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Round Up
July 2000

Wireless IP Appliances

There has been quite a stir about broadband connectivity during the past year, and DSL and cable have been especially emphasized as convenient, reasonably priced mechanisms to deliver broadband to the residential and SOHO markets. But wireless delivery of packetized information is slowly making a statement. From the Palm and PDA devices that are gaining prominence as they entrench themselves in the data networking market, to the new breed of cellular phones that can deliver e-mail, personalized information, and Internet access -- wireless technology is staking a claim as a viable solution for broadband access.

It only makes sense that the same devices that deliver analog voice over wireless networks will be able to handle packetized voice, and while wireless VoIP is not yet prevalent, the technology to enable converged voice communications is well underway. The following appliances, services, and technologies all have one common goal: Delivery of data over existing and emerging wireless networks. So perhaps you're searching for a mobile appliance that will enable unified communications, or maybe you're a developer with an amazing idea for delivering services to a wireless device. No matter which end of the spectrum you're coming from, wireless appliances offer a broad promise for convergence -- anywhere, at any time.
-- Laura Guevin

Wireless IP Appliances List

AllegrA Speechmarks MobileLogic.Phone
Mainbrace wireless web pad Nextel Online i-BURST
SiteMorfer 2.0 Altium Suite mPresence
BreezeACCESS for MMDS MessageASAP VoiceGenie System
pdQ smartphone iDini Wireless Data System LMS2000
Wireless Location Services suite NetVision Phone DPC Data Connection Kit
eConvergence Server Solutions ORINOCO iDEN
Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition WLAN Access Point A3 Financial Services Platform

EndWave Corporation (formerly Endgate)
321 Soquel Way
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

  • The AllegrA line of millimeterwave transceivers is geared toward broadband wireless Internet access. The product suite offers a frequency-independent architecture, enabling development of the next generation of point-to-point and point-to-multipoint radios. The three AllegrA products feature a complete millimeterwave deck, broadband IF Input/Output, power detection, and variable power output.
  • The decks come in 23 GHz, 26 GHz, and 38 GHz varieties, and are designed to meet FCC and ETSI requirements. Other features include provisions for an LO filter, low spurious and transmit mute features, and a single configuration for 21 to 40 GHz.

Mainbrace wireless web pad
Mainbrace Corporation
1136 West Evelyn Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

  • Part of the Mainbrace family of SmartBuild products, the wireless web pad runs Windows CE and offers a receiver that communicates with a companion 2.4 GHz receiver, which can be connected to a desktop PC. The device may be used for Web access, or as a remote terminal for the PC.
  • The product is based on Toshiba's TMPR3922 32-bit MIPS RISC single-chip solution, and offers an 800x600, 16-bit color TFT display and touch screen for navigation and data input. It also features 32 MB of flash ROM and 16 MB of SDRAM, and comes with a rechargeable NiMH battery as well as a backup battery.

SiteMorfer 2.0
NetMorf, Inc.
655 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116

  • SiteMorfer leverages existing e-business infrastructures to facilitate mobile commerce delivery to wireless phones and appliances. The technology sources directly from the back-end databases and applications used for e-business, and works well for online service providers, on corporate intranets, and for business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce sites.
  • The product supports XML, HTTP, RDBMS, and application and transaction servers, and also enables a combination of data elements from various sources into integrated pages. Data is formatted for delivery to various devices, and the SiteMorfer Designers allow developers to map new data sources and design displays.

BreezeCOM, Inc.
5858 Edison Place
Carlsbad, CA 92008

  • BreezeACCESS for Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Services (MMDS) offers service providers a flexible, scalable system for IP-based broadband wireless access to voice and data. Operating in the 2.5 to 2.7 GHz frequency bands, the product uses wireless, packet-switched data technology to support Internet access, virtual LANs, and a variety of VoIP services.
  • Featuring an integrated, plug-and-play indoor radio system, BreezeACCESS for MMDS offers quick deployment without antennas or intrusive equipment to deal with. Other features include a high burst rate, with up- and down-links of three Mbps, and a cell radius of up to five miles. BreezeACCESS also features radius billing, interference-free operation, and SNMP management.

pdQ smartphone
(formerly Qualcomm)
Kyocera International, Inc.
8611 Balboa Ave.
San Diego, CA 92123-1580

  • The smartphone offers CDMA digital wireless technology and includes an electronic organizer, all in one convenient handheld tool. The phone's tap 'n dial feature also allows users to place calls directly from their address books, to access the Internet, and to send and receive e-mail. Organizer features include the ability to run applications compatible with the Palm computing platform.
  • Phone features include clear voice quality, fewer dropped calls, reduced interference and static, and enhanced call privacy and security. The smartphone also features personal information management applications and a Hotsync feature for accessing information from a PC.

Wireless Location Services suite
1495 Canyon Blvd.
Boulder, CO 80302

  • This wireless product suite provides mission critical software that resides on the operator's network. The products may be scaled across various wireless networks, using a variety of standards. The local info service offers personalized, real-time information to mobile users in conjunction with their calling locations. Location sensitive billing features zone-based pricing, and integrates with existing billing and customer care systems.
  • Other products include Wireless 911/112 services, which route callers to emergency services. A tracking service tracks assets, people, and vehicles through a secure network with support for cellular calling. The products are driven by a location manager, which is the core operating system that interfaces with location determination technologies and wireless location services through a single interface. The suite also offers MAPS, an integrated provisioning system for location-based applications.

eConvergence Server Solutions
dynamicsoft, Inc.
72 Eagle Rock Ave., 1st Floor
East Hanover, NJ 07936

  • This product family is a ready-to-deploy solution suite based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), and led by the SIP Application Server 1.0 product. The suite offers developers scalable tools for developing and deploying enhanced services like Internet telephony -- combined with other session-based services. The suite links call control, routing management, subscriber management, and accounting/billing components.
  • The SIP Application Server features an open architecture for incorporating key APIs. It can work seamlessly with the eConvergence SIP Proxy Server 3.1, which provides essential routing functions and traffic load balancing. The SIP Location Server 2.0 offers subscriber registration and location, and works with the Proxy Server to create SIP-based networks. The SIP User Agent 4.0 offers management of basic session connection and can work with PCs, IP-PBXs, soft phones, gateways, and other network elements.

Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition
Sun MicroSystems, Inc.
901 San Antonio Rd.
Palo Alto, CA 94303

  • The Micro Edition of Sun's Java 2 Platform is aimed directly at the wireless market -- specifically for small devices limited in memory, processing power, and display capabilities. The platform allows software applications to run locally on a client device, so that new applications and software upgrades may be added at will. Client-generated graphics are also vector-driven for detailed viewing, as well as reduced network demand.
  • The platform offers the connected limited device configuration (CLDC), which is composed of the K Virtual Machine and core class libraries for use in cell phones, pagers, PDAs, and retail smart-card readers. The Mobile Information Device profile features APIs for user interfaces, storage, security, and messaging for cellular phones and pagers.

17311 Dallas Pkwy., Ste. 110
Dallas, TX 75248

  • The Speechmarks voice navigation technology enables speech-driven marking of Web sites using WAP. It offers an open architecture and works with off-the-shelf hardware for cost effectiveness and quick deployment of speech-driven applications. It is one of the many customized, speech-driven applications offered by wirenix.com.
  • The company also provides applications for wireless networks, Web sites, and ISPs like voice-enabled phone dialing, dictation, location-based information and directions, personalized information management, and e-mail and messaging. The company partners with Alliance Systems for hardware, Nuance Communications for its speech recognition engine, and Lernout & Hauspie for its text-to-speech engine.

Nextel Online
Nextel Communications, Inc.
2001 Edmund Halley Dr.
Reston, VA 20191

  • This wireless Internet service is being offered in more than 750 U.S. cities as a wireless business communication tool. The service integrates the Nextel wireless "plus" series phones (manufactured by Motorola) with Internet service, the Nextel Direct Connect digital two-way radio service, digital cellular service, and text/numeric paging.
  • The company has also partnered with Phone.com for use of its UP.Link Server and UP.Browser microbrowser for packetized voice and data service and unlimited access to online content and commerce. Customers may also create their own Web portals, and may synchronize their phone lists, private IDs, and group lists from any PC or their phone, using the List Manager.

Altium Suite
DMC Stratex Networks
170 Rose Orchard Way
San Jose, CA 95134

  • This line of broadband radios is geared toward wireless access networks, and offers up to 155 Mbps (OC-3/STM-1) of connectivity for fiber-level transport capacity -- using only 28 MHz of bandwidth. The radios meet North American and international standards, and are available in frequency bands of six to 38 GHz. They are suitable for all types of networks, and are geared toward high density networks that allow extension through synchronous broadband radio.
  • The products are offered for SDH broadband applications, as well as PDH trunking applications. The PDH solution offers improved spectrum efficiency and software upgradeable system capacity. The whole family of radios may be easily upgraded to an SDH/SONET architecture, and they are also compatible with DMC's network management system. The suite features network alarm and performance management features, as well as built-in isolation and diagnostics.

OfficeDomain, Inc.
504 Lavaca St., Ste. 1150
Austin, TX 78701

  • A software product geared toward business professionals, MessageASAP uses an existing PC for integrating e-mail, faxes, and voice-mail messages into one central location for accessing messages from any PC with an Internet connection. The software features an alerting mechanism, so users can be notified by pager or cellular phone when a message has arrived.
  • Features include the ability to retrieve all messages at the same time, and to forward fax messages to another fax number via phone. Users can also consolidate several e-mail accounts to reduce the number of mailboxes that need to be checked. Co-workers may also share messages through the software.

iDini Wireless Data System
1346 Ridder Park Dr.
San Jose, CA 95131

  • This service allows wireless operators to enter the data services market and offer users enhanced services from a desktop PC as well as entertainment and enterprise applications. The Mobile Desktop Service lets users view, edit, fax, and e-mail files in Word, Excel, PostScript, PowerPoint, HTML, PDF, and text formats.
  • The system enables applications like paging, fax, e-mail, and messaging, as well as games and multimedia applications. Other features include multi-platform support for mobile phones, PDAs, and other wireless devices, and a patented service routing technology that scales to handle millions of users.

NetVision Phone
Symbol Technologies, Inc.
One Symbol Plaza
Holtsville, NY 11742-1300

  • The NetVision Phone allows voice communication to be added to Symbol's Spectrum24 wireless LAN installations for voice and data transport over one wireless backbone. The phone offers on-site wireless voice communication, as well as integration with an existing phone system through a gateway for internal and external voice communication.
  • The phone is based on the H.323 standard for VoIP, and converts analog signals to compressed digital packets that are sent over data networks via the TCP/IP protocol. The phone features a number of methods for dialing and receiving calls, and users may conduct two concurrent conversations with the hold feature. It also features an intercom mode, and has a range of more than 1,000 feet.

Lucent Technologies
600 Mountain Ave.
Murray Hill, NJ 07974

  • This high-speed wireless Internet access and networking system is built on Lucent's WaveLAN wireless LAN system, and is geared toward home networking products and high-speed, secure Internet access in public locations like universities, offices, and airports. Systems use an ORINOCO PC radio card, which provides wireless networking capability. The system also uses access points that act as base stations for wireless users, and offer high-speed Internet connectivity.
  • The system is based on the IEEE 802.11 standard, and offers speeds of up to 11 Mbps over the unlicensed 2.4 GHz spectrum, over ranges up to 1,200 feet. The PC card can fit into nearly any laptop or mobile computing device, and works with three kinds of access points based on users' needs. The RG-1000 Residential Gateway access point is geared towards homes and offices, and offers wireless Internet access. The WavePOINT II access point is a fit for enterprises and campuses, and offers security and roaming features. The AS-1000 public area access server offers secure high-speed Internet access, as well as full authentication and billing capabilities.

WLAN Access Point A3
Ericsson Wireless LAN Distribution
Stockholm, Sweden SE-16481

  • This compact unit may be installed on a ceiling or wall, and acts as the transparent heart of the wireless LAN. It covers a range of up to 600 meters in open space, and up to three Mbps in the air. When combined in a coverage area, several units can handle data transfer rates of up to 17 Mbps.
  • The unit does not require an operational license, as it uses the unregulated 2.4 GHz ISM band and can coexist with other wireless networks, while providing reliable interference avoidance. It is also IEEE 802.11 compliant, and works with the WLAN Guard and the Card C3 for a flexible security solution.

MobileLogic, Inc.
3025 S. Parker Rd. #1000
Aurora, CO 80014

  • This service allows subscribers to access e-mail through AT&T's PocketNet phone (the Mitsubishi MobileAccess T250 handset), extending the reach of MobileLogic's Wireless VPN. Users can also access their primary Microsoft Exchange inboxes, and they may send and receive messages, as well as delete online messages.
  • The MobileLogic.Phone interface is meant to complement MobileLogic's technology on a notebook, and requires Microsoft Exchange Version 5.x or any other IMAP4-based e-mail server. Although the technology is designed to be used with PocketNet, any Phone.com-compatible handset may be used.

2480 N. First St., Ste. 200
San Jose, CA 95131-1014

  • This personal broadband access system enables high-speed wireless Internet connectivity for laptops, PDAs, and other Internet appliances. It offers more than one Mbps of wireless bandwidth per user, and as much as 40 Mbps total at a single location. The system allows any service or application provider to develop personalized services.
  • i-BURST is based on ArrayComm's IntelliCell adaptive smart antenna spatial processing technology. It uses as little as 5 MHz of unpaired spectrum, and is designed to outperform cellular solutions by more than 400 times. A 10 MHz deployment should deliver 40 Mbps of data throughput per cell.

77 South Bedford St.
Burlington, MA 01803

  • This unified communications suite enables wireless providers and telcos to rapidly offer end-user services in the mobile Internet space. The hosted solution allows fast deployment of secure messaging services, and is based on the iPulse product developed by OZ.COM and Ericsson. It also enables VoIP services, a global directory, integrated billing, and commerce services over the Internet, as well as fixed and mobile networks.
  • The suite lets end users manage and maximize their accessibility to other users through intelligent routing across telco and data networks. It also lets users participate in secure communications through PCs, PDAs, pagers, mobile phones, and telephones.

VoiceGenie System
VoiceGenie Technologies
1120 Finch Ave. West, 8th Fl.
Toronto, ON Canada M3J3H7

  • This integrated voice and data delivery system is made up of the VoiceGenie Telephony Server, which includes the VoiceGenie engine, the VoiceGenie content server, which hosts applications, and the VoiceGenie Browser. Applications like customer care, self provisioning, and electronic billing may be accessed from any wireline or wireless telephony client.
  • The system features voice activated dialing (VAD+) for access to a personal assistant directory through Web-enabled hot sync. It enables voice accessible e-commerce and V-Commerce transaction services (from Nuance). The Voice Portal+, based on VoiceXML, lets subscribers use any phone to access Web sites and navigate via voice. Service providers may also create new access channels to their own Web content using the technology.

WaveRider Communications, Inc.
255 Consumers Rd., Ste. 500
Toronto, ON Canada M2J1R4

  • This system solution is a layer 3 end user modem that offers wireless ISPs high-speed throughput and high availability as well as subscriber and equipment management, enhanced security, and billing support. The solution is geared toward medium and large businesses that need medium to high-speed throughput, and also features advanced billing support and maintenance features like real-time alarms.
  • The solution also lets network operators verify operation and configuration of network modules on a scheduled or on-demand basis, and features automatic redundant failover of key components for maximum system availability. It also features environmentally hardened cabinets to house key components. The system features may be rolled out from a central location in a controlled manner. It operates in the 2.4 to 2.485 license-exempt frequency band, and can process data at 11 Mbps with access at speeds of up to seven Mbps.

DPC Data Connection Kit
Socket Communications, Inc.
37400 Central Court
Newark, CA 94560

  • The Digital Phone Card (DPC) Data Connection Kit allows any Windows-based mobile computer to use a mobile phone for instant Web browsing, wireless e-mail, remote networking, and group scheduling -- through an easy plug-and-play format. The kit offers a CompactFlash-size plug-in card, a PC card adapter, a cable for connecting a mobile phone, and setup software and bonus utilities.
  • The DPC will operate at the same speed as the wireless network used by the phone handset, and can go faster without any hardware modifications, as faster wireless networks are created. The card can also be used in the CompactFlash slot of any Windows-based PDA, notebook, or pen tablet. The kit also includes an adapter that enables the card to be used in the PC card slot of any handheld PC or notebook, as well as the Apple PowerBook.

Motorola, Inc.
1303 E. Algonquin Rd.
Schaumburg, IL 60196

  • This digital technology gives users access to full-duplex phone conversations, data transmission, short message service, and dispatch radio over one network, using one access device. It divides a channel into different slots, each of which carries one voice or data transmission. This allows service providers to increase their capacity as much as six times over their current analog SMR network using time division multiple access (TDMA).
  • The technology also uses vector sum excited linear prediction (VSELP) to digitally code and compress voice signals, and quad amplitude modulation (QAM) to achieve data rates of 64 Kbps over a 25 KHz channel. With the iDEN technology, a 25 KHz channel may be divided up to six times, offering dispatch, data, interconnect phone, and text messaging in one communications package.

Financial Services Platform
724 Solutions, Inc.
4101 Yonge St., Ste. 702
Toronto, ON Canada M2P1N6

  • Using an open architecture and industry standards, the Financial Services Platform enables financial institutions to offer personal and secure online banking, brokerage, and e-commerce services through various Internet-enabled wireless and consumer electronic devices. The platform is also extendable across an array of protocols, networks, and operating systems to enable personalized transactions, services, and information.
  • The platform is made up of a network and device gateway for access to a variety of Internet devices and networks. The services infrastructure enables consumer applications like e-commerce and online banking, and a transaction and content gateway connects to the financial institution's existing infrastructure through a server using the Open Financial Exchange (OFX) or Extensible Markup Language (XML) standards. And a security layer, compatible with existing security technology, offers a secure communication and payment process for consumers.

[ return to the July 2000 table of contents ]

13 Easy Steps To Wireless Communications Knowledge


Part of our jobs as TMC Labs' staff is to keep up with the latest e-technologies, from CRM to TAPI, processor chips to ZIP drives. Following our intuition about what will be the next big thing, we carved a niche as the resident experts on all things small office/home office (SOHO), which has evolved into all things mobile. So, when the INTERNET TELEPHONY´┐Ż editors came to the lab seeking a sidebar article to demystify wireless jargon, we volunteered faster than you can beam a Chinese take-out menu over infrared. Regardless of your job function, if you learn the 13 definitions below, you'll be a hit at the CEO's next cocktail party. (Please note that these technologies, terms, and organizations are listed in a logical order of construction, as opposed to the arbitrary alphabetical method.)

1. Connected Devices: The buzzword referring to the next generation of network nodes. Today, a connected device can be a PC or laptop PC, a Web-enabled mobile telephone, a Palm VII, the GPS system in your rental car, or an Internet appliance (like the ones I've gathered here). Tomorrow, a connected device might be your refrigerator, car, home entertainment system, copy machine, oven, ATM kiosk, or eyeglasses. According to companies like Microsoft, many of these devices will have operating systems and local storage; but according to Larry Ellison and Oracle, they'll all be function-specific clients to the Internet. It seems obvious to us that the paradigms will coexist for the immediate future.

2, 3, 4. CDMA, TDMA, GSM: These are the "Big Three" competing protocols for direct wireless Internet access. CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access -- it uses a "spread-spectrum" method, where each channel uses the whole spectrum, and individual conversations are encoded. TDMA stands for Time Division Multiple Access -- it works by dividing a radio frequency into time slots and then allocating slots to multiple calls. Meanwhile, GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications -- in Europe and Asia, it is the leading digital cellular technology, and it uses a narrowband version of TDMA. CDMA is the current American standard, but GSM is the superior technology, and most experts believe that it will soon become the worldwide standard.

5. W3C: W3C is the official nickname of the World Wide Web Consortium. Tim Berners-Lee, the British physicist who invented the Web, founded the W3C in late 1994. The group works with other groups, like the ITU, to develop new Web standards and to encourage interoperability, and they oversee the evolution of the massive Standard Generalized Markup Language, from which all other markup languages are born. Interestingly, the W3C is currently doing some telephony-related work, such as the Mobile Access project, the Voice Browser project, and the Web Accessibility Initiative. The W3C's American home is at MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science.

6. XML: With a <p> and </p> straddling your message, browsers can do more than simply spit out text. That's a common problem with HTML: Despite four major upgrades and support for numerous programming languages, it's still a product of the SGML that's been too dummied-down to be successful as the interactive medium beyond Y2K. So, the W3C approved eXtensible Markup Language (XML), which is a way to create new HTML-like markup languages -- called "applications" -- that are customized for the needs of an industry or organization. By authoring more precise markup languages, fellow developers can better understand your site, and browser software can take advanced action on its content. Also, XML is intended to produce browser-generic applications, so the same version of your site will work on a PC, a connected device, over a telephone, etc. Some examples of applications made with XML are MathML, for formatting mathematical explanations; SMIL, for showing online multimedia presentations; and XHTML, for next-generation Web design. But XML applications are also being developed for CRM, e-commerce, information portals, ERP, mobile communications (see WML, below), and even voice! See the "XML Catalog" link at XML.org for more information.

7. WAP: Regardless of whether your connected device uses CDMA, TDMA, GSM, or some other protocol, Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) will probably be its method of communicating with other software on the Internet. WAP features a security layer -- Wireless Transport Layer Security (WTLS), transaction layer -- Wireless Transaction Protocol (WTP), session layer -- Wireless Session Protocol (WSP), and application layer -- Wireless Application Environment (WAE). Of course, other than the occasional antenna or satellite, the primary physical layer is the atmosphere. There is also a WAP API called the Wireless Telephony Application (WTA, see the discussion in the WAP white paper).

8. WML: Software for WAP devices (primarily mobile telephones and PDAs) will be written with an XML application (see above) called the Wireless Markup Language and its cousin, WMLScript. WML pages are called "cards," and WML browsers are normally called "minibrowsers" or "microbrowsers." An excellent non-commercial FAQ is available at www.wap.colorline.no/wap-faq.

9. WAP Forum: As exciting as WAP and WML are, both technologies are far from becoming a part of the mainstream. The WAP Forum is a trade organization working toward that goal. They already have several hundred member companies, plus formal relationships with the W3C, the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI), the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and the European Computer Manufacturers' Association (ECMA). Visit them at www.wapforum.org.

10. HDML: The Handheld Device Markup Language is an interim XML application that is commonly used until WML becomes more ubiquitous. It was developed by Phone.com, which was then known as Unwired Planet. Phone.com lets anybody use HDML royalty-free; both AT&T and Sprint PCS currently use it for their "Wireless Web" services. Although HDML sites should provide the simplest possible migration path to WML, a common (but false) statement is that HDML is simply the old name for WML.

11, 12, 13. Bluetooth, Jini, Universal Plug-and-Play: These are the leading (and somewhat competing) technologies for next-generation dynamic networking. Each slightly overlaps the other, and each has unique advantages for on-the-fly connections from device-to-device and device-to-network. Bluetooth uses short-range radio signals. It was co-founded by 3Com, Ericsson, IBM, Lucent, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, and Toshiba. Jini, pronounced as "genie," comes from Sun and is based on Java technology. It is embedded into devices to automatically register them with a network. Because it is network-independent, it can work with Bluetooth, and it can work on wired networks as well. Universal Plug-and-Play is the Microsoft answer to both technologies; visit the UPNP site.

[ return to the July 2000 table of contents ]

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