IBM pushes wireless future

IBM is to wireless enable products across all sectors of its business, from laptops to servers.

IBM is to wireless enable products across all sectors of its business, from laptops to servers.

The company is banking on a boom in wireless business and wants to ensure its product line is ready for take off.

"Wireless is a technology which is quite mature in transmission, and it's a model available to transport data - but bandwidth and speed have been missing," said Peter Sutherland, brand manager at IBM's mobile PC division. "These things are now becoming available and people want more mobility and greater flexibility."

According to analysts Gartner Group, within three years the average employee will use at least three wireless devices in their daily work, such as a laptop, PDA and mobile phone.

Earlier this month, IBM chief executive Lou Gerstner said he expected some two billion wireless access devices to be deployed within the next two years.

IBM is offering selected products with wireless LAN capabilities. Michel Mayer, general manager of IBM's pervasive computing division said: "There's call for both wireless and wired LANs. I don't envisage people ripping out cables from wired LANs, or a time when customers will only buy wireless-enabled products."

The IBM announcement follows news from rival Compaq that it is launching its new Evo wireless-enabled product line.

The IBM wireless infrastructure covers the ThinkPad and WorkPad lines at the low end, and sees the introduction of a new remote wireless management technology for IBM's eServer line.

The company will also offer wireless infrastructure services, and is to announce a series of programmes designed to bring wireless products to market through IBM business partners. IBM has also revealed that it is working with Mitsubishi Electric on the development of advanced low-power chips for 3G phones.

Emma Nash

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