Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Motorola Plans Wi-Fi Cell Phones

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the wifi-jump-ropes-are-next dept.

Wireless Networking 195

Otto writes "This AP article over at CNN talks about Motorola's plans to create a cell phone that can seemlessly switch calls between cell networks and VoIP over WiFi, when it sees WiFi available to it. Thus reducing on call costs. Personally, I think it'd be cool just to have a cell phone that could use my own WiFi at home and be cellular when I'm out in the rest of the world."

cancel ×

195 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124245)

First post!

Nick Berg's head is dying! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124247)

It's official; Al-Ansar confirms: Nick Berg's head is dying.

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Nick Berg community when terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi confirmed that Nick Berg head share has dropped yet again, now down to less than one head. Coming on the heels of a recent Nick Berg survey which plainly states that Nick Berg has lost more body parts, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Nick Berg is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent terrorist propaganda video.

You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict Nick Berg's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Nick Berg faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Nick Berg because Nick Berg's head is dying. Things are looking very bad for Nick Berg. As many of us are already aware, Nick Berg continues to lose body parts. Blood flows like a river of blood.

Fact: Nick Berg's head is dying

Re:Nick Berg's head is dying! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124261)

roflmao... hey, did you watch the full video I posted below? I didn't get first post like last time, but it's still head juicy delicious!

Re:Nick Berg's head is dying! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124263)

lol, you fail it nick berg's head!

Re:Nick Berg's head is dying! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124612)

nick berg's head!

Someone should create an account with that name...

Re:Nick Berg's head is dying! (-1, Troll)

Nick Berg's Head (779033) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124657)

A splendid idea! Thanks, mate!

fp (0, Offtopic)

carrett (671802) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124248)

fp

Nick Berg full decapitation video! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124250)

full video available through this link [freecache.org]

ogrish.com has a poor quality edited down version, but the one above is a full five minutes of head cutting goodness!

Re:Nick Berg full decapitation video! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124268)

...five minutes of head cutting goodness!


WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!

Re:Nick Berg full decapitation video! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124315)

Mmmmm... an absolutely compelling documentary. My favorite part is when they grab his head, pull him down, and start sawing at his neck with a short knife. He starts screaming while they continue sawing away and a pool of blood forms on the floor around his torso.

After they sever his windpipe resulting in silenced vocal chords, you think he's gone but... he's still alive and conscious as they keep sawing away. The bugger has one really tough neck as they have difficulty hacking through his spine to free the head.

Eventually, they completely sever the head and hold it aloft for all to see. At that point, you'd swear Nick Berg is fully alert and looking at the camera, taunting us.

Allah-U Akbar!

MOD THIS ASSHOLE DOWN (-1, Offtopic)

zoobaby (583075) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124328)

Fucking retard!

Re:MOD THIS ASSHOLE DOWN (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124353)

You censoring zionist fucktard! I'll bet you support Bush Junior's Iraqi invasion plan. The only Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq belong to the United States armed forces!

ps: Did you enjoy the video?
.

Re:MOD THIS ASSHOLE DOWN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124371)

I was anti-war until I saw this video.

You can say whatever you want about the Jews and Muslims, but beheaders don't deserve to live.

Re:MOD THIS ASSHOLE DOWN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124393)

You'd want to hack off a few heads if a few Muslim extremists invaded your neighborhood, wouldn't you? They're protecting their own sovereign territory from a foreign invasion by an invading force which tortures and humiliates its own prisoners of war, in violation of the Geneva Convention. You may not like their methods, but they do have a basic human right to protect themselves from an oppressive invading regime.
.

Ever notice... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124624)

...how emotionally-charged stuff like this happens whenever the Bush admin gets into a tricky spot? Not that I'm implying anything. No sirree.

Security? (5, Interesting)

blackula (584329) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124252)

How long would it take for someone to write a Windows program that made it as easy as executing it to listen in on people's conversations over Wi-Fi? Lots of public hot spots don't use WEP, you know.

Re:Security? (2, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124279)

I'd assume the conversation would be encrypted at the cell provider only to be decrypted by the phone itself.

In order for such a seamless-changeover call to be even possible, it'd have to from the start be passing through the cell provider on the way to the VoIP last mile while it's being used...

Re:Security? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124325)

There already is one available. Download the tarball [freecache.org] and run: ./configure
make
sudo make install


Don't let the FTC find out about that package or heads will roll!

Wonderful! (5, Funny)

Phidoux (705500) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124255)

Now cell phones will be wireless too!

Re:Wonderful! (1)

burns210 (572621) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124317)

can i get mine with wireless firewire [slashdot.org] , please?

Flarions' OFDM Wireless Broadband service (2, Informative)

Gaurang (565357) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124693)

Making cell phones use WiFi might not be a very good choice, when people will start ceasing to have WiFi connections in the first place. Flarion [flarion.com] has come up with OFDM technology which provides real broadband speeds on wireless networks (scaleable to cellular networks level), much faster than forthcoming CDMA2000-EvDO (or whatever), and any other technology available in the forthcoming future. Nextel has already started a successful trial network [yahoo.com] .

Wired WiFi services have limited life, it seems.

Where are they? (5, Insightful)

platypussrex (594064) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124258)

The article talks about all these low cost WiFi hotspots. We have a local college where you must be a student or faculty, a Borders where you can pay T-Mobile $30 a month, and that's about it. Or maybe they are talking about crusing the neighbourhood looking for unsecured home wireless connections? Hmmmmm!

Re:Where are they? (4, Informative)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124307)

It's actually not that hard to find a T-mobile hotspot. There's a Starbucks practically on every block. The cost savings argument doesn't make sense though. $30 a month is only $5 less than my cell phone plan. Also, you'll still need a paid VoIP account (about $20 a month) to call regular phones, otherwise you'll only be able to call other IP phones.
Free hotspots are harder to find. In my neighborhood there's one at the food court at the mall and another one at a fast food restaurant. Plenty of unsecured wireless APs on my street too, but the CF Wifi card on my PDA is too weak to connect to them.

Re:Where are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124583)

There's a Starbucks practically on every block.

Maybe for the poor sods who live in anything considered a "major city". What about the other 75% of the US population, myself included??

u need one of these (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124654)

http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/accessories/666 e/

Re:Where are they? (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124313)

Well, the point would be that since T-Mobile controls most of the bookstore WiFi systems, phones that would use T-Mobile for celluar mode could make use of the bookstore WiFi points. I know that my T-Mobile's cell phone signal gets weak inside my local Barnes and Noble store, and if T-Mobile's already there why don't they do something about eliminating that dead spot...

Re:Where are they? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124349)

I have a WiFi router in my appartment, and if this goes mainstream I will open it to the neighborhood, simply because I do not use it so much that I would suffer of sharing it. And I would pay for my DSL anyway, shared or not.

A path to rural cell coverage? (4, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124259)

Here's a possible extention to this idea... allow the participating WiFi sites to announce the availability of a VoIP link back to the cell-provider's network, basically allowing anybody who roams by to borrow the WiFi as a mini cell tower, and letting the hotspot owner pocket a few pennies of savings on their bill for helping the stranger.

This could become a low-cost way of extending a cell network into rural areas where it's hard to put up a traditional cell tower due to zoning hassles, but virtually anybody could mount a WiFi antenna on their roof next to their TV antenna.

Re:A path to rural cell coverage? (3, Insightful)

zoobaby (583075) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124306)

A good idea, but in many rural areas people do not have WiFi networks. They are lucky to even get 28.8 speeds IF, and this is a VERY BIG IF, they even have internet access.

Trust me, my family is in rural Illinios and they don't use networks like the folk in the big cities.

Re:A path to rural cell coverage? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124342)

As soon as this becomes widespread congress will regulate it out of existance.

Who has an IDT Cell Phone? (2, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124271)

As far as I knew, IDT wasn't a player in the cell phone market, just the landline long distance market...

I'd have more confidence in this going to market if one of the big cellular players like Verizon, SBC/Cingular, or T-Mobile was the one doing this test.

Re:Who has an IDT Cell Phone? (5, Insightful)

waferhead (557795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124302)

You missed the point:

The last people who want this to work are the big carriers.

(looking up IDTs stock price...)

Re:Who has an IDT Cell Phone? (2)

Bobdoer (727516) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124340)

I certainly hope they don't run into too many ID ten T errors there.

War Phoning? (5, Interesting)

gremlins (588904) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124277)

Isn't this going to cause problems say when you walk by a company with lax wireless security and you unintentionally connect to their network and steal their services. Not saying I care but some one has to.

Re:War Phoning? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124298)

I disagree that it's automatically stealing. If they set up a wireless network and don't secure it, they are inviting you in. In essence, they're giving away the bandwidth.

If you break their encryption and/or hack a password, THEN you're stealing the service.

Re:War Phoning? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124459)

In some places, it's a crime merely to connect to a network without permission, and that could reasonably apply to a phone that just happens to seek out any open wifi connections as you walk down the street.

The law views it as if the street had a bunch of houses each with a gated yard. Open the gate and step in the yard (connect) and you've trespassed. Open gate, step in yard, enter the house (transmit something over their network), and you've commited a computer crimes felony.

As well as probably stepped in some dog poo.

Thanks, Motorola, but I really don't need a phone hell bent on sending me to jail.

Re:War Phoning? (1)

DaCool42 (525559) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124514)

what about a web server connected the internet and listening on port 80. Is connecting to that viewed as trespassing?

Finally! A way to escape the at-home dead zone! (5, Interesting)

Amoeba Protozoa (15911) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124278)


Yes!

Hopefully this would finally be a way to escape the "at-home dead zone" when I try and use my mobile down in the basement and I can get rid of that silly land-line once and for all!

-AP

Re:Finally! A way to escape the at-home dead zone! (5, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124294)

Hopefully this would finally be a way to escape the "at-home dead zone" when I try and use my mobile down in the basement and I can get rid of that silly land-line once and for all!

Cell providers already have "mini tower" equipment they can set up in their stores to assure that they never have an embarassing dead spot at their own retail location. They even set those up at business sites to assure an otherwise uncoverable corperate campus gets hit with signal.

I guess it was only a matter of time until they converted such units to a home game model...

Re:Finally! A way to escape the at-home dead zone! (4, Informative)

Technician (215283) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124464)

I guess it was only a matter of time until they converted such units to a home game model...

A simple passive repeater is no problem to install in a dead zone such as a basement.

A high gain antenna on the roof pointing to the cell tower is connected to an omni antenna in the basement. This provides signal in the dead zone.

A small dish works great as it can be pointed to the tower providing high signal strength to feed the basement antenna. Be sure to use antennas cut to the freuency your cell provider is using. Use a large diamater low loss cable or all system gains will be lost in the first 15 feet of the cable. In extreme cases, eliptical waveguide may be used but it greatly adds to the cost of the project. To prevent cable loss, keep the cable as short as possible. Many houses have high attenuation because of masonary walls or aluminum backed insulation in the walls. A roof mount dish coupled with about 6 feet of wire to a ceiling mounted antenna are sometimes all that is needed to couple the signal from outside into the living space covering even the basement with good signal.

Re:Finally! A way to escape the at-home dead zone! (1)

caston (711568) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124416)

Surely there is a bigger market for this than just the slashdot readers that want to use their mobile in their mums basement.

this is /..... (3, Informative)

andrewleung (48567) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124280)

you really think this would get much time "in the rest of the world"? ha!

just get a good old wifi phone and you'll never know the difference.

wifi phones from pulver.com [pulverinnovations.com]

what would be awesome (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124281)

Is a cell phone that you could just plug into the wall when you're at home, and it would get both power and connection from there. In fact, I'd imagine someday people having one cell phone in their pocket, and maybe a "wired cell phone" in their homes, which would run off wall power and be more reliable since it wouldn't need a radio signal.

I wonder what kind of protocol it could use.. maybe firewire protocol over wi-fi, converted to frames that could be sent over a wire like ethernet. There could be some kind of power-over-ethernet to supply it with DC. Then it could run out to the street, where it would go into a tower and be converted into real wi-fi signals, except encapsulated in GSM data so it could use the existing cellular infrastructure. No that's no good, coverage is spotty. Maybe satellites could be involved. Could be expensive. Maybe it could run over DSL? Hey there's an idea!

Modern technology allows so many simple and elegant solutions to today's problems!

Gotta run, I'm working on my latest invention: a way to take ebooks and permanently output them onto sheets of paper. I think this will revolutionize the ebook industry!

woohoo (5, Interesting)

SinaSa (709393) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124286)

Yet another way for people to snoop my phone conversations. I seriously doubt any encryption you could implement on a mobile phone's processor for transmitting voice would be more than trivial to crack. SSH yes, mobile banking, yes, but no way is there you can encrypt my voice conversation.

Suddenly the concept of wardriving has become a lot more interesting. "VoIP wireless hotspot" suddenly becomes synonymous with "Blackmail hole".

Re:woohoo (2, Interesting)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124310)

*cough* GSM?

Re:woohoo (4, Informative)

EchoMirage (29419) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124450)

*cough* GSM?

Cracked. [narod.ru]

Re:woohoo (1)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124476)

Yes, on paper. It's not like you can apt-get install gsmcracker on your local router.

Re:woohoo (1)

skraps (650379) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124409)

Riiight.. nothing new here. Standard household cordless phones are so easy to eavesdrop on, that I do it by accident sometimes.

processing (5, Interesting)

GoClick (775762) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124441)

Actually a lot of cell phones have huge processing power that goes totally unused, not to mention that this would be on NEW devices. Think your 10 day standby time is good on a cell phone? There are wireless digital handsets in use in hospitals and universities that get 70 - 80 days of standby (even 150), why? Because they don't have the fancy processors and memory modern game play'n, websurf'n voice dial'n cell phones do. When you're sitting on the can playing Push-Push you're using more CPU than it would take to compress a voice stream.

Encrypting a stream text or voice doesn't much matter it's about data rate not content, when you get a lag in an SSL terminal in virtually every case it's not the cryptography that's causing the delay. Modern public/privet key cryptography scales pretty well for various data rates. The rate of your digital voice conversation on your cell phone is pretty low (which is why it sounds like crystal clear 8 bit crap).

Not to mention that you'd only need to start a new encrypted once and a while (to your provider not the WiFi Network) and NOT every time you make a call. Who cares if someone listens in on your traffic on the WiFi if it's just gibberish going to the Cell company any ways? Or did you think by any means your cell company would let you move to VoIP and connect to anyone OTHER than them?

Puleeze these people practically invented sinister strangle hold service.

Re:woohoo (1)

dann0 (555381) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124506)

but no way is there you can encrypt my voice conversation.

What's so special about your voice? Why can't it be encrypted? ;)

Re:woohoo (1)

pompousjerk (210156) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124519)

Well, 1) the people around you are already getting half of the conversation and 2) I bet it would be hard to 'wander off' to a secluded area near a one of these hotspots so someone couldn't eavesdrop, so only really stupid people would have problems.

Of course, there are a lot of stupid people...

Ouch... (5, Insightful)

Thelonious Monk (667418) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124292)

This could seriously hurt cell phone service providers. With the growing popularity and widespread adoption of wi-fi everywhere, I wouldn't see a need to even have a provider. This is of course the phone is able to seamlessly jump from one wifi network to another - but then comes into consideration of reliable signals yadda yadda... It was only time for this to happen.

Re:Ouch... (1)

zoobaby (583075) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124322)

No you would still need a service provider. Cell companies would adopt a flat fee rate, with insane minutes, much like they are already doing. Your number needs to be 'hosted' by a company. I doubt the FCC would let you become your own telco.

Boo Hoo (2, Interesting)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124377)

The cell phone market (in the US) is now just a bunch of behind-the-times telco companies that missed the cell phone boat to begin with and are trying to make up for it by throwing lobbyists and salespeople at a saturated market anyways.

802.11x is probably the only useful innovation left in cell phones, and the major providers are busy either ignoring it or trying to find a way to hijack the wi-fi hotspots that exist already to incorporate them into their networks and charge us for what *should* be free.

Everybody sees what a *great* job of "innovating" the baby bells have done with their massive, nearly guaranteed profits over the past twenty years. These are the same people who couldn't even turn a profit with Bell Labs.

We'd all be better off if they had a little real competition, if even from users themselves.

UK reaction? (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124707)

The UK providers paid a phenomenal amount for 3G licenses (something like $35bn).

Wi-fi is a competitor technology, and for fast data, may be "good enough" for many people.

sigh... (3, Insightful)

Viceice (462967) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124301)

I have the feeling that unless it's tied into a service that still charges you a per minute charge on the call, the Cellphone cartels ^H^H^H^H^H.. companies going to make sure it dies out real quick.

Whatever happened to the Motorola that had a Talkabout integrated into it so that you technically don't need to use your minutes if the person you want to talk to is within range??

Re:sigh... (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124332)

I have the feeling that unless it's tied into a service that still charges you a per minute charge on the call, the Cellphone cartels ^H^H^H^H^H.. companies going to make sure it dies out real quick.

Oh, this one will be. In order for a seamless jump from WiFi to Cellular to even be possible, the VoIP part of the call already had to be passing through the cell provider's network, since you can't exactly change "local loop"/"last mile" providers in the middle of a phone call.

Whatever happened to the Motorola that had a Talkabout integrated into it so that you technically don't need to use your minutes if the person you want to talk to is within range??
I saw today a 900 Mhz multi-handset networked system that if seperated from it's home base but local to another handset configured to the same set could make a peer-to-peer call, which is useful for IT people doing a client visit... the team can split up yet have walkie-talkie mode access to each other.

excellent... (5, Funny)

updog (608318) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124309)

ring tone downloads at 54Mbps!

Priorities (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124314)

I wish they would develop a cell phone that didn't cause cancer. I have had five moles removed from the back of my ear in the last two years and am going in for a CAT scan next week because the doctor fears some kind of malignancy in my brain. All these doctor vists are cutting into my SLOC/month rating at work. I want to be a feature coordinator on our XP team, but am about 20 SLOC/month short of being considered.

Dual Mode Phones FYI (5, Informative)

TheOtherKiwi (743507) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124316)

Just FYI, Ericsson and others have had dual-mode DECT/GSM phones since the late 90's and adoption has not been spectacular.

These phones allow you to roam indoors on a DECT local digital connection to your landline and roam outside (or in large buildings) with seamless handover between DECT base stations. They also doubled as GSM but I don't think the handover was automatic, see:

http://www.dectweb.com/Products/dual_mode.htm

for the lazy (3, Informative)

Rev Saxon (666154) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124630)

Clicky [dectweb.com]

Emergency services.... (1)

j3ll0 (777603) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124321)

admittedly the article was a bit light on detail, but this solution still doesn't seem to address emergency services (000, 911, etc) call routing...

What costs? (1, Interesting)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124329)

Thus reducing on call costs.

Am I the only person who's not counting minutes or worried about mobile phone costs?

Whatever this `plan' may cost, I'm sure there are comprable conventional mobile phone plans that are nearly as limitless as wi-fi.

It would be cool to have a phone that can talk to my computers via wi-fi, but arguing that it would somehow lower costs... that's a bit too much.

Re:What costs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124350)

This would allow for good cheap data throughput on your phone for web browsing, uploading photos, and such.

It would probably not be real useful in your home, but if a local coffee shop offered wifi to phones for free, it could be pretty nice and convenient. (Though maybe too expensive for the shop to offer gratis..)

Re:What costs? (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124368)

Whatever this `plan' may cost, I'm sure there are comprable conventional mobile phone plans that are nearly as limitless as wi-fi.

Vonage offers unlimited residential service for $34.99 per month. $35 to a cell provider will get you roughly 500 peak-time minutes per month with nights and weekends unlimited.

For somebody who makes a lot of peak-time calls, 500 minutes per month simply isn't going to do it. Sure there's a rate plan out there big enough to get all the minutes a user can stand, but it costs a whole lot more than it does on VoIP...

Re:What costs? (1)

badansible (630677) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124614)

It would be cool to have a phone that can talk to my computers via wi-fi, but arguing that it would somehow lower costs... that's a bit too much.

Think about costless international roaming *and* international calls... I'm sure there's a big market for this.

eh ? (1)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124330)

Excuse me if i'm being dumb, but wern't Cellphones always wireless ?

Re:eh ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124366)

Excuse me if i'm being dumb, but wern't Cellphones always wireless ?

Naw. But it was pretty early that the cell phone providers found it necessary to go wireless. (The cords kept getting tangled.)

Toy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124331)

This kind of device is useless without a widely adopted standard for sharing internet access automatically. Wifi doesn't support roaming between APs who are controlled by different entities, the cells (of coverage) are miniscule, ENUM isn't ready for primetime and there's no working and vendor-independent QoS standard yet. Some of these problems can be solved (and will be solved real-soon-now), but others are inherent to the wireless lan concept.

Re:Toy (2, Interesting)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124369)

Toy is right. Besides the problem of roaming, power consumption is a huge problem with Wifi. 802.11b is a high bandwidth, long range (compared to Bluetooth at least) protocol. It consumes a lot of power just maintaining a link to the AP. According to this [acmqueue.org] it consumes 800mW while idle with a link up, 950mW while receiving, and 1400mW while transmitting. Wifi might be practical for outgoing calls, but not the other way. You'd drain your battery ust sitting at a hotpot waiting for a call.

Re:Toy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124428)

Power consumption is bad, but not that bad: Wifi CF-cards [cewindows.net]

Re:Toy (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124445)

1.4 Watts? OH MY GOD!

My 1000 mAh 3.6 volt battery will only give me 2 1/2 hours of talk time! YIPES! What will I do? :-)

But can we use it? (3, Insightful)

C0DEFEED (448578) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124337)

In the current market for cel phones in the U.S., we buy phones diretly from the cellular providers. What is their incentive to offer us a phone that cuts out a source of their revenue, even if it provides value to us?

For those of us using GSM networks (i.e. Cingular, AT&T), we could always buy this phone from an independent vendor for top-dollar and transfer our SIM cards. Those of us willing to do this unfortunately represent a tiny part of the cel phone market.

Re:But can we use it? (2, Interesting)

skraps (650379) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124435)

With "unlimited" plans becoming more and more common, you may want to reconsider that logic.
They would stand to *save* money by having you use your own connection at home.

Re:But can we use it? (2, Interesting)

C0DEFEED (448578) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124467)

Good point. If you have a truly *unlimited* plan, the carrier has incentive to divert you off their system. All of the plans from my carrier, however, have per-minute caps, and its strategy, as demonstrated by snail-mail add-ins and SMS spam, has been clearly directed towards getting me to use *more* minutes.

I am interested to see how this plays out, as I have typically awful GSM coverage at home, but excellent WiFi coverage. This would be all I need to give SBC the boot it has long deserved.

A non-starter (4, Insightful)

fname (199759) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124345)

I don't get it at all. While I think it's a great idea to have WiFi phones on a campus (I had a crazy business plan for that 5 years ago!), I just don't see the point in the rest of the world. If I have a cellphone, I don't need WiFi. And unless WiFi coverage is ubiquitous, I wouldn't want a WiFi-only phone. I have a Treo 600 with unlimited data & 800 peak minutes a month plus unlimited n&w and mobile 2 mobile & phone insurance. I pay about $34 (a really good deal, but anyone could get that deal for $40-45 with some work).

The point being, I ahve absolutely no need or desire for WiFi for either data or voice. A fat pipe would be nice for streaming audio, but I could live with a lower bitrate. Unless Motorola can make this 100% transparent, it will be such a colossal & immediate failure that New Coke, Audrey & Teledisic will look succesful by comparison. If they can make it 100% transparent, I doubt it will have any application outside of buildings with awful cell coverage; it just doesn't make any sense as a moneysaver, since most providers (e.g., SprintPCS) have excess capacity now.

Re:A non-starter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124660)

Who is your provider?!

I remember a similar thing... (3, Interesting)

riprjak (158717) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124357)

...years ago Telstra (Australias major Telco) trialled a device that was a GSM cellular phone but when within range of a specific base station functioned as a cordless land line...

I think; I may have just been smoking some mighty fine crack and made the whole thing up...

Anyone else in Oz remember this??

err!
jak.

Re:I remember a similar thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124376)

I think; I may have just been smoking some mighty fine crack and made the whole thing up...

Anyone else in Oz remember this??


I don't remember you smoking anything. But that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

hope that helps!

Re:I remember a similar thing... (1)

nmoog (701216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124434)

That company "orange" still has this doenst it? Where if you are within a kilometre of your house its a local call or something.

There was that urban legend (or was it?!) that if you activated your account whilst standing in the Sydney CBD then everywhere was a local call. And if you tap the street light buttons with SOS morse code it changes the lights to green instantly...

Re:I remember a similar thing... (1)

hotzeyboy (725567) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124533)

I still have an orange phone line. Its pretty cool I guess although it uses cdma :(. When you buy one you have to call up an activation number and walk around your house .. i guess so their satelite can get fix on you, not good. either way when you make a call from home its counted as a local call with the usual 20c fixed fee. If you use it anywhere else its a mobile call.
I dont know about activating it in sydney cbd but i do know that if you make a call with it when you are home, the call remains local even if you leave your house.

I believe they have stopped selling them because too few people were using them as mobiles and instead using them almost exclusivley as local phones.

Re:I remember a similar thing... (1)

Designadrug (760686) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124418)

...years ago Telstra (Australias major Telco) trialled a device that was a GSM cellular phone but when within range of a specific base station functioned as a cordless land line...I think; I may have just been smoking some mighty fine crack and made the whole thing up...Anyone else in Oz remember this??"

Yes, I remember it.

No, you were not smoking crack.

I heard about it back in 1996 when it was being trialled in Melbourne.

The service you refer to was called "Telepath"

Some crack-smoking polymath told me all about it while giving me a lift to the airport to go to a conference.

Designadrug - 'cos I do.

Re:I remember a similar thing... (1)

F13 (9091) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124432)

I know of what you are talking about. I remember talking to a Telstra tech (a long time ago) who said telstra was trialing such tech, but I think they dumped it in the end.

I think it might have been something like a dual DECT/GSM phone.

DECT [reference.com]
GSM [reference.com]

Re:I remember a similar thing... (3, Interesting)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124433)

Yup, this was back in the days when Telstra was still Telecom. This was the "Telecom Talkabout" system which was deployed in Brisbane and possibly other capitals. The digital access points had about a 100-200m range, but I think the cell phone component was still AMPS.

As I recall there was a bit of a tussle over the tracability (or lack thereof) of the phones, but since you'd be able to nail them down to an access point I'd think a 100-200m is better positioning than GSM generally allows. :)

Security and Choices (1)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124359)

This will be awesome when these phones start coming out with VPN support and the ability to use your own VOIP provider.

Of course, that will probably not be the case initially.

Hmmm, may be a good time to invest in Vonage et al.

Handover? (3, Interesting)

mafelixs (732591) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124360)

So what happens if you move outside the WiFi coverage during a call? Handover between 3G networks and GSM should be possible, but is it possible to switch from WiFi to normal GSM without disconnecting the call? I believe this requires support from the network as well, meaning that the operators will have their say, too. Correct me if I'm wrong here.

Continuing the VoIP traffic over GPRS data could be possible without new features to the network or disconnecting, but that does not sound very tempting, since the rates for standard GPRS are counted in Euros/MB where I live...

I can see the headlines now (2, Funny)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124396)

[completely fictitious]Customer Jailed by Telco

In Bell vs. John P. Citizen today, a federal court judge sentenced the defendant to 16 years jail for failing to pay the plaintiff US$5,000,000.00 in telecommunications charges. The defendant alleged that his Wi-Fi personal exchange was used by unauthorized parties to place multitudes of local, long-distance and overseas calls. By showing that the defendant had failed to secure his Wi-Fi exchange according to the fine print warnings and instructions on the last page of the 10,000 page manual accompanying the product, the prosecution proved the defendant liable for the full amount.

Roaming... (1)

FRiC (416091) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124407)

Wi-Fi may be similarly priced to GSM calls, but GSM over Wi-Fi makes sense if you're roaming, especially international roaming. Around here we have all these phones that regularly go overseas, and international roaming costs US$2-3/minute, whether making or receiving calls.

In fact, we've been looking at Skype running on Pocket PC to reduce phone costs...

This concept might actually work (2, Interesting)

detritus. (46421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124421)

Personally, I think it'd be cool just to have a cell phone that could use my own WiFi at home and be cellular when I'm out in the rest of the world

Actually, I think this concept has more potential use and adoption than using public hotspots. This would definitely give people who don't want to pay for an expensive POTS (and have cable internet or be lucky enough to have a local telco that doesn't require a POTS line with DSL service). I know alot of people who only have a cellular phone and complain about not being able to have good reception in all areas of their residence. Motorola's implementation doesn't make much sense, IMO.

Overkill But... (3, Interesting)

complete loony (663508) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124438)

Just think, with one of the motorola phones, one of these PCI cards [yahoo.com] , in a linux server running asterisk [asterisk.org] , and a WiFi access point, you too could have a cordless phone!

Just think of the geeky possibilities.

And images all the babes you could impress!

Re:Overkill But... (1)

183771 (572184) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124641)

I have always though about this possibility, and communicate with your linux PBX through a bluetooth connexion... but will be technicaly posible???

excuse me... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124444)

you insensitive clod, i don't have wifi!

Go phone anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124449)

Been tried before, i think it was called the "Go Phone". Basically a cell phone that would first search for the regular cordless base station that came with it before going cellular.

The fact that you havn't heard of it means that it was a big flop. Cellular service just got cheaper.

Nokia 9500 (3, Informative)

haunebu (16326) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124489)

"Personally, I think it'd be cool just to have a cell phone that could use my own WiFi at home and be cellular when I'm out in the rest of the world."

There you go [nokia.com] . GPRS/EDGE when you're out and about, and Wi-Fi at your favorite hotspot.

Pointless Idea! (3, Interesting)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124516)

Why would you want to use Wi-Fi, when you have a tried and tested secure, ready-to-use technology like 3GSM? If it really is all about cheap calls, then 3G takes care of those issues anyway. Cellphone providers outside America (Europe-Asia) have woken up to the fact that they aren't going to make any money off voice anymore, as rates are low, and it's tough to raise then in the current situation. This was part of the motivation for upping the bandwidth available to mobile networks, so as to provide users with "value-added services" much like what DoCoMo is already doing in Japan. With so much bandwidth available, voice calls become dirt cheap anyway, since youll instead be paying for that Music Video you just downloaded, e.t.c. WiFi is fine and dandy in the states, but outside it, it's still spotty coverage (and inside too).... You can find all info regarding 3G at GSM World [gsmworld.com] . Yes 3G networks have yet to get off the ground, but that's not because the technology sucks. It's for opther reasons (i.e. ludicrous spectrum license fees, inertia on part of the mobile providers to release 3G handests e.t.c.) Eventually, the mobile networks will be as fast WiFi, and our mobile phones are already just more than that. Why try and fit WiFi onto cellphones when 3G already has the inbuilt billing, encryption and other stuff ready?

Tahya al-moqawama al-Iraqiyah! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9124554)

Tahya al-moqawama al-Iraqiyah!

another of my ideas gone (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124596)

I built a wifi voip phone a couple years ago and tried pitching it to Sprint (with never a response). Guess I picked the wrong company to try to sell the idea too! ;)

Save on antennae (2, Interesting)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124623)

Nokia always said they were not going to do this because it cuts in their customers (read: telco's) revenues. But get to think of it, it would be real cool to do 3G. Give all your ADSL customers routers with built in WIFI. Use the leftover bandwith to allow any of your 3G customers passing by to connect via WIFI instead of UMTS. Save a bundle on antennae, less complaints of people who think UMTS gives you cancer....

Wifi + VoIP to save on calls (3, Informative)

awehttam (779031) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124640)

Or, setup an Asterisk box, get yourself a NuFone account and use E164.org [e164.org] to resolve pstn numbers to voip addresses over the Internet.

Set up Asterisk to try an EnumLookup [voip-info.org] first, then fall back to NuFone [nufone.net] or your home landline using a $16 X100P WinModem from DigitNetworks. [digitnetworks.com]

Get all your friends to register their phone numbers with E164.org too, it's a free ENUM service that also verifies people's numbers.

Then if you're really feeling groovy, help a local Community Wireless Network deploy an 802.11a backbone with 11g hotspots all over the place ;) [seattlewireless.net] Works great with Asterisk and serexpress. :)

As predicted (or suggested) a year ago? (2, Interesting)

NewtonsLaw (409638) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124724)

I wrote this column [aardvark.co.nz] a year ago in which I suggested that a dual-mode WiFi/Cellular phone would be a good idea.

Thanks for listening Motorola! :-)
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>