NEC, Motorola in New Data/Voice Pact

Motorola of Arlington Heights, Ill., and NEC America, the affiliate of NEC Corp. headquartered in Irving, Texas, announced this week their plan to work together on a system combining cellular technologies with data and voice over IP (VoIP) on wireless LANs.

Motorola will provide a mobility manager component for taking care of the hand-off between cellular WANs and the in-building WLAN, as well as a dual-mode phone that will incorporate cellular and Wi-Fi.

NEC’s director of Enterprise Solutions Paul Weismantel says such devices will “be a pivotal point in extending the enterprise past just its normal scope.” Meaning, the two companies want handset users to be able to access the same facilities while out on the cellular networks that they can access while in a building on a wireless LAN. Such applications could include items like e-mail or directory access, to name just a couple.

Nicholas Labun, vice president and general manager of WLAN Seamless Mobility at Motorola, says right now the deal is too new to know about specifics of products. He would say only that his company is developing the dual handset, which will support 802.11a/b/g, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and cellular, and that they’d work with NEC on setting the overall features. The handset would be made to work with NEC’s own WLAN products and the NEAX communications platform of Internet Protocol (IP)-based PBXes .

Motorola is to date one of the few chip-making companies that embraces some aspects of Wi-Fi but does not have it’s own Wi-Fi chips. Instead, says Labun, they’ve currently got a deal with Texas Instruments to utilize TI’s chipsets. The company is also at work on a VoIP deal with Avaya and Proxim.

No financial information about this collaboration between the two companies is being disclosed. They don’t expect to see any concrete products or services until the second half of next year.

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