The enterprise may never resemble Star Trek, where Captain Kirk was able to communicate with Scotty and Bones without ever dialing their numbers (he simply spoke directly into the "communicator"), but it is getting close. DiVitas Networks' Richard Watson says that the growing presence of enterprise-wide WiFi now makes possible delivering a technology which bridges wireless carrier connectivity with on-campus WLAN connectivity--a true fixed/mobile convergence (FMC).
There are already FMC solutions available, and they typically belong in one of two categories: carrier-centric (that is, they are hosted by fixed, wireless or hybrid carriers; or enterprise-centric (that is, they are hosted by enterprises). The two approaches differ with regard to where the application control point resides, which leads to functionally different solutions:
- Solutions in the carrier-centric category regard WiFi networks as a mechanism to transport traffic roaming between fixed and cellular networks, with application control remaining with the carrier/service-provider network.
- Solutions in the enterprise-centric category treat the WiFi and wired-network services as a single logical resource under the control of the enterprise, with application control residing in the enterprise.
Watson says that there are many benefits to the enterprise-centric approach as it affords important mobility functionality at the same time that the enterprise keeps application control. It is this good to see the emergence of mobile convergence appliances (MCA) which are aimed to meet enterprise mobility requirements and remain under enterprise control. The MCA and mobile client, using logic implemented across OSI layer, collaborate to manage network agility.
For more on achieving enterprise-wide mobility:
- read Watson's Commsdesigns article