Questions to Ask: Voice-Over-Wi-Fi Phones

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

Questions to Ask: Voice-Over-Wi-Fi Phones


* How are phones configured? From the keypad? From an embedded Web interface? Automatically downloading profile from TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol) server? Other?

* Can the device support multiple profiles? Multiple wireless profiles? Multiple SIP profiles?

* Is it possible to deauthenticate a phone if the device is lost or stolen? If yes, how?

Networking and security

* What wireless network standards does it support?

* What wireless security standards are supported?

• WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) (64/128/256 bit)

• WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)/WPA2 (with 802.1x support)

• WPA/WPA2 (PSK, or preshared key)

* Can the user conduct scans for wireless networks, or can the administrator lock profiles to specific networks?

* Are NAT (Network Address Translation) traversal techniques supported?

* Is STUN (Simple Traversal of UDP over NATs) supported?


* Which of the following telephony features are supported or available? Make sure features are supported when used with your existing PBX solution.

• call transfer • conferencing • intercom • paging • hold/resume • redial • mute • caller ID • speed dial • park • voice mail notification

* Which of the following options are supported or available?

• speakerphone • headset jack • keypad lock

* Other features?

• instant messaging • e-mail • push to talk • Web surfing

* Other data services?

* Can users or administrators import or export contact list/phone book or user directory?

* How many entries are accepted in phone book?

Voice Quality

* What codecs does the phone support? G.711 a-law/u-law and G.729 are more common

* Can the device handle Layer 3 roams or just Layer 2?

* What is the expected roaming performance? Without encryption? With encryption (WEP, WPA/WPA2–802.1x and PSK)?

* What technologies or features are used to improve roaming performance?

* Does the device offer echo cancellation?


* How much standby time?

* How much talk time?

* How long to fully recharge?

* Can I replace the rechargeable battery?

* How is the device recharged?

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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