Slide Show: Wireless Hot Spots For 2008


The latest Wi-Fi standard promises to boost WLAN throughput to insane amounts --- between 100 and 200 Mbps, and in some configurations up to 600 Mbps -- and have a much further reach than 802.11g. It won't be ratified until probably 2009, but is poised to make waves in 2008 when vendors and VARs start selling into corporate environments.

Ryan Rose, wireless practice manager for WorldWide Technologies, a St. Louis-based systems integrator, said once 802.11n is ratified "it could revolutionize how people think of wireless."

Fixed-Mobile Convergence and Dual Mode

Wi-Fi-enabled mobile handsets will become mainstream in 2008, opening the floodgates for dual-mode devices, devices that work not only on Wi-Fi but on cellular networks as well. The rash of dual mode devices will further fuel fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), which ties together voice, unified communications and wired and wireless networks for one seamless way to access information from anywhere at any time.

"There is never going to be just one network to give you all that access," said Ben Gibson, Cisco's director of mobility solutions. "You're going to start to see pilots."

Web Services

Accessing corporate applications from a mobile device will get easier as more companies rely on a thin client Web services model over thick client solutions. Craig Mathias, principal and founder of Farpoint Group, a wireless research and advisory firm in Ashland, Mass., said mobile workers crave the ability to access corporate apps over the Web, from any device they choose, as opposed to lugging around a bulky laptop or even a smartphone.

Sociology and Legislation

More of a social evolution than technological advancement, loud public cell phone calls and driving while on the phone, even with a headset, will no longer be tolerated next year. Mathias predicted legislation will be handed down barring talking while driving. He added that 2008 could also legislation to enforce appropriate and rational use of mobile devices in public.

Network Openness

Probably the biggest wireless story of late-2007 will carry over into next year: network openness. Both Verizon and AT&T discussed plans to open up their networks to any device or applications. Opening up networks to other devices that were once not supported is certain to lower device and service plan pricing, analysts said. But VARs could ultimately be the big winners, according to Steven Brumer, president, CEO and founder of Wireless Rain, a wireless VAR and managed service provider in Suwanee, Ga.

"From a VAR perspective, it will open up more opportunities to sell more products or different products," he said. "It could get to a point where customers are relying on you for more products."