Cordless phones take the leap to IP

Campus wireless has a new player: an IP version of the DECT standard that powers household cordless phones.

VoWLAN and IP DECT devices, unveiled this week by Avaya, are targeted at the latest breed of mobile workers: the campus nomads who don't leave the workplace but are rarely at their desks.

This new type of mobile worker, who is mobile within the boundaries of a distributed enterprise, has needs different from those of the typical teleworker, remote worker or road warrior. In many cases, it doesn't make sense for companies to pay for mobile devices and cell phones for workers who only need connectivity while on the enterprise campus.

Recent data from Juniper Research suggests that Voice over WLAN (VoWLAN) sales to enterprises will grow over the next five years, jumping from $US2 billion this year to $US15 billion by 2012.

According to Terry Robinson, an Avaya director of product management, workers who are nomadic while on campus will fuel a lot of that VoWLAN growth.

Avaya's response is VoWLAN handsets, are rugged IP wireless devices designed for industrial environments such as warehouses and hospitals. The devices, which keep workers connected using VoIP over the wireless LAN, support 802.11 a/b/g and enhance voice quality through reduced wireless interference. The devices allow push-to-talk functionality for instant communications and can be integrated with third-party applications such as messaging, nurse call systems and alarm alerts.

Along with the new VoWLAN devices, Avaya this week released a handset that uses IP Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology (DECT). IP DECT is a voice-optimized alternative to Wi-Fi, offering scalable and secure wireless voice communications using cordless technologies. DECT, according to some experts, is ideal for organizations that do not want to commingle voice and data on the same wireless network, ensuring that voice communications receive top priority. With so much traffic already traversing the WLAN, IP DECT provides a way to keep voice separate while also eliminating some of the congestion on the WLAN.

IP DECT, Robinson said, encrypts voice traffic. Where the wireless LAN mixes data and voice traffic, a DECT network optimizes voice while also allowing for alerts and SMS messaging. Instead of a wireless access point, which VoWLAN devices use, IP DECT uses a radio fixed port, which functions as an access point.

These new devices are for all types of internally mobile workers, including warehouse supervisors, corporate managers and healthcare workers. The education market is also key, Robinson said, especially because of its high demand for mobile communications.


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