Much will undoubtedly be made of Cisco's apparent embracing of UMA/3GPP GAN technology, announced today in a release from Kineto Wireless.
Undoubtedly, people will jump to conclusions about Cisco strategy around enterprise-grade FMC, whether or not its IP-PBX and WLAN products will support UMA, what this means for its consumer Linksys brand, its announced SIP-based partnership with Nokia and so on.
My read on it is that it's a relatively straightforward announcement about network security. A number of other network security infrastructure vendors such as ReefPoint, Stoke and apparently Lucent have already recognised that UMA deployments have significant impacts in terms of scaling up authentications, VPN tunnel termination and so forth in the mobile operator's network.
"Cisco's UMA security products are designed to provide defense in depth from both malicious and non-malicious threats by combining high-density IPSec termination with a voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) peering point security architecture, load balancing, routing and switching all converged in the Cisco 7600 series router platform"
Given the likelihood of some US operators introducing UMA services (Cingular & T-Mobile seem almost certain candidates), it is unsurprising that one of the world's largest network security vendors - and one which is making a big push into carriers - almost has to have a solution.
Whether or not Cisco actually has invested a huge amount in this, or expects to sell many UMA Gateways, is of course another matter. My understanding is that entry to the UMA club (either for operators or vendors) is not desperately expensive. But that still doesn't alter my conclusion that UMA's just not going to work commercially, or in terms of overall user experience.