Siemens Claims Unmatched WiFi/Cellular Roaming

Roam where you want to, across a WiFi network, and onto a cellular one.
You won’t be able to notice the difference and it’s all with one number, one
mailbox and with good quality voice calls, too. That’s part of the pitch
German networking giant Siemens  is making for HiPath MobileConnect, its latest product for fixed mobile convergence (FMC) users.

The company said the product delivers unmatched fixed mobile convergence with
enterprise dual-mode Wi-Fi cellular integration. Luc Roy, VP of product planning for Siemens’ mobile enterprise
division, said the idea is to provide one number, one voicemail and rich PBX
 functionality for mobile enterprise customers.

The HiPath MobileConnect systems provide “the world’s first SIP-based,
dual-mode WiFi/GSM calling capabilities on a single handset,” Roy told
internetnews.com.

Part of the Siemens open communications architecture, MobileConnect is
geared for Enterprise Fixed Mobile Convenience — that’s right, not the word
convergence but convenience — by tossing fixed enterprise VoIP, Voice over
Wireless LAN and cellular mobility on one appliance and device.

SIP , the Session Initiation Protocol application layer
control protocol for IP-based telephony, is the glue that makes it stick.
Because the product line is based on open standards, it can connect with
virtually any SIP-supported IP-PBX, WLAN and dual-mode handset.

By first, Siemens is saying that it is the only major networking
communications provider (compared to Avaya, Nortel, Cisco and
Alcatel/Lucent) that combines a system that helps customers control calls
across VoIP networks – including voice over wireless LAN
or cellular. It works as one number, provides one mailbox and
integrates with old-fashioned access to existing phone lines in a business
(so rip and replace is not a necessity on legacy phone systems).

Siemens may have a point on some of its “first only” claims with the
HiPath release. Avaya, for example, provides a platform for all kinds of
converged communications, but doesn’t feature full SIP standards on some.

That may help explain Avaya’s recent
$144 million bid for Ubiquity, which specializes in SIP Application Server
technology that helps developers do just that: build applications that can
communicate with converged communications services and skirt across
different wireless and fixed mobile environments.

Roy said MobileConnect takes eFMC and dual-mode to the next stage by
extending users’ enterprise telephony presence (including IP PBX number,
directory, and call features) to the dual-mode handset regardless of where
they are. Plus, the product works in conjunction with dual-mode handsets and
can automatically route calls to the lowest-cost network, such as Wi-Fi
networks, when they are available.

The product comes in two flavors. One is an appliance that would be sited
between a business’s IP-PBX and its wireless LAN (WLAN) The other is a dual-mode handset client that provides access to the IP-PBX features.

But Siemens faces competitors hot to offer similar
end-to-end functionality. Nortel’s converged mobility strategy, for example, includes
its Wireless Mobility Gateway 6000 (WMG 6000), designed
to provide service providers merged 3G wireless networks and personalized multimedia services across wireless, wireline or cable networks.

The WMG 6000, which supports 3GPP (IMS), 3GPP2 (MMD), Packet Cable 2.0
and TISPAN standards, lets service providers merge 3G wireless networks.

Cisco, which offers Unified IP phones and systems, recently said it was
patching security issues with its IP-based phones that could allow hackers
to launch denial of service (DoS) attacks on networks. As
internetnews.com recently reported, Cisco issued an alert that warned of a flaw in a remote conference
managing feature that could be exploited remotely as well. A patch is
underway.

Plenty of startups sell a similar mobile offering as Siemens’, but Roy argues that this is the only VoIP technology offering an end-to-end product for fixed mobile convergence.

Right now the devices supported with the product include the FSC
PocketLoox T800 (Windows-Mobile platform), and Nokia’s E-60, 61 and 7-
lines, on the Symbian operating system as well.

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