There is unlikely to have been a time in history when technological advancements have occurred at the pace we currently see. The development of technologies that were pure science fiction only a few short decades ago are now so commonplace they barely register for a large part of the population. One of the difficulties that arise from such a fast rate of development is the integration of newer technologies with relatively established ones. Fixed mobile convergence is representative of such a challenge.
The ability to communicate via phone through a wireless handset from almost any location in the world is still a relatively new phenomenon yet, more recent developments are already putting a strain on the vast cellular network that has been established worldwide over the last decade or so. Smartphone devices have the potential for a much broader range of communication methods that the voice based cellular network system was never designed to handle. And there is enormous commercial potential in providing the bandwidth required for these applications. Uses such as video calls, mobile gaming and remote offices have enormous appeal to a range of different types of user.
At the crossing point of the existing cellular infrastructure and future IP systems is fixed mobile convergence. This represents the possibility of combining the potential of both infrastructures as they exist now into one single, seamless service. The high processing capacity of smartphones means they can be programmed to intelligently handle the transfer of calls from local wireless internet access over to cellular signals and back again. This means users can effectively carry a VoIP call that was initialized over a local internet connection and move to an area with no internet connection and continue their conversation without any interruption over a cellular network.
As cellular networks move over to an IP based format to allow for broadband coverage, fixed mobile convergence services will enable much of the potential of current technology to be realized in the mean time.
Cicero Networks have developed a number of products that implement fixed mobile convergence in the form of voice call continuity. Able to run on a number of mobile platforms, these products leverage Wi-Fi, WiMax, 3G and LTE connections to provide seamless VoIP call transitions.