Wireless Systems Design

Where Do We Go From Here?

Over the course of the past few years, the wireless industry has undergone a major transformation. Technological advances and economic hardship have resulted in major consolidation within certain market segments. Many wireless companies have simply ceased to exist. As the ashes settle, a new direction is emerging. Wireless broadband data is driving the industry toward total network convergence. This path is opening up new channels of revenue. At the same time, it hints at a host of unique and innovative consumer-oriented products.

It sounds great, I agree. But don't be fooled: This path is not an easy one. Like any new challenge, it will encounter many obstacles. There also will be company hold-outs that refuse to fall in line. Doing so will mean agreeing on standards and surrendering the company's own way of doing things. Such companies also could lose their stranglehold on certain market segments. With the pain of recent economics burned into the minds of wireless companies everywhere, giving up what appears to be a secure revenue stream may seem unfathomable.

Other obstacles exist as well. As we walk the path to network convergence, a bridge must be formed between engineers/designers and system integrators/information-technology professionals. Both classifications of people require information that pertains to the same topics, such as security and networking. What sets them apart is that they approach these topics from different perspectives and levels of expertise. By helping both camps better understand each other and the challenges at hand, we can allow each group to better accomplish its individual goals.

Consider Wi-Fi, for example. It appeals to engineers from a silicon-chip/functionality perspective. From a networking viewpoint, it also attracts IT people. Once Wi-Fi is implemented, IT professionals are faced with securing it. Security also is important for both hardware and software engineers. They must take security into consideration when building and implementing chip sets or writing software programs. This full circle of relevance is something that will be touched on time and time again as we migrate to wireless-broadband network convergence. It is probably one of the only things about this evolution that will seem certain.

What's your take on this subject? With regard to your main job function, is your sphere of interest expanding? Does that sphere include IT? If so, please send me your thoughts. I'm at [email protected].

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