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Innovation

VoIP over wireless: ten things you should know

On our sister site TechRepublic's 10 things blog, technology consultant and author Debra Littlejohn Shinder lists, 10 things (no surprise there) you should know about VoIP over wireless.So why should you care?
Written by Russell Shaw, Contributor on

On our sister site TechRepublic's 10 things blog, technology consultant and author Debra Littlejohn Shinder lists, 10 things (no surprise there) you should know about VoIP over wireless.

So why should you care?

"Many organizations today run IP networks over wireless technology, and it’s possible to run VoIP applications over Wi-Fi, too," Debra writes. "But you need to be aware of a number of issues when planning a VoIP over wireless (often called VoW, VoFi, or wVoIP) deployment.

"With the advent of WiMAX for longer range Wi-Fi communications, wireless phone companies (cellular carriers) are gearing up to offer hybrid phones that will use VoIP over Wi-Fi when a Wi-Fi network is available and switch to cellular when one is not," she adds. "So VoIP over wireless encompasses different things, depending on the context."

Quite naturally, the "ten things" come next. Many of her points will sound obvious to experienced VoIP admins and users, but not all of our readers are as comprehensively - as they say in Patent literature- "skilled in the art."

With that in mind, two of Debra's points strike me as especially teachable moments for this Monday. They happen to be #1 and #10 of the aforementioned "ten things":

#1: Wireless VoIP offers advantages over cellular service- A big advantage of wireless VoIP is that IP phones that work on Wi-Fi networks can be used in place of cell phones in many cases. Public 802.11 hotspots are often free or available at a low daily cost. If you’re connecting to the Wi-Fi network anyway for Web and e-mail access, there’s no additional cost to make VoIP calls other than the cost of your VoIP service, which is usually far less than the cost of cell phone service and may offer free unlimited international calling, something you don’t get with most cellular plans.

And next we have:

#10: Future phones will combine cellular and Wi-Fi VoIP- Industry pundits predict that the next generation of cell phones will all include built-in Wi-Fi. With these hybrid or dual-mode phones, you’ll be able to seamlessly switch between cellular and VoIP over Wi-Fi when you come into range of a Wi-Fi hotspot, even within the same phone call.

Landlines are expected to all but disappear as the hybrid phones become a single solution for telephony, operating off the user’s Wi-Fi network at home and using cellular technology when there is no Wi-Fi network within range. This is predicted to lower the total cost of telephone service.

Because of the intertia of the installed base, I don't happen to think landlines will disappear all that fast, but you get the idea. Hybrid telephony will rule.

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