NEW YORK -- Commercial availability of wireless handsets that work with both conventional cellular networks and 802.11 wireless local-area networks (WLANs) will ultimately drive more organizations to migrate to voice over IP (VOIP) for all of their voice communications though that move will probably take two years or more to develop fully, according to the latest report published by Light Reading's Enterprise VOIP Insider (www.lightreading.com/insider), a paid research subscription service of Light Reading Inc. (www.lightreading.com).
"VOIP & WLANs: Enterprise Market Challenges" delivers a detailed accounting of current efforts to advance enterprise fixed/mobile convergence through the delivery of VOIP over wireless LANs (VOWLAN), including in-depth analysis of the following:
- Development and availability of dual-mode handsets that can be used for both conventional cellular and enterprise WLANs based on the IEEE 802.11 group of standards
- Readiness of today's enterprise WLANs to handle voice traffic
- Current and projected state of 802.11-class standards governing voice over WLANs
- Efforts by wireless network operators to expand service to include dual-mode products
- Key drivers for adoption of enterprise VOWLAN
"VOIP & WLANs: Enterprise Market Challenges" profiles and analyzes key VOWLAN technology suppliers, focusing on nearly a dozen companies now selling VOWLAN-enabling software directly into the enterprise market, including Ascendent Systems (a subsidiary of Blackberry developer Research In Motion), DiVitas Networks, FirstHand Technologies, Network Equipment Technologies (NET), and PCTEL.
"The arrival of dual-mode handsets represents an important step in the evolution of enterprise fixed/mobile convergence, but handsets alone won't drive deployment of enterprise VOWLAN," notes Christine Hartman, research analyst for Light Reading's Enterprise VOIP Insider and author of the report. "The effect of voice on WLAN infrastructure and the need for integration with other enterprise systems, including PBXs, have become significant near-term impediments to enterprise fixed/mobile convergence."
WLAN equipment providers recognize the potential associated with enabling wireless VOIP and are beginning to address many VOIP-related issues through recent product enhancements, Hartman says. "A truly integrated solution requires close cooperation across a diversity of industry players, including PBX players and more data-oriented companies such as Microsoft and IBM," she adds. "As often happens in such situations, a host of smaller companies, mostly recent startups, are willing to take on these complex and risky tasks in hopes of significant future rewards."
Other key findings of the report include:
- 802.11 standards covering VOWLAN are emerging, but selected standards key to voice quality and fast roaming will not be finalized until 2007
- Software linking mobile phones with enterprise systems is emerging mostly from start-ups closely linked to IP PBX players
- Unified communications and other data-oriented applications will play a significant role in wider VOWLAN acceptance
"VOIP & WLANs: Enterprise Market Challenges," a 22-page report, is available as part of an annual subscription (six issues) to Light Reading's Enterprise VOIP Insider, priced at $1,295. Individual reports are available for $900.
Launched in December 2005, Light Reading's Enterprise VOIP Insider offers deep insight and hard-to-get market data and intelligence on the core issues facing enterprise network managers, VOIP service providers, technology suppliers, and systems integrators as they set out to reengineer network architectures to center on packet-based voice and related applications.
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About Light Reading
Reaching a core audience of more than 917,000 enterprise IT managers and executives, Light Reading Inc. publishes www.lightreading.com, the leading global content site for the telecom industry; www.byteandswitch.com, a storage networking site; www.unstrung.com, dedicated to wireless networking; and www.darkreading.com, an IT security site. Light Reading is also affiliated with www.heavyreading.com, a market research site offering quantitative analysis of telecom technology to carriers, service providers, and vendors. Light Reading was acquired by United Business Media in August 2005, and operates as a unit of CMP Technology.
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