While many companies have talked about the convergence of 3G cellular networks and wireless LANs, one company has turned discussion into action. That company—Nokia—recently introduced the D211 multi-mode radio card for portable computers and PDAs (see figure). Intended for the mobile professional, whose primary access tool is a portable computer, the D211 product provides data connectivity to the corporate office and Intranet, as well as the Internet.
The D211 is a multi-mode radio card that enables always-on Internet access within General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), High-Speed Circuit-Switched Data (HSCSD), and wireless-LAN coverage areas. It functions in the EGSM 900/1800 networks. The D211 achieves data transmission rates of up to 40.2 kbps in the GPRS environment and up to 43.2 kbps in the HSCSD environment. In the presence of an IEEE 802.11b-compliant access point, the radio card can support data rates of up to 11 Mbps.
GPRS AND WLAN ACCESS
By using GPRS connectivity, users will be able to maintain a constant connection to the Internet—even when they' re not in the presence of an 802.11 "hot spot." Because GPRS sends data in packets, carriers also will benefit. Instead of charging for connection time, they may be able to spawn billing schemes that are based on the amount of information that was sent or received. With the D211 card, a user can send and receive e-mails, text messages, and telefaxes. He or she will also have access to the corporate Intranet and the external Internet via a laptop or handheld, like a PDA.
In addition to GPRS, the D211 supports HSCSD networks. These networks give mobile users a high-speed connection. They can therefore send and receive large amounts of information while they' re on the move. Indoor wireless-LAN connectivity allows even higher data rates. It can be accessed via wireless-LAN access points inside the office, at home, or in public hot spots like airport lounges and conference halls.
The Nokia D211 is compatible with a wide range of portable devices. It works with those devices that incorporate Type II or Type III PC-card slots with a sufficient power supply. No power charging is needed for the D211 radio card, because it gets power from the laptop or handheld device.
The D211 operates in the Linux environment, as well as in Windows 98 SE, Me, 2000, XP, and CE 3.0. It also is compatible with the leading virtual-private-network (VPN) solutions over both GPRS and wireless LAN. For corporate users, the combination of the Nokia D211 and a VPN creates a secure and reliable way to access a company' s confidential information.
The D211 card weighs 51 g. It is 125 mm in length. Though it utilizes an internal antenna, the card has provisions for an external antenna as well. Its laptop card is part of a total system solution that consists of the Nokia P022 Access Controller, the A036 Wireless LAN Access Point, the Nokia Authentication Server, and the Nokia D211 multi-mode card. Any Wi-Fi-certified card also serves as part of the solution, as long as it can be used in Wi-Fi zones. The full Nokia solution was designed to help cellular operators create a broadband and datacom brand with 3G and GPRS networks.
Of the solution' s components, perhaps the most critical is the A036 Wireless LAN Access Point (AP). This technology is used to deploy wireless LAN in public hot spots. To do so, it employs high-performance, concealed internal antennas. Among the access point' s many features is a power-over-Ethernet (PoE) capability, which decreases the usual cost of deployment. It therefore makes it more acceptable to property owners. Using PoE, an access point doesn't need to be located near a typical AC electrical outlet, like a wall circuit. Both power and data can be sent over the same Ethernet cable.
The Nokia A036 access point offers attractive security, authentication, operations, and maintenance characteristics. It follows both the IEEE 802.11i and 802.1x security standards.
For proof of the viability of Nokia' s total solution, look to O2 Ireland's recent deployment of Wi-Fi zones. O2 Ireland is part of a European-wide group of leading mobile communications companies. This company chose Nokia to be the sole supplier of its public WLAN system, which provides O2 Ireland's customers with wireless broadband access to Internet and corporate Intranet services. Under the agreement, Nokia is providing its Operator Wireless LAN solution, while IBM Global Service is supplying system-integration services.
The Nokia D211 multi-mode card and total solution are available now.
6000 Connection Dr., Irving, TX 75039; (972) 894-5000, FAX: (972) 894-5050, www.nokia.com.