Dont Put Voice over Wi-Fi on Hold

By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2005-10-31 Print this article Print

Tech analysis: Although voice over wireless is not quite ready prime time—because of underdeveloped wireless networks and a limited number of wireless devices—now is the time for IT managers to begin planning for it.

The promise of increased user mobility and productivity has driven wider corporate adoption of WLANs, and one of the most alluring—yet most elusive—uses of the technology is voice over wireless.

Because VOW clients will quickly expose flaws in underdeveloped wireless networks—and because of the relatively limited number of client devices available—eWEEK Labs believes VOW deployments are not quite ready for prime time. However, administrators should begin to add VOW-specific criteria to their plans for both wireless and voice networks.

Click here for suggested questions to ask before evaluating voice over wireless. One of the biggest hurdles to wide adoption of VOW is the current dearth of Wi-Fi-enabled devices.

During the next year, we expect to see a sharp increase in the number of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)-based VOW devices available in the United States. We also expect to see broader standards support: The current batch of devices supports only the slower IEEE 802.11b wireless standard.

Read more here about SIPs expected impact. An uptick in the number of available devices will increase choice for users and IT administrators, but implementers must take care to establish a core requirement of telephony features that any device must support. They must also ensure that devices can provide acceptable performance for their organizations mobile users.

Next Page: Voicing support.

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at

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