09 August, 2004

Wi-Fi phones make a splash
Early versions of Wi-Fi cell phones failed miserably because of the enormous drain on the batteries--which must support two chipsets rather than one--and because users were forced to manually switch between networks. But at least one phone maker, Motorola, now claims to have solved the automatic transfer problem. As a result, carriers are promising some dizzying scenarios by Christmas. For instance, a customer could start a call on an office Wi-Fi network, switch to a cell phone network as he or she travels outside the office building, then conclude the call on a home wireless network, all with no interruptions.

The only thing a consumer will notice is the change in the quality of the caller's voice--for the better if the phone is switching to a Wi-Fi network and for the worse if it's hopping onto the cell phone network.

"What's happening here is we're setting up two different IP addresses for the same call, and that's something that's never been done before," White said.

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