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Intel at the edge

Zafar Anjum | Aug. 18, 2011
The future of wireless network architecture relies on distributed intelligence that meets the performance demands of the new wireless world without compromising security or quality of service, says Ben Mesfin, director and general manager, Wireless Network Solutions (WNS) of Motorola Solutions Asia Pacific.

Benhur Mesfin

Ben Mesfin, director and general manager, Wireless Network Solutions (WNS) of Motorola Solutions Asia Pacific.

In advanced places like Singapore, we take wireless connectivity for granted. A lot of us, as employees or individuals, carry smartphones or tablets and we expect reliable and ubiquitous wireless connection wherever we go. If we don't get it, we cringe with dissatisfaction. How do we get on the network wirelessly and how well the network delivers--that worries a lot of CIOs, as it has many implications.

Wireless LANs help organisations provide employees with constant voice and data connection that they need to maximise efficiency and productivity. Naturally, the quality of wireless connection and the performance of the wireless network are key to business connectivity.

One company that is an industry leader in this area is Motorola. When Motorola launched its WinG 5.0 (Wireless Next Generation 5.0) architecture last year, I got curious to know about it: how different was it from other wireless architectures? To understand this new architecture, I spent some time with Benhur Mesfin, director and general manager, Wireless Network Solutions (WNS) of Motorola Solutions Asia Pacific.  In this role, Benhur manages the WNS business and solutions portfolio including wireless broadband, enterprise wireless LAN, wireless security and converged enterprise communications solutions at Motorola Solutions Asia Pacific.

When we meet, we first talk about the recent division in Motorola's business. The telecom company was divided into two companies: Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions on 4 January 2011. This restructuring was necessary as the company had been bleeding money: US$4.3 billion from 2007 to 2009.

Perhaps whatever happened was good for the company. Since the separation, Motorola has been doing relatively better. Our conversation happened a few months ago, so at that time, it was difficult to foresee that Google would buy Motorola Mobility for US$12.5 billion in August.

Giving me a perspective on his newly minted division, Motorola Solutions, Benhur says, "Motorola Solutions is focused around proving solutions to a big set of customers, primarily enterprise and government-one of our biggest sectors. Within enterprise, we serve verticals like retail, logistics, transportation, education, and healthcare. We also have solutions for telecom. Lot of telecom operators are also solution providers. So, telcos are also a big part of our business."

Need for wireless networking

Speaking of his division, he says: "Where my group comes in, we are focused on wireless networking solutions." After the introduction, he jumps to the wireless networking scene.  "What's driving wireless?" he asks. "Enterprises' need for mobility," he answers the question himself. "You don't want your desktop, your computers to be tethered. So, from an enterprise point of view, mobility is a key driver for adopting wireless. Another factor driving the adoption is lower cost of broadband connectivity in offices. Especially in the last two to three years, we have seen this strong trend of big enterprises going completely wireless. Samsung is an example. Some of their new facilities do not have an RJ45 jack anywhere. There are a lot of advantages to that: cost, need for mobility, you can drive location-based application, and so on."


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