(keitai-l) Re: Siemens to market VoIP via WLAN for use with PDAs

From: Benjamin Kowarsch <benjk_at_mac.com>
Date: 08/14/01
Message-Id: <[email protected][]>
>Symbol make voice over 802.11b handsets with the same purpose (no idea if
>they're voip).

Well, if it's 802.11b the chance is that IP is what travels over it 
and then the phone connecting to it would have to be VoIP (in a broad 
sense - meaning some kind of voice over IP). It does not necessarily 
have to be any of the H.42x suite, which was adopted by ITU as the 
VoIP standard. However, the likelihood that they use it is high.

>Not actualy that interesting, really - they're just making the desk on your
>phone cordless.

A cordless desk eh ? :-)

At first sight, I can see how you would see it that way. But if you 
take a closer look, it can become very interesting...  The NetLink 
WTS allows you to use a Notebook or more interestingly a PDA with a 
VoIP application to access a PABX over WLAN. Thus, it provides a 
gateway function from wireless VoIP to PSTN telephony. With a VoIP 
application installed, your PDA turns into a cordless phone and it 
will be reachable as such on an ordinary telephone number via the 

>What's more interesting is using WLAN (actually, Bluetooth
>is better 'cause it'll be built into mobile handsets)

I am very sceptical about these Bluetooth promises. First, Bluetooth 
has only got a range of what? 5-7 meters ? Then, clearly it is not 
intended for what many people would have you believe it is going to 
be used for. It's more a wireless peripheral bus than a 
communications network.

And that it will be built into mobile handsets has been a rather 
empty promise so far. Adoption of Bluetooth has been very slow even 
though it should by now be used virtually everywhere if the 
propaganda had been right. On the other hand 802.11b has been played 
down again and again, yet it is  being rolled out rapidly in private 
households, companies and public places.

>Also, there're a number of startups looking at using
>Bluetooth to offer in-building coverage for 3G.

While I wish them good luck, I personally would consider the odds of 
this too bad to invest in them.

>The issue is, you have to play nice with the mobile operator(s) if you want
>calls to the mobile number to get routed over your alternative airlink.

I'd rather say the question is "Do you really need to depend on your 
mobile number?". Of course, the mobile operators would like you to 
believe that you do, but it doesn't have to be that way.

I have a personal number with YAC (www.yac.com). It is free of charge 
and allows you to divert incoming calls to either a unified messaging 
system or to another phone number, including foreign numbers in over 
20 countries. At present YAC is only operating in the UK, but they 
look to open services in other countries, too. A YAC number looks 
like a UK mobile phone number (+44 7092 ...) and calls to it (premium 
rate) cost as much as calling a mobile phone from which YAC gets a 
share that allows them to forward the call and still make a profit 
without charging you.

On my business card I only list my YAC number, not my mobile phone 
number - only friends know my mobile phone number(s). Most of the 
time I have my YAC number divert to my Japanese mobile, but when I am 
travelling I divert it to whatever local prepaid phone number I have 
there or to the hotel room, office extension at a client's office etc.

Now, let's assume the hotel I am staying in has a WLAN and they also 
install a system like the NetLink WTS and provide VoIP over their 
WLAN over their PABX to their guests, then I could divert my YAC 
number to the extension I am provided by the hotel and receive 
inbound calls on my PDA, while I am sitting in the lounge.

The client where my assignment is might also have such a system and 
they may also provide me with an office extension and I can receive 
calls on my PDA there too.

At present YAC's diversion allows you to set a first number and a 
second number in case the first number is unreachable. Eventually, if 
people ask for it, they may provide a third option, then you could 
have your diversion set to your mobile (1st no.) then to your office 
extension (2nd no.), then to your hotel extension (3rd no.), thus any 
incoming call will eventually find you.

This is very simple, can be done with existing technology at low cost 
and you don't need to rely on the mobile operators at all that way.

As I said before, this is a likely development that low cost 
VoIP/WLAN to PABX gateways like the NetLink WTS have the potential to 
spin off. It is limited to the premises of a company, a hotel etc 
initially, but there is no reason why this would have to stay that 
way. If enough people get used to this, there will be a large enough 
user base that a company could provide services to them independently 
of where they have their WLAN access and they would probably also 
provide a phone number with a country code of your choice for you to 
receive all your calls.

>Otherwise people need to have two numbers, and to heck with that.

You know what, there is actually a new roaming system aimed at 
consumers that is based on two numbers, your ordinary mobile number 
plus a temporary local number that is instantly assigned to you when 
your phone tries to sign-in in a foreign network. Because the system 
does all the number and call diversion management automatically and 
transparently, it is of no concern to the user.

All the user sees is lower charges because the dependency on their 
home operator is reduced and the local operator can offer services at 
local market rates.

>  After all,
>you're effectively doing (very) localised roaming: why should operators let
>you plug into their networks if there's no benefit for them?

There are two sides to this ...

First, the operators to provide services while you "roam" in IP land 
can earn business that would otherwise go to the mobile operator you 
are subscribed to.

Second, the mobile operators who do not allow you to divert your 
number or send voicemail as email to you while you "roam" in IP land, 
they risk to loose out. The more people feel tempted to use third 
parties like YAC for personal numbers and not tell their mobile phone 
numbers the easier it will be for them to churn. Some mobile 
operators will block, but some others would see an opportunity and 
offer such call diversion, which would then put even more pressure on 
the others to follow.


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Received on Tue Aug 14 21:44:33 2001