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Moto's Symbolic Convergence

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)'s planned $3.9 billion acquisition of Symbol Technologies Inc. (NYSE: SBL) will give the firm more pieces to help it complete the enterprise fixed/mobile convergence puzzle.

The world's second largest cellphone maker is already working on dualmode handsets to allow end-users to switch between WiFi and cellular networks. Anthony Bartolo, vice president and general manager of Symbol's wireless infrastructure and RFID divisions, says the firm's upcoming WiNG architecture, which will control and manage WLAN, RFID, and cellular deployments in the enterprise, could be the basis for fixed/mobile convergence services.

"We abstract the RF layer," he says, noting that Symbol already has ruggedized devices that work over 802.11 and cellular.

The WiNG system was in fact one of the elements that attracted Motorola to Symbol in the first place. "We've seen a lot of user interest," Bartolo says. "We didn't realize it was going to attract a suitor out of the woodwork as well."

Analysts are also anticipating developments on the FMC side from Motorola and Symbol. "This is the hot area, in my opinion -- dualmode WiFi with SIP-based applications," says Ellen Daley at Forrester Research Inc.

Ken Dulaney at Gartner Inc. is looking further out. "Maybe the real attack comes in a few years as Moto tries to leverage its partnership with Microsoft to create a new type of PBX using all cellphones."

Symbol has been working with startup DiVitas Networks Inc. on business FMC systems. It will be interesting to see how, or if, the relationship develops, since Motorola's archrival Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is also working with DiVitas.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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