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Running VoIP on a Wireless LAN

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Just like on a wired LAN, you can deploy VoIP on your wireless LAN if you have one, or if you plan to set one up for communication. Wireless VoIP will cause most wired networks to be replaced with wireless networks for VoIP communication.

The Wireless LAN and VoIP

A wireless LAN is one in which the devices and computers are connected without wires. More commonly, Wi-Fi technology is used. In most cases, instead of a hub, form which wires stem out to connect to the different machines in a wired network, you have a wireless router or hub, which may in turn be connected to an ATA.

The caller, who may be using an IP phone or any other communicating device, like a PDA or pocket PC, can make calls through the wireless LAN if he/she is within the range of the network.

Why a Wireless LAN?

Mobility. This word itself says many things. Just to give examples:

  • A medical team in a clinic needs to be able to communicate internally and externally while attending to emergencies, which implies being on the move. VoIP on a wireless LAN makes this possible for them, if each of them has a phone in their pocket.
  • A factory floor team, by nature very ‘bee-like’, will find it difficult to either remain glued to a fixed phone set or going to and from it for communication. Here again, VoIP service deployed on a wireless LAN within the company premises saves time, energy and nerves; and boosts productivity.
  • VoIP on Wi-Fi hotspots is a great thing for callers. Just like you take your laptop computer along with you for a business lunch or some revision among classmates, why not take your IP Phone or pocket PC along?

Great, isn’t it? Well, wireless VoIP is taking time to gain popular acceptance. Here is why.

Problems with Wireless VoIP

There are four main issues due to which wireless VoIP is not readily accepted everywhere:

  1. VoIP on LANs is deployed mostly in corporate environments, i.e. in companies rather than houses. Wireless VoIP poses problems of scalability for enterprises.
  2. As is the case with nearly all wireless networks, Quality of Service (QoS) is not as good as with wired networks.
  3. The cost, in terms of money, time and skills, is higher to set up and maintain a wireless network than a wired network.
  4. The security threats posed by the use of VoIP are even more inherent over a wireless network, since access points are more numerous within the perimeter of the network.
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