Battling a Wireless Deluge

Published on February 2, 2011
by Cari Tuna

As cellular networks grapple with a deluge of data traffic from smartphones, a growing number of companies are offering to help wireless carriers shift the heavy load to a longtime Internet standby: Wi-Fi.

Suppliers of technology to help offload mobile data include behemoths such as Cisco Systems Inc. and Motorola Solutions Inc. as well as smaller vendors such as Ruckus Wireless Inc. and BelAir Networks Inc., each of which manufactures devices that transmit and receive Wi-Fi signals.

Such devices, called access points, have long been a fixture in homes, coffee shops and companies. But increasingly, wireless carriers and third-party operators are buying heavy-duty variants to form larger Wi-Fi networks, intended to siphon off data traffic in places with big concentrations of smartphone users.

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