How Fixed Mobile Convergence Works

Cell Phone Image Gallery Wouldn't it be nice if you could simply have one phone that worked everywhere, no matter where you are? See more cell phone pictures.

You're running late for work, but the phone starts ringing. You answer the call with a distracted, "Hello." It's your old college roommate. You haven't talked to him in ages, but there's just no time to talk right now. You ask if you can call him back that night. Unfortunately, he's calling from the airport on his way to a photo assignment and he'll be out of pocket for a few weeks. You have so much to catch up on -- including your recent engagement. So before you hang up, you quickly tell him to call you back on your cell phone, figuring you can at least chat a few minutes while you're catching the train and he's sitting at the airport. As you're shutting the front door, you realize he doesn't have your new cell phone number. You run back inside to check the caller ID only to find there's nothing listed for the last call. You simply can't be late for work again, so there's no time to wait to see if he calls back. If only you could have taken that call to go like you did with your homemade mocha latte …

With fixed mobile convergence, you just might be able to.

Fixed mobile convergence (FMC) is an industry term that has been making the rounds in the past few years as a possible next big thing in communications. In a nutshell, it refers to the ability to use one phone, moving between your house or office and everywhere else, but in practice, it's a little more difficult than it seems.

For starters, the "fixed" part, which refers to existing wired systems like the telephone lines coming into your house, also includes things like WiFi Internet that come in through the same wires. And "mobile" is the system used by cellular phones. The two systems have grown up independently of each other and they work in completely different ways. But before we get into that, let's take a closer look at the convenience FMC could offer.