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10/18/2004
04:16 PM
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VoIP: Easier Voice, More Locations

Two vendors plan service for voice calls from 11,000 Wi-Fi locations.

For business travelers, it has become relatively easy to wirelessly connect to corporate networks and the Internet from Wi-Fi hot-spots. And a variety of services and products give both businesses and consumers the ability to make voice calls over the Internet. Two service providers revealed plans Monday to combine their services so business travelers and consumers can make wireless voice calls over the Internet easily from more than 11,000 Wi-Fi hot-spots.

Boingo Wireless Inc., which has a network of 11,000 Wi-Fi hot-spots in airports, cafes, hotels, and other locations, is working with Vonage Holdings Corp., a provider of voice-over-IP phone service, to conduct a trial of voice-over-Wi-Fi service later this year and roll out a service offering shortly afterward. Initially, the companies will market a package that includes Vonage's SoftPhone VoIP service and Boingo's Wi-Fi hot-spots. Mobile workers will be able to use Vonage's XPRO SoftPhone from Xten Networks Inc. linked to PCs to make calls via Boingo's Wi-Fi locations.

Eventually, Boingo says it plans to provide a new class of software for devices other than PCs, such as mobile phones, to let them log in to the Wi-Fi network. The software will be able to sniff out Wi-Fi networks and provide authentication and network selection.

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