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Issue #2003 - 21 (July 2003)
(Updated July 17, 2003)


WiFi News This Week

1. Only 160,000 global hot spots by 2007
According to the latest findings from ABI, the global market for WiFi hot spots could grow to 160,000 by 2007, a huge increase from the 28,000 hot spots expected by the end of this year. The new report predicts that the global hot spot market could grow by as much as 121 percent over the next five years. The report also claims that expanded cellular-to-WiFi roaming will be needed for the hot spot market to reach its full potential. Despite this report's conclusions, other analysts have begun to sour on the public hot spot market, claiming that most of the business models out there do not support the current paid-access model.

2. Wi-Fi chip market will reach $1.7 billion
The chipset market currently stands at about $938 million, but will likely double by 2007, to $1.7 billion, provided no unexpected economic downturn occurs in the next couple of years, according to a new report by the Charlottesville, Virginia-based Communications Industry Researchers (CIR). The report, titled "WLAN Chipset Markets: 2003-2007 - Customer Requirements, Market Forecasts and Product Differentiation Strategies," says OEMs/ODMs (the latter stands for original design manufacturers) place high value on chips with enhanced broadcast range. The group's analysts also saw a growing desire for incorporating Wi-Fi in consumer electronics: The market for video-capable WLAN chips, for example, should reach about $350 million by 2007. Companies active in the segment -- Magis Networks, ViXs Systems, XtremeSpectrum (which emphasizes UWB rather than Wi-Fi) -- will meet this demand. Another trend is the growing demand for switch-based solutions to WLAN management and security problems in the enterprise. WLAN switches may well account for about $160 million of the chip market in 2007, the report says. Lawrence Gasman, lead analyst and president of CIR, told 802.11 Planet that "The key is to find a way to shine....If I were a chip vendor, I'd say, 'I wonder if I can push that performance up by a significant amount'." As WLAN speeds, security, and standards are at a point at which IT administrators take a more serious look at the technology, the urge to adopt WLAN in the enterprise will only grow.

3. Wi- Fi - Will IEEE 802.11b Survive?
See news item flash in this newsletter.

4. Could UWB and Zigbee replace Wi-Fi?
For more info on this debate, see the new item in the current newsletter.

5. Intel Puts Its Weight Behind IEEE 802.16a
Looking forward, and judging that the commercial potential of providing last-mile solutions to deliver wireless broadband is great and only growing -- a judgment we share -- Intel today committed itself to developing chips based on the IEEE 802.16 WMAN (wireless metropolitan area network) standard ("the most important thing since the Internet itself," Intel opined). Gear using the new Intel chips will have a range of up to 30 miles and will transfer voice, data, and video at speeds of up to 70 Mbps. The 802.16a standard, which is alternative to existing last-mile methods such as cable and DSL, was approved by the IEEE in January, allowing the creation of fixed broadband wireless access (BWA) which would provide network access support to buildings at speeds near those offered by high-speed fiber optic networks, but without much of the digging, tunneling, and construction costs associated with fiber. The 802.16a technology is promoted by WiMAX, a Wi-Fi Alliance-like industry consortium formed in April to support and certify 802.16a-based equipment. If 802.16 delivers on its promise, it will bolster adoption of 802.11-based networks at home and in business and give a real push to the proliferation of Wi-Fi hot spots.

6. McDonald Follows Starbucks and Serves Wi-Fi 
McDonald fast food restaurants started serving Wi-Fi this month in San Francisco area with 75 (55 now and 20 in a few weeks). nts. The restaurants will offer Wi-Fi in conjunction with Wayport. This will allow McDonaldto test wireless Internet access in its restaurants around the world. McDonald's launched WiFi service in select New York City restaurants during March of this year. . McDonald's partnered with WiFi infrastructure company Cometa Networks for its New York service. The company said it plans to test WiFi in hundreds of select restaurants across the country by the end of the year.

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: ABI report seems to confirm our view that Wi-Fi by itself is not the answer for our wireless network needs. 170,000 hot spots in North America will not give ubiquotous coverage. The right wireless network platform for future is a hybrid solution - 3G and Wi-Fi. Besides these two networks, we would also need IEEE 802.16 - WMAN.

Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of Securities Exchange act of 1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no assurance that the stipulated plans of vendors will be implemented. MobileInfo does not warrant the authenticity of the information. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.

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