November Newsbits

By Naomi Graychase

November 20, 2007

Verizon may (or may not) be testing HTC Iris; T-Mobile releases a new Wi-Fi-enabled Windows Mobile 6 device; Atheros announces new 802.11n chips; iPass and Boingo expand; Sprint and Clearwire break up; Ruckus makes a ruckus in Europe.

 Verizon is rumored to be introducing a new Wi-Fi-enabled PDA or smartphone in November, but no announcements have yet been made. Speculation is focused on the HTC Iris, which the FCC approved for release in the U.S. in August. The HTC Iris is currently supported by major Canadian carrier Telus as the HTC S640. The 3G CDMA Windows Mobile 6 device offers 1xEVDO Rev. A as well as Wi-Fi. Verizon will neither confirm nor deny that the product is in development.

 

“I don't know if we are testing the device and if we are, I certainly don't know the results before the tests have been completed. I'm really trying to be accommodating, but we aren't interested in setting customer's [sic] expectations on a device that we may never sell. That is the reason we don't discuss what we are testing,” wrote Brenda Raney, who handles marketing of handsets for Verizon Wireless, in an e-mail yesterday.

November 16, 2007

T-Mobile USA has released the first in a new line of Wi-Fi-enabled devices dubbed, “Shadow.” With an emphasis on simplicity and social networking, the Windows Mobile 6 Shadow is, according to a press release, “not a productivity tool. This phone is designed for people who have lives beyond work."

Among the new phones features:

  • Enhanced one-click myFaves functionality
  • A slider design and spin navigation wheel
  • 2.0-megapixel digital camera with video capture
  • Wi-Fi and EDGE
  • T-Mobile Address Book, which allows users to import contact information from Yahoo!, Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, and others, and to back up their phone's address book online.

The T-Mobile Shadow comes in two colors, copper and sage.

November 14th, 2007

Atheros Communications has announced two new draft 802.11n chips: the dual-band AR9280 and single-band AR9281 PCI Express (PCIe). The chips are part of the Atheros XSPAN family.

With these chipsets, Atheros expects PC manufacturers to be able to easily accelerate the transition of their platforms from legacy 802.11a/g to 802.11a/g/n or 802.11g/n.

The AR9280 and AR9281 both integrate radio, baseband/MAC, and host PCIe interfaces into a single-chip. Featuring Atheros’s most silicon area-efficient WLAN radio design to date, the chips deliver what the company calls “the industry’s smallest 802.11n footprint in a 10mm x 10mm QFN package.”

The AR9280 dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 2x2 MIMO PCIe design targets enterprise and high-end consumer notebooks. It provides 802.11a/g/n performance of up to 300 Mbps, which enables up to ten times the throughput and more than twice the range of 802.11a/g solutions.

The new chips also offer several power-saving features including: Dynamic MIMO Power Save (DMPS), which conserves total system power by seamlessly downshifting to 1x1 MIMO operation when small amounts of data need to be transmitted or received; Unscheduled Automatic Power Save Delivery (UAPSD), which increases a notebook’s sleep time while transmitting real-time, moderate bandwidth traffic, such as voice, audio, and video; Atheros Wake-on-Wireless, which allows the host system to go into very low-power standby mode, but to be awakened at any time by the network or a remote device.

The chips support Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems. They include support for industry standards WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia), Wi-Fi Protected Setup via Atheros’ JumpStart for Wireless, and Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX). The Atheros AR9280 and AR9281 are currently sampling to customers and will be in volume production early next year.

November 13th, 2007

iPass announced yesterday it has increased its footprint to cover more than 40,000 enterprise-grade Wi-Fi hotspots in Europe. Recent additions include networks in France and the UK, which means iPass now has a broadband Wi-Fi presence in more than 30 European countries for a total of 70 nations worldwide.

After rumors of a possible merger between Sprint and Clearwire, Sprint chose to go in the opposite direction last week and pulled the plug entirely on its plans to build out a nationwide WiMAX network with the four-year old WISP. Speculation is mixed as to the impact the decision will have on the adoption rate for WiMAX.

Sprint has also been scaling back its Wi-Fi hotspot presence. Boingo Wireless  announced on October 31st that it had acquired from Sprint the Wi-Fi networks at seven U.S. airports. Boingo now serves 23 North American airports. The acquired airports are: Houston William P Hobby (HOU), Houston George Bush Intercontinental (IAH), Memphis International (MEM), Milwaukee General Mitchell International (MKE), Oakland International (OAK), Louisville International-Standifer Field (SDF), and Salt Lake City International (SLC).

Boingo operates by charging a fee for service. As part of the conversion of the Sprint hotspots, Boingo lowered the price of day pass access at those locations to $7.95 for 24 hours of access. Boingo also offers several service options for laptops and Wi-Fi enabled devices. Boingo Unlimited is a monthly access plan ($21.95) for unlimited access to thousands of hotspots in North America. Boingo Global ($39) provides access to Boingo's hotspots worldwide. Boingo Mobile enables global access to the Internet via Boingo hotspots for non-PC devices, such as PDAs and dual-mode phones for $7.95-per-month.

Ruckus Wireless, a Sunnyvale, California-based provider of “smart Wi-Fi” technology, announced last week it had cemented a deal with T-Home, a division of Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe’s largest communications provider. Ruckus Wireless will supply 802.11a Smart Wi-Fi systems to enable in-home wireless distribution of its Entertain Comfort IPTV service. Deutsche Telekom is private-labeling the Ruckus system as the Speedport W 100 Bridge (€149.99) under its T-Home brand.

Business Only Broadband, Chicago’s largest wireless broadband provider, will be utilizing a DragonWave solution to provide higher-bandwidth services to its base of business customers. The goal is to increase throughput for Business Only Broadband’s primary, secondary, and disaster-recovery connectivity services to more than 300 Mbps. After the Chicago upgrade, Business Only Broadband intends to use DragonWave to expand its offerings in New York, as well.

Naomi Graychase is Managing Editor at Wi-FiPlanet.



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