PCTEL Software Roams from Cellular to Wi-Fi

By Eric Griffith

March 04, 2003

The new Segue Roaming Client will let 2.5G carriers provide customers Internet access on laptops via both the cellular WAN as well as 802.11-based hotspots.

PCTEL of Milpitas, CA, has launched its Dual-Mode Segue Roaming Client, software for users of Windows 98SE/ME/NT/2000/XP who need to roam between Wi-Fi networks and 2.5G (CDMA2000 1X or GPRS) network data services.

According to Biju Nair, Vice President and General Manager, Wireless Software Product Development at PCTEL , the software comes in two flavors, either CDMA/Wi-Fi or GPRS/Wi-Fi depending on the users needs. .

"If you're away from a Wi-Fi coverage area, the client will find the 2.5G network and allow you to connect" to the Internet, says Nair. "If you've on a train and you're on a cell network, close your laptop and walked into the office, when you open the laptop, it wakes up and finds one of the Wi-Fi network"

The software will hold a list of "favorite networks" and connect to them using preference rules you or your CIO dictate.

Through the software, users can utilize many mobile phone features including SMS messaging. "We built a tool in client that looks like Microsoft Outlook to send and store and receive SMS messages like e-mail," says Nair.

This first iteration of the software requires a 2.5G network card from Option Wireless (GPRS), NovAtel (GPRS) or Sierra Wireless (GPRS and CDMA); future versions expect to support the majority of 2.5G cards on the market. Plus it has support for most GPRS phones used as a cellular modem connected to a laptop.

The software works with most 802.11b client cards, including Cisco and Agere/Proxim ORiNOCO cards.

The software will be available for download as a trial, but is targeted toward phone carriers who want to provide customers with easy Internet access via their cellular wide area networks and Wi-Fi hotspots. PCTEL is currently in discussions with potential carrier partners.

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