Using Your New Verizon iPhone

Wayne Rash
The news is out. Verizon Wireless has announced that you'll be able to buy a Verizon iPhone on Feb. 10. The new iPhone will run on the existing 3G EVDO network that Verizon Wireless has built nationwide and is expected to have a substantially better time of it in terms of network reliability. In addition to working on the Verizon CDMA/EVDO network, the new iPhone will work as a Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing up to five other devices to tether wirelessly as a way to take advantage of the 3G capabilities.

But there are some things it won't do. Most notably it won't allow you to use both data and voice at the same time. This is due to limitations of the EVDO 3G network that Verizon uses. It also won't use Verizon's growing LTE network, at least in this iteration. Most likely that will have to wait for the iPhone 5, due out this summer. Still, for most users, the new iPhone 4 will be a very positive change, and you can assume that the devices will sell by the millions.

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Making the iPhone work for Business

Flurry, a firm that offers analytic, deployment and monetization tools to developers, has identified the top paid and free iPhone business applications available at the App Store.

But once they start appearing in your enterprise, you'll need to be prepared for the new devices. While building penetration is always an issue for wireless data communications, in the past any problems with the iPhone were usually chalked up to AT&T's struggling 3G network. Nobody was surprised when connections didn't work, or got dropped, because that happened outside of the office, too. But with Verizon Wireless, things are different.

Verizon's coverage is ubiquitous. There are few places, urban or rural, where there's no signal. Because of this Verizon Wireless customers are used to having solid data communications inside of buildings as well as outside. The problems come when you're inside a building, especially in an urban area. As Jeff Kunst, vice president of product management for MobileAccess points out, carriers don't design their 3G (or their 4G for that matter) to work in your basic urban office tower. Signals are aimed at the ground to serve mobile customers.

MobileAccess solves this problem by using a building's existing Ethernet wiring to deliver wireless signals, so that wireless devices work even in the biggest buildings. Kunst says that his company's solutions are basically carrier agnostic, and that adding a new protocol, such as LTE only requires a modest upgrade.

While the problem with building penetration won't affect every company, as wireless devices become pervasive, the problem will become a bigger concern. Most companies won't find it acceptable that their smartphones only work on certain floors, or near windows below the 10th floor, or only if they're not near the elevator. The work on smartphones and similar devices has become mission-critical, and that means that you have to be able to meet the needs of the mission all of the time, not just when you're at someone else's desk, in the corner, near the window.

So the new iPhone will be adopted by millions of users, probably some of whom are your employees. But the real question will then become, will they be able to use it? You'll need to be able to know the answer to that question, and be able to fix the problem if the answer is no.

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