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SmartAdvice: Wrap Your Mainframe In Middleware To Modernize Legacy Apps

Use a portal and Enterprise Integration Architecture so legacy apps can be treated like objects, The Advisory Council says. Also, let the technology mature more before buying into VoIP over wireless LAN; and work out a strategic communications plan before an emergency.

Question B: I've recently installed a new wireless LAN at my facility and I've been considering replacing my aging telephone system with voice over IP. Are there any advantages to merging the two and deploying VoWLAN (VoIP over wireless LAN) instead?

Our advice: With the maturing of both the VoIP and wireless technologies, on the surface merging the two emerging technologies might seem to be a terrific idea. Unfortunately, although there are a number of small vertical niches where the converged technology is being deployed today, there are some major technological hurdles to overcome before VoWLAN will be mature enough for most companies to consider.

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In the next eight-to-12 months there will be numerous new products that will address the security, bandwidth, handset, and other issues that currently plague VoWLAN installations as many innovative technology companies work on solving the problems. Once the issues have been properly addressed and the standards settle down, VoWLAN, with its potential to merge data, voice, and mobility into one neat package, promises to be something that could transform how companies do business.

Implementation Issues
Before there's widespread adoption of VoWLAN, the following list of major stumbling technology blocks must be addressed.

  • Reliability

  • Quality of service

  • Security

  • Skill sets

  • Management tools

  • Handset hardware

  • Emerging standards

Should you be seriously considering voice over IP over wireless LAN solutions today? Security issues, poor-quality equipment, and bandwidth prioritization considerations point to a technology that's still too immature for anybody to deploy unless they're ready to put up with the bleeding-edge phase of the innovation curve. Unless you're in the health-care, manufacturing, or retail industries, where the ROI is especially compelling, the technology still isn't quite ready to be heard yet.

-- Beth Cohen

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