NEC America Inc., which is known for its PBX products, is also one of the leaders in the voice-over-WLAN trend. Last spring, the Irving, Texas, company announced broad plans for products that support voice over WLAN. Sources close to the company said NEC is set to announce numerous products in the next several weeks, including a voice-enabled PDA.While such integration is promising, the quality of voice calls across local wireless networks is still a concern. Many businesses have proprietary software that helps, but the IEEE is still in the planning stages of a standard, 802.11e, that addresses this issue and will enable IT administrators to mix and match voice-enabled WLAN equipment. "802.11e quality of service needs to address voice on a single channel, and mobile IP handoff speeds between access points need to improve," said Fran Rabuck, an eWEEK Corporate Partner and president of Rabuck Associates, a Philadelphia-based mobile technology consultancy. To that end, WLAN infrastructure startup Meru Networks Inc. will come out of stealth mode next week to launch a WLAN system that targets IT managers who need both voice and data support for their WLANs. Officials at Meru, of Sunnyvale, Calif., declined to provide specific information about the product line. However, a spokesman said the Meru system is different from other WLAN infrastructure systems in that it offers "land-line-quality voice" over the WLAN. Discuss this in the eWEEK forum.
The integration of NECs IP PBXes with startup Airespace Inc.s WLAN infrastructure equipment also is forthcoming.