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Lucent to let laptops use cell networks

Lucent Technologies said Wednesday that it is developing technology that will let a Web-browsing laptop roam between Wi-Fi and some new cell phone networks, expanding the available networks people can use to access the Internet. The cell phone network equipment employs a roaming standard created by the Internet Engineering Task Force to jump between a Wi-Fi network and a cell phone network that uses the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) standard, Lucent said. Most of the world's carriers plan to eventually install cell phone networks using UMTS, which creates wireless Web networks that can download files at about 2mbps (megabits per second).

Lucent said its equipment has passed lab testing, but the company did not provide further information about when it will be offered for sale to wireless carriers. Cell phone service providers in Europe and North America, including T-Mobile, have begun selling wireless Internet access using Wi-Fi networks, which create 300-foot-radius zones of connectivity.