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Seeking products compatible with 2G, 3G and 4G services, plus Wi-Fi and 802.11n

ACG Research principal analyst Bill Rubino discusses several vendor offerings that will enable 2G, 3G and 4G traffic handling and incorporate Wi-Fi capability and 802.11n support.

Are there any integrated products (shipping now or in development) that will provide services based on 4G and are also compatible with existing 3G- and 2G-based services? Are there any moves to incorporate Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) in these integrated products?

When it comes to having 4G integrated into the same network as 2G or 3G, most operators will design these different technologies as an overlay network at the edge. The packet core will need to handle all types of traffic, including 2.5G/3G and 4G, during the transition to 4G. There are vendors that offer solutions that will support this mix of traffic types in the packet core -- for example, Ericsson's SmartEdge solution can run what is called "triple access," where the core network can support for CDMA, HSPA and LTE. Another example is Tellabs' 9100 packet core solution, which can provide core networking functions for WiMAX, 3G and LTE.

As far as incorporating Wi-Fi/802.11n into 2G/3G/4G-compatible products, BelAir Networks recently released the BelAir100SP Strand Picocell, a product that combines a 3G radio with an 802.11n radio, all built into a cable-strand mounted access point. This product is aimed at both cable providers and telecom operators.

This was last published in September 2010

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