In a move that shows what Europeans could get out of next generation mobile systems other than flashy phones, Japanese telco NTT DoCoMo is about to begin selling a new small office router/hub that connects to the outside world using wireless phone systems.
The router has an integrated 3G (third-generation) cellular terminal. Developed by Fujitsu, the device can connect up to four personal computers and allow them to access the carrier's 3G mobile network.
NTT DoCoMo envisages it being used in situations where a temporary computer network connection needs to be established for a small group of users, such as a temporary office as part of an event.
The Foma F2611 terminal is the first 3G product from NTT DoCoMo specifically designed for business users.
The nearest the company has come to a corporate terminal so far is a video phone that the carrier imagines will be used by workers outside the office to send images back to base.
Since launching its W-CDMA (wideband code division multiple access) 3G network in October last year, DoCoMo has been talking up the service to corporations even though there have been no devices specifically designed to address the problems faced by enterprise users.
The Foma F2611 has four 10Base-T Ethernet ports, and also includes a USB port. The USB port can be used to connect to a single PC only while the Ethernet ports can be used to link up to four PCs, allowing them to share the same connection and also communicate among themselves.
Connections at speeds of up to 384kbps (kilobits per second) via the 3G network are possible and the service is packet based, so users won't need to worry about time-based charges.
The terminal also features a wireless telephone handset that can be used to make voice calls. The handset connects to the terminal via a Bluetooth link and so has a range of around 7m, said NTT DoCoMo. A voice call can be placed simultaneously with a data transmission.