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Mobile

Agere, Ericsson team on Wi-Fi

The companies unite to offer a package of products and services intended to help Internet service providers cultivate the burgeoning wireless technology.

Agere Systems and Ericsson are teaming up to offer a package of products and services intended to help Internet service providers cultivate a burgeoning wireless technology.

The new package involves the 802.11b standard, also known as Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi technology allows wireless Internet access usually within a radius of approximately 300 feet around a hub. The products and services from Agere and Ericsson will allow service providers to integrate user authentication and billing technology into their hubs, giving mobile users the ability to roam the network.

The technology could also allow customers to roam between provider networks, the way that cell phone users are able to get access in areas not covered by their own provider.

Agere, formerly the microelectronics division of Lucent Technologies, will supply 802.11b modules, software and subscriber identification module (SIM) technology for a product suite that telecom equipment maker Ericsson will offer to ISPs, the companies said. The offer is expected to be ready in the first half of 2003.

Wi-Fi has become popular with the tech-savvy crowd, but its short range has limited widespread adoption outside of homes, offices and coffeehouses.

But there have been attempts to extend the technology's reach, and companies including tech giant Intel have taken a keen interest in spurring acceptance of the wireless technology.