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Comms chips

Meru Touts FMC Ambitions

A fixed/mobile convergence trial in Sweden is just the beginning of enterprise wireless startup Meru Networks Inc.'s convergence ambitions (see Meru & Optical Demonstrate FMC).

The firm says its permanent deployment in Kista with local operator OptiMobile AB is the first of its kind in Europe. "The intent of this demo is to show a dual-mode implementation in action and serve as a showcase to push forward dual-mode deployments," says Ben Gibson, VP of marketing. "We were selected as the sole WLAN infrastructure because of how we handle voice QOS and seamless handoff using our single-channel implementation. In this case, OptiMobile is handling the GSM to WiFi handoff." (See Updates on Parade.)

"We've been very active with FMC projects around the world, particularly in Japan, Scandinavia, and more recently in the U.S.," Gibson continues. "Sweden, considered a very forward thinking and acting wireless country, is looking aggressively at dual-mode deployments." "The perfect example, where we have several deals, is the construction industry. Companies are looking to provide dual-mode handsets -- WiFi at the building sites and cellular outside. The clear benefit is one-number access and consolidated voice costs for companies."

Gibson reckons the FMC market is starting to heat up now. "I think 2006 is when we'll see a move beyond early adopters."

Certainly, the elements required for convergence are falling into place. Just this week, Atheros Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ATHR) and Conexant Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CNXT) announced new WLAN chips aimed at the convergence market (see Convergence Chips Coming).

And there are already a bevy of established players looking at moving calls between fixed, cellular, and wireless LAN networks (see The Convergence Contenders).

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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