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For each of the past five years industry pundits have been convinced it would be the year of wireless data in the wide-area environment And every year it was for a different reason support for IP protocols phones with microbrowsers support from industry giants such as Microsoft and IBM and new platforms such as handheld computers This years reasons include WAP Wireless Application Protocol and the forthcoming GPRS General Packet Radio Service Internet Wide-Area Wireless Computing Meanwhile the latest buzz is about third-generation cellular and data throughputs of 2 Mbps is just around the corner Network managers are faced with a difficult situation The people they support are increasingly demanding wireless access to the corporate network These people have experienced the advantages of wireless networks for voice communications Now they want those advantages for data communications especially as massive promotional efforts by major operators have significantly increased awareness of these services Meanwhile millions of palm-sized devices are begging to have wireless connections for applications such as e-mail and schedule synchronization Internet A World Without Wires And who wouldnt want to be able to access a Microsoft Exchange or Louts Notes server when stuck at an airport gate Wireless networking promises both greater work productivity and increased flexibility in our lifestyles By next year cellular operators will be offering IP packet-data services with rates as high as 144 Kbps though 56 Kbps will be more typical of downlink speeds This is in sharp contrast with todays services which are limited to about 96 Kbps Internet A World Without Wires However the industry is fragmented with multiple wireless technologies grouped each with its own data strategy Understanding how these data services will evolve will let you take better advantage of these developments To obtain some fundamental insight into this industry you should realize there are huge market forces at play that will determine how and when next-generation data services will be arranged Unfortunately these forces are not
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