AirMagnet Rolls Out Voice-Over-Wi-Fi Analysis Tool - InformationWeek
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5/1/2006
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AirMagnet Rolls Out Voice-Over-Wi-Fi Analysis Tool

The network analysis tool helps network managers detect voice problems over wireless networks.

AirMagnet today announced the AirMagnet VoFi Analyzer, a network analysis tool that helps network managers detect voice problems over wireless networks.

The VoFi Analyzer detects problems in real time, includes alarms and real-time statistical analysis, and uncovers roots causes. Its includes quality of service (QoS) features for seamless roaming, jitter control and call connection. The tool can monitor voice traffic from device to device and check that both wireless APs and wire-side devices are properly configured, to be sure all traffic is handled according to 802.11e QoS prioritization standards. The company claims it also calculates MOS scores and R-values for VoFi traffic, for an extremely accurate diagnosis of voice quality on the wireless network

At the moment, enterprise use of voice over wireless networks (VoWLAN) remains in its infancy, but sales are expected to pick up significantly in the coming years. The InfoTech research group estimates that revenues from VoWLAN sales will reach $1.1 billion by 2010. It expects that 77 percent of enterprises will be using VoWLAN by 2008 either fully deployed or as a pilot project. Holding back use of VoWLAN are quality and security issues as well as QoS.

But the driver behind VoWLAN is a significant one -- cost. Enterprises are seeing cellular phone line costs skyrocket, and the technology allows enterprises to leverage their existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to deploy wireless voice at little cost.

Use In Health Care And Beyond

Although the technology is not yet common in enterprises, it has significant penetration in the health care industry, according to Wade Williamson, AirMagnet VoFi Analyzer product manager.

Williamson cites several reasons why it has gained such traction in health care. Physicians, nurses, and other health care workers are mobile by the nature of the jobs they perform, and there are problems with the use of cellular phones in health care settings. Lead-shielded walls of X-ray rooms can cause problems with phone, and GSM devices often do not work in hospitals.

Because of these restrictions, health care institutions have been leaders in deploying Wi-Fi networks. And given that health care workers need instant access to phones, voice over wireless is a natural for them.

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