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Issue #2003 - 28 (November 2003)
(Updated Nov. 4, 2003)


Nortel to Test Public WLAN Architecture with BT, MIT
Source: John Walko - CommsDesign.com

LONDON — Nortel Networks is planning trials of a novel public WLAN architecture designed to drive down costs of transporting data between Wi-Fi hotspots and wired broadband networks. The trials are being jointly conducted by U.K. operator British Telecom and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Nortel said the technology would provide broader, more convenient service coverage and minimize the need for expensive backhaul connections like T1 lines. The company estimated the technology could lead to operating cost reductions of up to 70 percent for backhaul and up to 75 percent for installation and commissioning. 

The P-WLAN architecture includes peer-to-peer access point capabilities &3151; with smart antennas, integrated routers and adaptive routing and security capabilities — to backhaul data wirelessly to wired broadband networks. It is the outcome of basic research conducted at Nortel Networks' Wireless Technology Labs in Ottawa into peer-to-peer and “ad-hoc” networking. 

“The challenge of adapting simple, low-cost radio technologies like Wi-Fi to extend commercial public networks is not trivial,” said Nicholas Negroponte, cofounder and chairman of MIT's Technology Media Lab. 

“Public telecommunications is approaching a renaissance with incorporation of innovative technologies like those Nortel Networks and MIT are piloting. Tomorrow's distributed, flexible communications networks will look very different from the centralized, highly-engineered networks of today,” added Negroponte. 

Nortel Networks is a founding sponsor of the Media Lab, and sponsors the Lab's Digital Life research consortium. 

The company expects the MIT trial and the proposed trials with BT to be completed by early 2004. 

During evaluation at MIT's Cambridge campus, students, staff and visitors will be able to connect to the Internet, send and receive e-mail and access MIT campus files and content securely from any location with any device. The Media Lab also plans to demonstrate its future wireless data services and applications, including the use of wireless networks to allow collaboration among intelligent devices and their users. 

BT will test the technology with one of its largest, but unnamed, enterprise customers. The focus will be on Virtual Private Networking, Internet browsing, e-mail, multimedia messaging, personal messaging and other advanced services via laptop computers, PDAs and wireless handsets. 

The architecture was designed to boost network access and security. It incorporates "auto-discovery" and "self-healing" algorithms to simplify deployment and reduce service outages by optimizing radio link communications and minimizing interference. 

Infrastructure equipment being used in the trials is expected to include Nortel's Wireless Mesh Network solution, which includes Wireless Access Point 7220, Wireless Gateway 7250, the Optivity Network Management System and related network management elements. 

The experiment involves peer-to-peer and ad hoc networking research at Nortel's Ottawa Wireless Technology Lab, the new public WLAN architecture includes a peer-to-peer access point architecture -- with smart antennas, integrated routers, and adaptive routing and security capabilities -- to backhaul data wirelessly to wired broadband networks. This minimizes the need for expensive wired backhaul connections like T1 lines.

This is Nortel's third announcement of a wireless LAN rollout, building on a December 2002 announcement of the capability to securely link wireless WANs and wireless LANs.

For more information: http://www.comdesign.com

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: This is not a break-through trial of technology that seems to work but at systems integration level, vendors need to get the bugs out. It is good to see universities being willing to test these technologies so that they can be deployed in operating businesses.

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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