Since the Symbol-Motorola acquisition closed in January, it is plain to see that Motorola has plans in mind for the WLAN assets and technologies that it has taken in-house. One could be forgiven for making a snide remark about the Symbol assets being lost within Moto, however, all signs point to the large, Illinois-based technology firm making earnest efforts to give the Symbol technology visibility within its Wi4 wireless portfolio. For those who doubt it, there was a very large banner at Interop to prove the point.

The Wi4 portfolio positions Motorola against only one other competitor, Nortel, to take on the role as supplier of the ubiquitous mobile network. What do I mean by ubiquitous? Think of a network that not only includes indoor and outdoor 802.11 solutions, but also wider-area networks like muni mesh and, eventually, WiMAX. These two companies are the only two companies poised to supply this entire network with their existing portfolio.

Both Nortel and Motorola, with deep carrier equipment expertise and a growing presence in the WLAN market (as individual names, one can argue that Symbol stands as a founding father in WLAN) stand apart from other WLAN vendors due to the synergies of their existing carrier and 802.11-centric businesses. One can argue the finer points of why one vendor potentially trumps another in terms of winning the WiMAX battle, however, the carrier and IT-focused wireless offerings each vendor provides places them in a clearly different category from other vendors, and arguably in the position to win or lose the battle for supplying the ubiquitous mobile network. Which will win? Too early to say in my opinion, especially with wildcards like foreign competition from the likes of Huawei thrown into the mix.

By Chris Silva.

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