WLAN appeal is broader for homes and businesses

Even though the number of hotspots offering public access to wireless broadband networks continues to rise sharply, executives from major vendors and mobile operators view the technology as playing a much larger role in the home and office.

Speaking Wednesday at the Telecom World 2003 conference and exhibition in Geneva, Irwin Jacobs, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Qualcomm Inc., played down the impact of wireless LAN (WLAN) networks on emerging new 3G (third generation) mobile broadband networks.

Mobile operators will pursue a "collaborative" approach, using public WLANs to extend high-speed mobile data services in areas where they lack coverage, Jacobs said in a forum discussion. Several mobile operators have already signaled their intent to provide bundled 3G and WLAN services, he said.

As for "stand-alone" hotspots not linked to a mobile operator or other larger service provider, Jacobs said he doesn't see "a very good business case." WLAN technology, based on the 802.11 standard will be deployed mostly in homes and campus networks, he said.

In the same forum, Jean-Pierre Bienaim

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