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Appeared on: Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Cisco to Team Up With Nokia On Dual Mode Phones

Cisco will announce this week partnerships with Nokia to build dual-mode VoIP and cellular handsets, and with Intel to create VoIP-enabled notebook PCs, inforworld reports.

Cisco will update its wireless, client-to-network communications infrastructure CCX (Cisco Compatible Extensions) to support these new VoIP technologies. CCX are software burned into devices at the chipset level.

Dual-mode handsets from Nokia that include the latest version of CCX are expected at the end of the year. The next generation of Intel Centrino chips will also include support for the latest CCX extensions.

As for the Blackberry, Mike McAndrews, Vice President of product managementmanufacturer Research in Motion (RIM), Blackberry manufacturer, said that RIM currently supports CCX technology but wouldn't comment on future products.

The CCX technology enables client-initiated communication with an access point (AP). This is a reversal of the traditional WLAN technology in which the APs constantly poll the client for availability, often reducing battery life to very low levels.

With the new technology, the client device will only position the AP when it wants to talk, said Ben Gibson, Director of wireless and mobility marketing at Cisco. The technology requires software in both the client and in the AP.

According to him, this technology will considerably increase battery life and a VoIP-enabled phone should have the same battery life as non-VoIP phones.

A second technology recognizes when an AP has been fully subscribed and boosts power output or hands off a call to an adjacent AP.

Call Admission Control, a third technology, is designed to improve the quality of service for VoIP by allowing network managers to cap the number of users on a single AP.

"If there is no more bandwidth available, the system needs to recognize that and not admit another call," Gibson said. Gibson noted that this capability is extremely important for VoIP to handle e911 calls.

Nokia currently ships Wi-Fi-enabled phones that will work at public hotspots, according to Tom Libretto, Director of marketing at Nokia Enterprise Solutions.

"Our phone platform is optimized to do that. But if you want to take advantage of a corporate telephony environment and you want more control, you will need this additional Cisco technology," Libretto said.

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