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Lucent gathers partners for 3G/WLAN services

Lucent Technologies has announced a package of hardware and software products designed to help wireless carriers set up data exchange services for their enterprise customers. Lucent will also partner with several other companies in order to deliver products and installation services.

The company hopes to enable enterprise customers of wireless carriers to access high-speed and secure network connections to their corporate applications through either wireless LANs (WLANs) or 3G networks, such as CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) 2000 and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service) networks, Maria Palamara, offer director in mobility solutions for Lucent, said.

"Wireless carriers can attempt to put their own services in place, but our offering will save them time and effort, and accelerate their ability to deliver these types of services," she said.

The combination of products and services from companies including Lucent, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Agere Systems, iPass, ipUnplugged and Sierra Wireless has been pretested and integrated, so carriers can be sure these products will interoperate, Palamara said.

As the first part of its strategy to deliver these services, Lucent has released Secure Virtual Private Network Solutions for CDMA2000 1x, a combination of existing Lucent products that will allow the customers of wireless carriers to securely access corporate applications over CDMA2000 networks at speeds up to 154Kbps.

Lucent and its partners hope to release the second portion of the strategy, simple IP access to corporate applications through both 3G and WLAN networks, later this year.

Demand for 3G services in the USA has not been overwhelming, but that will change as enterprise customers realise the productivity gains and cost-savings that can be attained by putting their workers on wireless networks, Palamara said. Users will also enjoy the benefits of WLAN networks as more and more PCs and notebooks come equipped with the technology, she said.

CDMA2000 networks are currently only available in the USA through Verizon Wireless and Sprint PCS Group, Palamara said. Lucent is hoping to work with several other carriers worldwide which utilise either CDMA2000 or UMTS networks, such as Telefonica, as well as smaller US carriers. Other US carriers are considering the UMTS standard for their own 3G efforts, she said.

WLAN networks are accessed through public access points, or "hot spots". Companies such as iPass work with the local owners of the hot spots to create a network of access points, so carriers can sign up with iPass, and offer their customers Internet access through selected hot spots throughout the world. HP and iPass already partner to offer public wireless Internet access to venues, with HP providing much of the installation services.

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