Agito RoamAnywhere Solution Ties Mobile Phones, Corporate Systems

The Agito Networks RoamAnywhere Mobility solution includes top-notch Wi-Fi fingerprinting technology, enabling mobile phone users to easily move about while saving businesses money on mobile minutes. The new Agito RoamAnywhere technology also offers high availability and additional security features.

The Agito Networks RoamAnywhere Mobility solution does an excellent job of wedding a user's mobile phone to the corporate PBX, allowing users to seamlessly place and receive calls using their business extensions and to leverage the corporate directory no matter where they might be or what network they are connected to.

With its excellent Wi-Fi fingerprinting technology, Agito's fixed mobile convergence solution efficiently handles the transitions from WLAN to cellular resources, allowing a business to save money on mobile minutes without requiring the user to do anything special. With Version 2.0 of the RoamAnywhere solution, which was released in October, Agito added mission-critical high availability as an option and layers of additional security features so remote users can leverage Wi-Fi network connections as well.

Agito's RoamAnywhere solution consists of two parts: the RoamAnywhere client, which can be installed on an assortment of smart phones running Windows Mobile 6 (both Standard and Professional) or the Nokia E- and N-Series devices, running Symbian; and the RoamAnywhere Mobility Router, which sits in the corporate data center and works in concert with the PBX.

For screenshots of the Agito Networks RoamAnywhere Mobility solution in action, click here.

Agito offers two versions of the Mobility Router, with options for high availability on the larger solution. The smaller of the two, the RoamAnywhere 2000, supports up to 100 users for a list price of $24,195. The bigger box, the RoamAnywhere 4000, supports up to 1,000 users, though I priced it out for 500 users, which would cost $109,995.

The RoamAnywhere 4000 can also be paired with a second appliance for high availability. The second unit comes with a bit of a discount when bought together for redundancy-the pair of RoamAnywhere 4000s costs $186,192 when licensed for 500 users.

The devices operate in an active/passive relationship, where the second one will take over call routing duties if the first fails. In tests I found active calls would continue uninterrupted if I pulled the plug from the primary unit (although this is not surprising given the system's architecture).

Agito maintains both a trunk-side and a line-side relationship with the PBX. In most cases, Agito-enabled phones conduct signaling duties in conjunction with the Mobility Router, while the call payload goes directly to the party on the other end, if end-to-end SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), or to the PBX for calls with the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). Only when the smart phone is connected to a foreign Wi-Fi network will the call payload traverse touch the Mobility Router, requiring the trunk-side integration.

With the phones actively communicating with the PBX, a line-side relationship has the potential to allow a richer subset of the PBX features to an FMC client. However, this type of integration also requires much work from Agito to ensure that supported devices continue to work when a PBX is patched or upgraded, so customers need to talk with Agito before performing upgrades on the PBX itself.

Agito is prequalified to work with Asterisk, Avaya, Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Nortel IP PBXs, but I found Avaya and Cisco were best supported, as I could bulk-configure extensions on the PBX from Agito's Web-based configuration pages. Testing Agito in conjunction with a Cisco Call Manager, I found that depending on the configuration, the administrator will need to make several changes to PBX configuration-for instance, to twin the mobile phone with a desk phone, allowing both to ring simultaneously.

Agito is also prequalified to work with several enterprise-grade wireless network solutions, including solutions from Cisco, Aruba Networks, Aerohive Networks, Meru Networks, and Belden's Trapeze Networks. However, the Mobility Router should work with most wireless networking solutions (802.11g or better), although Agito recommends the network support the WMM spec and 802.11i Enterprise with key precaching or pre-shared key. Agito does offer further integrations with both Cisco and Aruba WLAN controllers to leverage those companies' adaptive radio management techniques.