The convergence of data and voice networks in the business environment takes on a new twist with the emergence of wireless networking. The freedom of mobility wanted to users https://literacymiliter.com/ in a Wireless LAN has proven to provide a noticeable boost in productivity, efficiency, and. employee morale. No longer is the work force tied to their desk when on the job. Workers can access company files and receive important communications from anywhere on the company campus that is in array of an invisible access point.
With voice communications thrown into the mix, mobile users can stay in touch while roaming the property inside or out, and even on the road. The acceptance of the fixed to mobile convergence concept by the telecom industry only promises to fuel the fire for the usage of VoIP over Wifi.
The Challenges of Implementing VoIP over Wifi Networks
As with any emerging technology, there are challenges to overcome. The development of the converged network, i. e. data and voice on the same IP based LAN, while yet to be an established typic, is appearing to be beneficial for businesses from both a cost and productivity perspective. Adding the prospect of VoIP over a wireless network raises a whole new set of issues.
VoIP is a time sensitive technology. Calls must be set up and authenticated, and voice packets must arrive at their destination without disruption and on time. This calls for a near continuous network stream, uninterrupted by less sensitive data transmissions. The setup of Quality of Service techniques on wired LANs assure that these voice packets receive priority, and call quality issues such as latency, jitter, and package loss have been sufficiently addressed.
Enter the standards based wireless network, a technology in an earlier stage of development, and more challenges occur. While today’s wired network provides plenty of bandwidth for both voice and data to coexist, WLANs provide less bandwidth, and Quality of Service issues must be revisited. Security measures such as authentication and encryption must be implemented and can add to the problem by increasing the size of the voice package. Additionally, users on the move will traverse wireless access points where handoffs must be quick and smooth.
The IEEE 802 standards governing wireless technology are increasing rapidly and promise to deal with an easy selection of Wifi issues. Increasing the bandwidth available, prioritizing voice packets for QoS, authentication and encryption protocols for security, and enhanced roaming techniques are all being addressed.
Also in development is the wireless technology commonly known as WiMax, providing for the setup of high bandwidth wireless communications covering ranges of up to 30 miles. The advancement of WiMax could prove of great consequence to developing countries, as well as Metropolitan LANs.
Security in a VoIP/WiFi Network
Companies wanting to implement wVoIP must take security issues into consideration right away. Such as any IP network, the dangers of cyberpunks, denial of service, highjacking and spam, all lurk in the shadows.
Because a wireless network uses radio frequencies as its transmission media, the security normally given by a firewall in a wired network is not sufficient, considering the physics. Whereas to break into a wired LAN requires cyberpunks to either physically be inside the network or identify in through the Internet, in a WLAN they can grab network transmissions from the air while parked down the street. The security issues that network operators must consider in a VoWLAN are the privacy of interactions, and the protection of the network facilities.
For Wifi networks, security has had a shaky start with the setup of WEP as its security mechanism. WEP provides for authentication and encryption between the user and the access point, and was found to be easily hacked. The 802. 11i standard, followed as WPA2 (Wireless Protected Access), provides for better made security by requiring two way authentication between the user and the network, and uses AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) as its encryption engine.
As network operators plan the rollout of a wireless VoIP network, the greatest security threat they face is improper setup. Building security into the design of the initial deployment can, and should affect the network topology, as well as material costs. Failure to do so could lead to further expenses in loss of services and network redesigns in the event of compromise.
Wifi, VoIP, and the Cellular Networks
Manufacturers of cellular devices are incorporating Wifi radios into their units at an ever increasing rate. New versions of mobile systems are developing complete with a built in VoIP add, inviting carriers and manufacturers to add VoIP functionality to their devices. Dual and Quad band cell phones can choose between the most effective network available, cellular or Wifi, and place a call accordingly.
As cell phones become more like mobile offices, the benefits of a mobile work force become apparent. In the case of the trail warrior, the ability to communicate via email, text messaging, video or voice, allows them to stay on the road longer without losing touch. In the age of instant information, mobile office applications allow files to be saved, edited, and uploaded, increasing the productivity of the traveller to the point where nearly all food you can apply in the office can be done on the road.
A cell phone that can switch between cellular and Wifi networks can significantly reduce telecom costs at the corporate office. With Wifi hot spots going up at hotels, bars, and corporate LANs across the globe, mobile workers can stay in touch with office and family both on and off the job. With the addition of a VoIP service provider, cheaper VoIP calls can be made from any Wifi network at the push of a button.
Imagine, if you will, a future where one phone, with one contact number, can easily traverse cellular networks, Wifi networks, cable and PSTN landlines. Where roaming and switching between disparate networks occur without disruption or loss of call quality. Fixed Mobile Convergence is the buzzword of the decade, and the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architectural mastery is the standard that promises to get us there.
With regards to IMS is to provide all the services and applications that the Internet provides, both current, and as of yet unimagined. IP based services such as VoIP, Push to talk cellular (POC), videoconferencing, text messaging, community services, presence information and file sharing, are just some of the probabilities. Designed to work with any fixed, mobile or wireless package switched network, reverse compatibility for the legacy rounds switched phone system is provided by making use of gateways.
Although still in its infancy, IMS is being implemented by AT&T as the platform in it’s newly acquired Cingular cellular network. Interest in buying a new facilities by mobile and fixed operators has been vertical, as they weigh the costs and benefits of the new technology.
As the technology of VoIP over Wifi networks continues to develop, businesses of all sizes can obtain the benefits of increased mobility, productivity, and significant benefits. Standards committees are constantly working on ways to increase security and quality of service, and as fixed mobile convergence gains acceptance in the telecom industry, more choices in the services offered and the IP applications available to businesses will definitely follow. What will also be interesting to watch, is how these very bandwidth intensive applications will be priced by the carrier networks, and how it will affect the neutrality of the Internet.