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IBM, Nokia Join on WLAN Hotspots

Nokia and IBM Corp. Monday said they have agreed to work together to expedite wireless local area network (WLAN) hotspots in public places.

Hotspots enable WLAN-equipped devices such as handhelds and laptops to connect not only to each other but also to the Internet from public places such as airports and hotel lobbies. Wireless operators and Internet service providers increasingly are installing the hotspots for their customers.

Under the terms of the agreement, IBM Global services will act as a system integrator of Nokia's WLAN infrastructure products, which are aimed at deployment by wireless operators. More specifically, IBM Global Services will install, maintain, finance and consult with operators to expedite rollout of the hotspots.

"The public wireless LAN service is on the verge of major growth in demand, especially from business users," said Paavo Aro, Nokia Networks' general manager for wireless LAN systems. "Forecasts have predicted that more than 100,000 hotspots will be in operation globally within the next four years."