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Old 04-17-2007, 08:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Talking What is wi-fi for when pertaining to a cell phone?

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Hi!

First time poster! Before I begin, I need to apologize - I lied when I registered - I do not currently own a BB, but wasn't permitted to complete registration w/o entering something.

I am currently researching BB's, and I'm leaning toward the 8800 or more than likely waiting for the 8820 or 8900 to come out later this year.

I keep reading about these phones of the future may have wi-fi. Can anyone please explain why wi-fi would be needed for a cell phone? I understand wi-fi provides a hot-spot for laptops, but how is ot beneficial for a cell?

I currently own a Palm Treo 650 - I like it, but it's a few years old and I'm ready to upgrade. My service provider is Sprint.

Thanks! Oh, by the way - great site you have here!!
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Old 04-17-2007, 09:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have the same question. You need a dataplan anyway, in most cases. I can't see it being that fast since speed is somewhat limited by the BB's processor (slow). Surfing on such a small screen isn't the greatest. Will RIM allow you to use BIS via a free WiFi connection - I doubt it.
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Old 04-17-2007, 09:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 04-18-2007, 06:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I would imagine that things would be a lot faster over WiFi than over GPRS, based on a couple of things:

o The relative speed of web browsing on a Blackberry connected to the "Blackberry Device Manager" on a PC via a USB cable, compared with the same Blackberry over the air.

o The relative speed of browsing via WiFi on a WM5 device such as an HTC Universal compared with via GPRS on the same device.

RIM have sold WiFi-only Blackberries in the past, so it's not entirely new to them.

From a business point of view I can see the advantage of having one device that does email and is both a work phone extension when in the office and a mobile when out of it - switching automatically between the two. VOIP on a phone handset would also be useful.

Obviously the mobile carriers are unlikely to welcome moving to an "everything IP" scenario, but it's happening in the landline business so I can't imagine they can resist forever.

With regard to "still need a data plan", with push email on a WM5 device I think that you actually need to be on GPRS to receive email, although how much data is transferred on GPRS and how much on WiFi (if you have a connection on both) I don't know. I've not found devices that support both to be particularly intelligent as to which to use.

The screen's still too small for "normal web browsing" though, although for occasional updates about e.g. just how badly England are losing to South Africa at cricket, it works pretty well.
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Old 04-18-2007, 06:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ugg View Post
I would imagine that things would be a lot faster over WiFi than over GPRS, based on a couple of things:

o The relative speed of web browsing on a Blackberry connected to the "Blackberry Device Manager" on a PC via a USB cable, compared with the same Blackberry over the air.

o The relative speed of browsing via WiFi on a WM5 device such as an HTC Universal compared with via GPRS on the same device.

RIM have sold WiFi-only Blackberries in the past, so it's not entirely new to them.

From a business point of view I can see the advantage of having one device that does email and is both a work phone extension when in the office and a mobile when out of it - switching automatically between the two. VOIP on a phone handset would also be useful.

Obviously the mobile carriers are unlikely to welcome moving to an "everything IP" scenario, but it's happening in the landline business so I can't imagine they can resist forever.

With regard to "still need a data plan", with push email on a WM5 device I think that you actually need to be on GPRS to receive email, although how much data is transferred on GPRS and how much on WiFi (if you have a connection on both) I don't know. I've not found devices that support both to be particularly intelligent as to which to use.

The screen's still too small for "normal web browsing" though, although for occasional updates about e.g. just how badly England are losing to South Africa at cricket, it works pretty well.
In regard to your comment on VoIP on a WiFi enabled cell phone. I think the real issue of VoIP here is latency. I don't think the bandwidth can support good voice call quality right now. I am sure it will get there, but when. Also, until more free hotspots become available, you cannot stay connected as you can now via a cell connection.
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Old 04-18-2007, 06:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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well their are already people on some devices (htc/cingular 8525) that are using skype so I think its closer than i thought. I also think that their are other apps that could be good to use with wifi, but the browsing aspect is only marginally better since the size and quality are really not very good. over all i think its coming and it is a good move.
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Old 04-18-2007, 09:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Two fold.

The carriers want WiFi to support UMA (search on UMA). This addresses the compaint that "service is great but doesn't work at work/home". This isn't "free" like skype, but it does address some problems WRT coverage. This would be a great feature for T-Mo in the United States, for example.

Users want WiFi so they don't have to pay exhorbant data rates and leech off of existing WiFi spots (coffee house, home, school, work, library, etc). This would be great for college students, for example.
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Old 04-18-2007, 11:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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It's great for smaller carriers (like Alltel, Dobson, Cellular One, MetroPCS etc) or even T-Mobile that have to rely on extensive roaming agreements to allow "coast to coast" service.
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Old 04-18-2007, 06:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You folks are using way too may technical terms for this old man. If I understand your replies correctly, would this mean that if I walk into a
wi-fi zone, I have to change some setting on the BB in order to "reconnect" in that zone? Or would the mobile device "sense" entering a wi-fi zone, and configure itself automatically?

Is it assumed that the wi-fi zone connection is free, which is where the benefit of having the wi-fi capability lies?

My apologies for the less technical terms.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 04-18-2007, 06:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverado333 View Post
If I understand your replies correctly, would this mean that if I walk into a wi-fi zone, I have to change some setting on the BB in order to "reconnect" in that zone? Or would the mobile device "sense" entering a wi-fi zone, and configure itself automatically?
Allow me to draw a parallel using laptops:
If you're at home, you have to set up your laptop to connect to your home access point once, but whenever you come home again, your laptop should automatically detect and connect to that. If you go to a TMo hotspot, or a hotel that offers WiFi service, or your corporate offices that have WiFi, then again you would need to set up your device to connect once, but then every subsequent time, you shouldn't have to (assuming that you aren't paying for a time-limited key or something). I would expect that any handheld that also has WiFi in it would work the same. So say for instance you have your corporate and home WiFi networks configured on your device - while you're at work inside a building, you're on WiFi, and all your phone and BlackBerry services are delivered over UMA/GAN (which is essentially "GSM over WiFI") - you walk out of the building to grab lunch, and your device switches from WiFi to the cell network outside, and now all your services are delivered over EDGE (or EVDO, or whatever). You go home for the day, and your device connects to your home AP, and now all your services are delivered once again over WiFi.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverado333 View Post
Is it assumed that the wi-fi zone connection is free, which is where the benefit of having the wi-fi capability lies?
Yes and no - using UMA/GAN, TMo would still be able to track your "data usage" as well as "voice minutes", however they will cut you a break, because while you're at home or at the office on your WiFi network, you *aren't* occupying a slot on their cell towers, which means someone else can, ergo you get fewer "unable to place call" errors or dropped calls when you hop from one cell to another, because they aren't all at 100% utilization. The Utopian vision is of course that you send your data and/or voice over a pure IP network and completely cut out the carrier in the process, therefore you only pay for minutes and data while you're on their cellular network, and if your device roams to your home AP (which, of course you're already paying some other service provider for the internet connection), you send everything for "free".

If this is a BlackBerry though, you still have to pay *someone* for the BB service - even if all the email is being delivered over the internet, it still eventually finds its way through RIM's servers (as last night's outage would demonstrate), and you have to pay RIM for that privilege.
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Old 04-18-2007, 07:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Fungineer,

Great post! Great explanation!
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Old 04-18-2007, 08:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks much fungineer - that was very clearly stated! Even for an old timer like me!!
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