Nortel today has completed the first demonstration of seamless network switching between UMTS 3G and an 802.11 wireless LAN.
This may be the first seamless handoff of voice and data services that we know of between the two networks. The test calls were completed on a live UMTS 3G cellular network and a standard 802.11 wireless LAN; this technology makes sense considering Tokyo has over 1200 WiFi hotspots, if users can have the freedom to switch to any network they choose, Wireless VoIP may triumph cellular calling.
When can we expect it here? The availability of wireless hotspots in Tokyo is far greater than Canada, with only 100 or so in Toronto. Canadians can expect to have the same technology available from Nortel, but only when hotspots become more commonly available. San Francisco, California is the next most likely spot for deploying such a service, with over 400 WiFi hotspots to date and growing.
Nortel also noted their successful trial of high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) technology, it reached speeds 30 times faster than commercially deployed networks using UMTS; 14.4 million bits per second (Mbps), or 1.7MB, wireless data transmission using the 1.7 GHz radio frequency band for mobile communications.