T-Mobile to offer ‘seamless’ 3G, Wi-Fi data service

Even as US vendor patents the technique


Network operator T-Mobile has pledged to combine its Wi-Fi wireless LAN and 3G mobile phone services into a single high-speed data network.

The company aims to achieve "total seamlessness" between the technologies, T-Mobile CEO Rene Obermann said this week.

"We are creating one multi-speed, multimedia network; integrating 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi," he said.

Earlier this week, the company said it had at long last connected its US and European Wi-Fi hotspot networks to allows subscribers from either territory to roam across the other. T-Mobile has some 700 hotspots in Europe and over 4000 in the US.

Obermann said the company plans to offer data cards for laptops which will connect users to the Internet via Wi-Fi when in range of a hotspot or by 3G connection in other locations.

'Seamless' to us means that the user isn't necessarily aware which wireless technology he or she is connecting by, and as he or she passes from one coverage zone to another - hotspot to GPRS, say - the system performs a smooth handover.

What Obermann means, however, is that the T-Mobile will update the GPRS data card it currently offers with a version that supports not only the 2G standard, but Wi-Fi and, ultimately, 3G too. Unfortunately, if it's anything likes existing cards, users will have to make the switch from connection to connection manually.

Rival network operator Vodafone has already begun offering a 3G data card, and Orange this week said it plans to start selling one of its own during the second half of the year.

If T-Mobile does have "true seamlessness" in mind, it will have to deal with Florida-based Calypso Wireless which this week revealed it has been granted a US patent that allows users to roam between mobile phone networks, WLANs and even Bluetooth links without breaking their connection.

The company claims its system automatically chooses either the fastest or least expensive available connection.

Calypso is eyeing the voice world rather than data, but the principle is the same. "With our technology, mobile carriers will be able to place VoIP and telecom/Internet switching equipment on their networks that will allow cellular calls to automatically switch and roam between their cellular networks and the Internet using wireless VoIP via Wi-Fi access points," said David Davila, Calypso's president and CEO, in a statement.

Davila said Calypso plans to "aggressively pursue licensing agreements", and likened his company's approach to the way Qualcomm licenses its CDMA technology. He also said the company has already signed agreements to perform field trials of the system. ®


Other stories you might like

  • North Korea pulled in $400m in cryptocurrency heists last year – report

    Plus: FIFA 22 players lose their identity and Texas gets phony QR codes

    In brief Thieves operating for the North Korean government made off with almost $400m in digicash last year in a concerted attack to steal and launder as much currency as they could.

    A report from blockchain biz Chainalysis found that attackers were going after investment houses and currency exchanges in a bid to purloin funds and send them back to the Glorious Leader's coffers. They then use mixing software to make masses of micropayments to new wallets, before consolidating them all again into a new account and moving the funds.

    Bitcoin used to be a top target but Ether is now the most stolen currency, say the researchers, accounting for 58 per cent of the funds filched. Bitcoin accounted for just 20 per cent, a fall of more than 50 per cent since 2019 - although part of the reason might be that they are now so valuable people are taking more care with them.

    Continue reading
  • Tesla Full Self-Driving videos prompt California's DMV to rethink policy on accidents

    Plus: AI systems can identify different chess players by their moves and more

    In brief California’s Department of Motor Vehicles said it’s “revisiting” its opinion of whether Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving feature needs more oversight after a series of videos demonstrate how the technology can be dangerous.

    “Recent software updates, videos showing dangerous use of that technology, open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the opinions of other experts in this space,” have made the DMV think twice about Tesla, according to a letter sent to California’s Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), chair of the Senate’s transportation committee, and first reported by the LA Times.

    Tesla isn’t required to report the number of crashes to California’s DMV unlike other self-driving car companies like Waymo or Cruise because it operates at lower levels of autonomy and requires human supervision. But that may change after videos like drivers having to take over to avoid accidentally swerving into pedestrians crossing the road or failing to detect a truck in the middle of the road continue circulating.

    Continue reading
  • Alien life on Super-Earth can survive longer than us due to long-lasting protection from cosmic rays

    Laser experiments show their magnetic fields shielding their surfaces from radiation last longer

    Life on Super-Earths may have more time to develop and evolve, thanks to their long-lasting magnetic fields protecting them against harmful cosmic rays, according to new research published in Science.

    Space is a hazardous environment. Streams of charged particles traveling at very close to the speed of light, ejected from stars and distant galaxies, bombard planets. The intense radiation can strip atmospheres and cause oceans on planetary surfaces to dry up over time, leaving them arid and incapable of supporting habitable life. Cosmic rays, however, are deflected away from Earth, however, since it’s shielded by its magnetic field.

    Now, a team of researchers led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) believe that Super-Earths - planets that are more massive than Earth but less than Neptune - may have magnetic fields too. Their defensive bubbles, in fact, are estimated to stay intact for longer than the one around Earth, meaning life on their surfaces will have more time to develop and survive.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022