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MobilCom: WLAN is a Niche Product

German MobilCom has already stated its intention to go with UMTS (also known as WCDMA), but the company said Monday it will also offer wireless LAN.

"These local mobile communication networks will be a meaningful supplement in companies and large hotels, for example," said Gerhard Schmid, chief executive officer of the MobilCom AG.

"Wireless LAN, however, is not a technology made for the mass market."

At the CeBIT 2001 show, MobilCom had already demonstrated a wireless LAN-test network in fair hall 25. In the past few months, this technology has been developed into a marketable product. With its enormous transmission capacity, wireless LAN is designed for mobile access of computers to the Internet or to a company intranet. Thanks to WLAN, transfering huge amounts of data, such as large-scale presentations, is made easier. At the same time, use is restricted to small, limited areas, such as office floors, fairs, and railway stations. Wireless LAN is not designed for use as a telephone connection.

Unlike the guaranteed coverage of UMTS, a connection with the Internet would be abruptly interrupted as soon as the user leaves the covered area of the local network. Also, LAN-customers would have to log in and, of course, register every time they change to a new local network. These difficulties in practical use will prevent a success on the mass market, according to MobilCom.

However, wireless LAN can be seen as a useful, local supplement for the travelling businessman and the manager, who often changes his working area.