In many ways, the mobile-user experience remains clumsy and unsatisfying. A major part of the problem is the lack of integration between wireless local-area networking (WLAN) and wireless wide-area networking (WWAN). To make wireless access more seamless, Sierra Wireless (www.sierrawireless.com) and Intel (www.intel.com) are cooperating on several initiatives. Their goal is to deliver integrated wireless-connectivity solutions to mobile professionals worldwide.

The first step in this collaboration is to provide a simpler and more secure WWAN-to-WLAN roaming capability. To achieve this objective, the companies are combining Intel's new Centrino WLAN mobile-technology-based notebook with a Sierra Wireless AirCard 775 EDGE PC Card for WWAN. These technologies will be merged with wireless data services from a local carrier.

This solution is expected to launch in early 2005. Purchasers of the solution will receive an Intel Centrino mobile-technology-based notebook and a Sierra Wireless AirCard 775 PC Card. The local carriers that supply the package will offer it with an account. Through that account, users will be able to access wireless data through both the carrier's Wi-Fi hot spots and the cellular data network. To seamlessly authenticate and manage the account, the Intel PROSet/Wireless software version 9.0 that accompanies the notebook will simply access the user's account information on the AirCard's SIM.

The program will initially launch with Sierra Wireless' AirCard 775 for EDGE and GSM/GPRS networks. Depending on carrier requirements, the program may be expanded to include other AirCard products.