The networking, telephony and communications technology landscape has developed significantly over the past 12 months. 2004 saw the mass market arrival of 3G into the UK, not with a bang but with a whimper.
Conspicuous by its absence was O2, which said it was not jumping on the bandwagon straightaway. However, it unveiled a trial on the Isle of Man for an even faster 3G service.
But this whole 3G bandwagon is in danger of having a few wheels drop off, if the analysts are to be believed. According to research, broadband wireless technologies including WiMax are set to go head-to-head with 3G networks, potentially undermining operators' multi-billion pound investments in the next-generation mobile technology.
In fact, WiMax had a very good year with a plethora of high profile firms and integrators joining Intel to back the wire area wireless technology.
Construction began on the first WiMax network, and UK drinkers in Kent can even log on to WiMax wireless from the comfort of their own pubs.
UK watchdog Ofcom stuck the boot into BT, accusing the telco of uncompetitive bias in favouring its own business units, so no change there.
IP convergence started to make significant progress into corporate environments. Internet calls are predicted to take 13 per cent of the market by 2008, finally ringing the death knell for traditional telephony, according to analysts.
Mobile devices, it emerged, are fast growing in popularity. They are being used in 91 per cent of UK businesses, but many are introduced without the knowledge of IT departments, according to a mobility report from system integrator Omnetica.
Continuing the mobile theme this was the first time that Nokia had demonstrated a mobile IPv6 call, routing voice traffic over the next-generation internet infrastructure. It will certainly not be the last.
In contrast, Bluetooth is going off the boil, if indeed it ever did manage to convince a lukewarm public that the technology was as good as the initial hype which surrounded it.
Suggesting that the much hyped networking recovery is finally underway, Cisco resumed it Borg-like assimilation of small Silicon Valley firms including latterly BCN. The networking giant also unveiled a 'mini' 640Gbps router.
It was another good year for metro Ethernet which received a crucial standards boost, paving the way for interoperable kit.
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