Cell phone heavyweight Qualcomm plans to put Wi-Fi capabilities into tens of millions of phone chips.
The wireless industry considers Wi-Fi a way to augment cell phone networks. Because Wi-Fi networks can also ferry voice calls, these networks could be used in the future to improve cell phone reception in buildings, where cellular coverage is traditionally poor.
Wi-Fi could also be used as a way for carriers, for now, to meet the hype of so-called 3G networks.
Downloading anything of any size to a cell phone or PDA (personal digital assistant) is a real task. That’s where Wi-Fi comes in. It could be used to do the “heavy lifting,” Cahners In-Stat analyst Allen Nogee said. For instance, a cell phone able to access a Wi-Fi network could use Wi-Fi to download a huge document to a personal computer, which has more computing power than a cell phone, for example.
“There is some very real potential to offloading some of the voice calls onto Wi-Fi,” said Keith Waryas, a wireless analyst with IDC.
Using the existing cellphone networks with WiFi for the last hundred metres can help create a truly high-speed and ubiqtuitous network infrastructure.