Ongoing Activities on VoWiFi

BridgePort Networks Inc., would let individual consumers roam freely between cellular and Wi-Fi networks and bridges the two protocols by means of what might be thought of as a very clever hack. It relies on the way that a cellular phone tied to one home network, say, T-Mobile's, can roam onto another network, say, Cingular's.

A high-powered consortium consisting of
Motorola Inc., Avaya Inc., and Proxim Corp. Last year, Motorola, in Schaumburg, Ill., made a proof-of-concept dual-system cell-phone, the CN620, designed for workplaces. This year, Motorola's partners completed the package: Avaya, in Basking Ridge, N.J., with a software enhancement to one of its corporate telephony offerings, Communication Manager; and Proxim, in Sunnyvale, Calif., with the gateway server. One of the most important aspects to the integration involved power management. The Motorola phone's Wi-Fi radio remains asleep almost all the time; the system wakes it only when necessary.

IBM Corp., VeriSign Inc. and Airespace Inc.
want to foster roaming between cell phone systems and IP (Internet Protocol) networks so calls to a user's cell phone number can come to a wired or wireless VOIP (voice over IP) phone instead. And with dual-mode cell/Wi-Fi phones a subscriber could just carry one phone and simply switch modes when in range of a Wi-Fi network. The three companies became the first members of an alliance program that mobile VOIP vendor BridgePort Networks Inc. formed to help carriers quickly deploy such services. The companies gathered at this week's Global Convergence Summit in Chicago, a show initiated by BridgePort. The alliance, called MobileIGNITE (Mobile Integrated Go-to-Market Network IP Telephony Experience), will conduct interoperability testing and aim to help deliver end-to-end systems to carriers, said Mike Mulica, president and chief executive officer of BridgePort.

And other companies like
Cisco, SpectraLink, Hitachi, Samsung, and etc. Standards are in place for voice transport over IP (RTP) and interoperable call setup and handoff protocols (H.323, SIP, Skinny, Megaco). IP gateways to corporate PBXs are fairly common, and true IP-PBXs (where both data and voice switching as well as transport is via IP) are just starting to appear on the scene.

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