Wi-Fi-to-WAN roaming will now come at a price

Calypso Wireless Inc. announced on Wednesday that it has begun contacting all major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) serving the wireless sector to notify them of a patent it recently obtained that, according to the company, could mean huge changes in the wireless industry.

The patent — which has been qualified as a communication system and method by the United States Patent Office — covers roaming of voice, video and data between wide area network (WAN) access points including cellular towers and short range Internet access points including Wi-Fi.

The technology that makes this flexible roaming possible is Calypso’s Automatic Switching of Network Access Points (ASNAP), said George Schilling, the company’s public relations director. When describing the technology, Schilling said to imagine a user walking down the street chatting on his cell phone, if that user then walked into a Starbucks location, for example, that had a Wi-Fi access point, the user’s call would be switched over to the Wi-Fi network without any disruption.

“That’s going to give you 11,000Kbps of use, which means you can literally stream video,” Schilling noted.

He added that the mobile carriers “love us” because Calypso’s technology is taking the load off existing cell towers.

“You know how frustrating it is if you go to a convention and there’s a million people on cell phones and you’re dropping calls right and left and you can’t get out and you can’t get the calls?” Schilling asked. “What this is going to do is…as soon as you get into your hotel or the restaurant [if] they have an access point, you can walk in and bang, you can go right on the Internet. You are using broadband instead of cellular.”

Schilling said the ASNAP technology was developed between 1998 and 2000 and the patent, which was granted on Feb. 25, 2004, was applied for in 2000.

In a statement released by the Miami Lakes, Fla.-based company, Nokia Corp., Ericsson Inc. and Motorola Inc. were all named as OEMs that will be impacted by the new patent.

Once OEMs start partnering with the company, Schilling said it will be obvious when someone is using a phone, PDA or laptop with Calypso’s technology because there will be a Calypso marking on the device, much like that of Intel Corp.’s Intel Inside icons.

As well as licensing the technology to OEMs, Schilling said that Calypso also has a line of phones of their own in production.

He added that he thinks the OEMs will soon start to license Calypso’s technology because they too, are “looking for the new technology and they don’t want to get themselves into bad publicity. They know that we have the contracts,” Schilling noted.

“They have known the patent is coming…they have known that we applied for the patent and I think they were hoping that they could come up with the technology before our patent was granted, but unfortunately for them it didn’t happen.”

Schilling added that the company is “very excited about introducing its ASNAP technology to the Canadian marketplace later this year.”

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