re: Unstrung's Five Technologies Doomed in '07
The Unstrung list:
With the coming of dual-mode 802.11-cellular handsets, however, Unstrung believes that WiFi-only phones are living on borrowed time.

...until you consider the expected battery life of a cellular telephone. Dual mode might be OK on a PDA but it's not particularly useful on an ultra-small cell phone. The best you can do is use positioning information to only enable WiFi in particular places with troublesome cellular reception (your home, your office...). Most of us have no interest in lugging around a Zach Morris phone with a 1 kg lithium battery. I'd be shocked if FMC ever saw better than a 10% take rate. Personally, I wouldn't take it if it were free.

I think WiFi phones have a long and useful life in the residential and small business space. Once you QoS-enable the phone and the home wireless router, it gives access to all those $29.95/year all you can eat services. It will also be offered by MSOs as a cordless phone option for their premium product. The MTA vendors all have some flavor of this product. MOT, Arris, SA/Linksys all have one and it's only a matter of time before the MSOs start deploying the technology.

For one, even though other major vendors still support the IMS standard, Cisco Systems'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.

Cisco never had an IMS product. They are culturally opposed to any walled garden architecture and fought it tooth and nail until November 2005 when they magically announced that their DynamicSoft products were "IMS". After the service providers got done laughing at the Cisco suits and their nonsense PowerPoint decks, Cisco retrenched. With their infinite resources, it wouldn't surprise me to see Cisco re-enter the space.

The real promise of IMS is the unified back office. The common database architecture will eventually provide for some pretty big operational savings. The only problem is that back office software always lags everything else so it may be many years before IMS can be deployed on a large scale.

Fixed WiMax

I guess I don't see much difference between the 2004 and 2005 versions of 802.16. You can deploy fixed services on the 2004 spec today. The 2005 spec is probably 2 years away from having product mature enough to get beyond lab trials. Fixed WiMAX is not going to die as an application though all product shipped 2 years from now will be on the newer standard.


In 2007? Nope. In 2010? Sure. It takes 3 years for all of our notebook computers to go obsolete. Microsoft is doing their best to hurry it along but XP is likely to be pretty dominant for the next 3 years. Besides.... we all have broadband connections that are much slower than 802.11g. Upgrading to a faster wireless LAN standard is like putting headers and a 3" exhaust pipe on a Yugo. It's still not going to go any faster.
12/5/2012 | 3:17:20 PM
re: Unstrung's Five Technologies Doomed in '07
The new WiMAX Feature sets offered over Fixed PTMP and PTP will be very strong in 2007.
Note, I mentioned WiMAX Features:
What will happen here is some of the Wireless (Radio) vendors like Airspan & Trango, will offer radio's with most WiMAX features over their (unlicensed)5Ghz series , 900Mhz and future (Licensed)3.65Ghz and 700Mhz systems.
The costs here will be very competitive and create a problem for the Clearwire and Sprint licensed WiMAX (2.5Ghz) deploying Mobile services-especially in 2009 when the 700Mhz spectrum based radios/networks comes on line.

The Wireless Service providers will deploy a combination of these new WiMAX like feature radios (PTMP/PTP) and Wireless Mesh systems to cover large geographies with true broadband services.

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