There is a stealthy upswing in VOIP phones going on this year, raising the likelihood that, in the next few years, youll be able to wire offices with nothing but Ethernet— or, in some cases, no wires at all.
Its the combination of voice-over-IP and wireless technology that provides the most incentive to switch. Symbol Technologies launched a new VOIP phone at N+I earlier this month that it claims is the first 802.11b-based VOIP phone based on the H.323 VOIP standard.
The circuitry crammed into this phone is amazing: 11M-bps 802.11b, TCP/IP, H.323 and POP3 (the phone can also receive e-mail), all implemented in hardware. The phone costs $699, and base stations cost $999. Its designed to let business users roam with their phones in buildings that already have 802.11 deployed, and it can be used with Nortel Networks VOIP gateway.
Avaya also previewed its new VOIP phone—this one a desktop model. The one I saw on the show floor had a USB interface and a beautiful GUI built into the phone.