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Avantrex Communications offers wireless consulting services in the United States, including cellular telephone, paging, business wireless networks for anytime-anywhere access to data, and seamless integration of wireless with connected desktop computing.  Note that paging services from some vendors are in decline owing to the increasing popularity of cellular telephone and wireless internet services, thus careful consideration of a paging vendor is required.

Before committing to any wireless vendor, get the big picture and what options are available to you and your company.  The situation is complex, dynamic, and unfolding daily.

For details call 877-418-6264.

Present-generation wireless networks on the leading edge (2+G) provide average speeds of 20-50 kbps (average; max 75-144 kpbs).  At present, the number of mobile data users is more than 120 million in the United States.  This number will continue to grow and will eventually overtake fixed phone use; at present the penetration rate is about 40 percent.

The stimulus for companies to adopt wireless networks is the demand for remote access to core data maintained on desktop systems, and the demand for desktop applications in the field.  In short, IT strategists want true web computing and ubiquitous connectivity.  Company segments advancing such demands include sales [sales force automation (SFA)], field platoons [field force management (FFM)], strategic planning [enterprise resource planning (ERP)] and mobile office applications.

Fulfilling these demands with wireless networks reduces the vertical separation between management levels (in some cases eliminating mid-levels), putting upper management in touch with all company levels directly.  Another effect is horizontal incorporation of messaging, emails and PIM tools throughout a company, making them available to all employees in the field, not just those at the desktop.

Thus IT departments now seek full vertical and horizontal integration via extensive networks built on combinations of wireless and connected networks.  Careful planning for the installation or upgrade of wireless networks is obviously of prime importance for maintaining structures and operations at the cutting edge, which can improve corporate function and profitability in a highly competitive environment.

Next-generation (3G) wireless data networks will, with few exceptions (e.g., Nextel's iDEN -- Integrated Digital Enhanced Network), be built on two competing formats -- GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) or CDMA protocols.  Transfer speeds are rising, and prices are falling.  The two networks have different protocols and hardware, meaning users must choose one or the other.  Companies are rolling out limited service capability in late 2003.  The older CDPD network is being maintained for the present by Verizon, but phased out by AT&T Wireless.

Top mobile communications companies using GPRS include AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile USA, and Cingular.  Those using CDMA include Sprint PCS and Verizon Wireless.  Nextel has not yet announced any decision about its existing iDEN network, which still is attractive for being an always-on, digital, all-packet, nationwide network.  Platforms are based on Microsoft, PalmSource, and Symbian.  Nokia provides a variety of CDMA handsets, along with Motorola PCS, Samsung, LG (Korea), Sony-Ericsson, and Sierra Wireless.

Cellphones and networks originally built for voice are increasingly used for data.  New and transformed networks for the new generation (2.5G and 3G) are based on GSM-GPRS or CDMA (1xRTT and other modes) technology.  Wi-fi (802.11) LAN technology, that provides cyber-orbit speeds up to 54 Mbps, was earlier seen as a competitor, but is now being merged and viewed as a complement.  Bluetooth (for printing, headsets and multimedia) is another popular technology waiting to be integrated.

The need is to modify networks so that where Wi-fi hotspots are available they are utilized, and elsewhere the lower speed GPRS or CDMA technology is exploited.  Ultimately the user wants the best of both worlds -- Wi-fi (802.11) LAN networks that are interfunctional with WANs and cell networks.  For the network providers, the strategy making this possible is called embrace and extend.

Semiconductor companies are working to produce chipsets that do it all.  The company to beat is Texas Instruments, which is advancing its WANDA prototype device, "Wireless Any Network Digital Assistant."  In design it integrates wireless LAN, Bluetooth, and GMS-GPRS.

Once handoff issues between networks are settled, which may take some time, popularity of WANDA-like devices should take off like a rocket.  Consumers will have internet access anywhere, with photo-emails and homestyle computing in their pockets.  Corporate employees and small business staff will be free to discard a lot of the traditional distinction between field and office.

Satisfaction will depend on smooth operational functionality and high speed, as well as reasonable price.  This next generation (3G) should meet the FCC definition --

· 144 kbps or higher, in high mobility (vehicular) traffic.
· 384 kbps for pedestrian traffic.
· 2 Mbps or higher for indoor traffic.

The indoor-2Mbps standard suggests that the office will always be there, but the high speeds in the field mean that workers will stay away from the office more and more.

For the moment, however, users must make choices among less satisfactory alternatives.  Use of 3G networks means buying perhaps hundreds of new devices or new network cards.  Coverage maps are still spotty -- therefore, users must plan for offline function.  Also, limited IP addresses require dynamic addressing, while some users (main governmental, security, and health users) require static addresses.  Additional issues for the user to consider include data security, network interoperability, and network performance and optimization.

Improvements in each area of concern are being achieved by intense effort in the wireless industry.   Nevertheless, users must pay careful attention to current developments, and carefully match needs with available systems, to be satisfied in both cost and performance.