Infrastructure
News
2/27/2006
07:42 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Why Your Network Needs VoIP Over Wireless

Combining VoIP with Wi-Fi is a natural for most networks. Here's why you should make the move--now.

Voice over wireless local area networks (VoWLAN) might just be one of those technologies whose time has come. Combining voice over IP (VoIP) and wireless networking -- the two headline network technologies of the last couple of years, VoWLAN is, quite simply a natural.

"There's a lot of pent-up demand for VoWLAN, and particularly for dual-mode cellular and wireless VoIP phones," Forrester Research principal analyst Ellen Daley says. "There's a pent-up demand because of a fear and concern of wireless phone costs. Companies are saying that 'we see people using their cell phones on office hallways,' and they're interested in reducing those costs."

Indeed, at one level, the equation is quite simple in a carpeted office environment. If you have a wireless network anyway, and your employees are using their company cell-phones to talk as they move from desk to desk and from conference room to cubicle, then you might as well see if you can put it all together and save airtime charges. With the imminent market availability of reasonably affordable dual-mode phones, it's a no-brainer.

However, Daley is quick to point out that company executives who think that it will all simply be a question of giving everyone a new phone will be sadly mistaken. The one thing you can count on, in fact, is that most companies that are thinking seriously about VoWLAN are probably underestimating the complexity involved in actually deploying the technology.

"Just look at wireless LANs," Daley says. "Most are deployed casually, providing guest-access. They're not integrated in the network infrastructure as a whole or scaled-up to be able to support voice. There will be a rude awakening. A lot more of a design process goes in to supporting VoWLAN."

The main issue with mobile phones, at least as far as IP networking is concerned, is that they're, well, mobile. People invariably use their laptops sitting in one place, but the whole benefit of a mobile phone is that you can make a call while walking through a corridor, or standing in some place other than an office. "We might know where mobile data users are -- they're usually sitting at a desk," Daley says. "But with voice, we really can be mobile."

That means that a telephone conversation can move from one access point (AP) to another. If there's a dead zone, because of a wall, or because the radius of one AC doesn't quite overlap the next, calls can be rudely interrupted as the caller strolls between them. Moreover, APs have to be configured to quickly and efficiently hand-off the connection as the caller moves.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2014 Next-Gen WAN Survey
2014 Next-Gen WAN Survey
While 68% say demand for WAN bandwidth will increase, just 15% are in the process of bringing new services or more capacity online now. For 26%, cost is the problem. Enter vendors from Aryaka to Cisco to Pertino, all looking to use cloud to transform how IT delivers wide-area connectivity.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest Septermber 14, 2014
It doesn't matter whether your e-commerce D-Day is Black Friday, tax day, or some random Thursday when a post goes viral. Your websites need to be ready.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.