The "big two" server manufacturers are preparing the way for the onset of widespread corporate wireless-working with the release of new products and services last week, writes Antony Adshead.
IBM estimates that $50bn (£33bn) will be spent over the next three years as the market takes off. Meanwhile, Sun has pumped $100m into start-up wireless companies and plans to develop a line of servers targeted at high-speed wireless services.
Both companies have come under fire for their late arrival in the wireless space, where smaller suppliers have dominated until now. These latest moves indicate a new determination and show that the corporate wireless market is much closer to becoming reality than in the consumer wireless space.
IBM has begun the roll-out of its wireless infrastructure for companies with a server, a software platform and a hosting service. The P640 server uses up to four 64-bit Risc Power-3-II processors. It also has cooling fan and power supply redundancy as part of a "lights out" capability.
Software support comes from the Websphere Everyplace Suite's Service Provider Edition, which links Web and enterprise applications into wireless networks. The launch is an upgrade of IBM's existing e-business software platform for the mobile environment. It can support up to 300 million simultaneous wireless transactions.
The suite contains a gateway for multiple fixed network and wireless protocols and can reconfigure existing Web content into a format suitable for mobile devices.
To back all this up, 15 IBM centres will offer wireless e-business hosting for businesses that wish to operate in the mobile environment. Plans are also afoot for 65 more centres.
Sun plans to release "carrier-grade" servers, although a company spokesman pointed out that carrier grade will also apply to the requirements of any enterprise that wishes to run its own services.
Sun has also upgraded its e-business platform, iPlanet, which, for the first time, includes software for linking fixed and wireless services.