The year of fixed mobile convergence?

The Yankee Group last week released its predictions for 2009, and theBoston-based research firm is predicting for the first time in history,sale of wireline switches, when measured by the total number of portson switches shipped, will decrease.

This is because wirelesslocal-area networks will become “the primary means of deployment” andnot just an augmentation, the Yankee Group said.

In a reportdubbed “It’s the Economy, Stupid: Yankee Group’s 2009 Predictions,” thecompany said consumers will demand “better value” from their mobileservices, while subsidies for smart phones “will strangle operatorprofits.”

The move to wireless LANs is well underway. Canadianorganizations such as McGillUniversity, CarmaDevelopers and the CentralEast Community Care Access Centre, are using the technology.

Earlier,securityconcerns discouraged some companies from installing accesspoints.

But now, industry experts agree that using version 2 ofWi-Fi Protected Access, or WPA2,should alleviate most security concerns.

WPA2 uses AdvancedEncryption Standard, and if that’s not secure enough for your data,then your data should not move over any network. In fact, if AES isn’tgood enough, you shouldn’t even store the information electronically.Instead, you should write it by hand on paper, memorize it and eat it.

Asfor Yankee Group’s predictions for mobile carriers, RogersCommunications is a case in point. Offering Apple Inc.’s iPhone3G had mixed results for the carrier.

In its financialresults for the quarter ending Sept. 30, Rogers said the cost ofproviding the service (including equipment sales) had a “dilutiveimpact” on the growth of its operating profit. But it also gained“higher than average” revenue per user for postpaid iPhone users withboth voice and data plans.

Whether data plans will help carriersin the long run remains to be seen. Simply put, if your company wantsto cut costs without firing workers, it might pay to take a good hardlook at wireless data. Though it pays to let sales staff keep in touchwith clients while they’re on the road, not everyone needs to sendmegabytes of data every day using cellular networks.

Perhaps asthe economy worsens, fixed-mobile convergence will really take off, ascompanies find they need to keep their workers productive all the time,but want to cut back on telecom costs.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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