Voice over Wireless LAN in the small office and home

Voice over Wireless LAN technology isn't just for large customers. Value-added resellers (VARs) and systems integrators will find an opportunity to implement and service VoWLAN technology for small offices and homes.

Many small offices and homes are installing wireless LANs to support mobile access to common Internet applications. Service providers, such as Vonage, are strongly advertising the capability of using the Internet for making phone calls to augment or replace standard PSTN telephones. Home and small-office owners are taking advantage of Internet telephony to save money on long-distance phone calls.

The use of VoWLAN is further extending the benefits of VoIP by providing mobility and even replacing the need for a cellular phone. A consumer is likely to select a VoWLAN solution as compared to wired VoIP service to enable mobility similar to what cordless phones offer. Someone can take the phone around the house and talk while doing house chores.

A single access point can easily support most home and small-office voice applications. Range is sufficient for the entire home, and a single 802.11b or 802.11g access point can support the limited number of phones (generally only one) that will be in use simultaneously. RF interference from microwave ovens and neighboring wireless LANs set to the same channel can cause significant impacts on performance, however. Consumers may have to reconfigure the RF channel of their access point to have effective wireless voice service.

Unfamiliarity with wireless technologies may preclude some consumers from purchasing VoWLAN equipment. In addition, the inability of Internet telephony to operate during power outages and limited operation of 911 services may keep some consumers from moving forward with a wired or wireless VoIP solution. Despite these issues, though, VoWLANs in homes and small offices is expected to proliferate over the next few years.

Home owner finds value in Internet telephony

Madison Leigh of Fairborn, Ohio, found that her monthly long-distance phone bill was running more than $100 per month because she was making regular phone calls to her father, living in a rest home in Chicago. Madison was paying only 10 cents per minute, but the phone calls were running into the hours, discussing issues that her father was having living in the rest home. Madison saw an advertisement on television for Vonage Internet-based calling, so she investigated the service and found that it would save her approximately $70 per month. After hearing about Wi-Fi, she found that she could have wireless voice over Internet connectivity, which she thought was a good idea because she could talk on the phone from anywhere in the house, similar to what her cordless phone had been providing.

Jack's Foreign Auto Parts and Repair

Jack's Foreign Auto Parts and Repair, based in the eastern United States, is a small business specializing in the repair of foreign automobiles and the sale of hard-to-find automobile parts to car enthusiasts worldwide. Jack employs eight mechanics and one administrative person, who takes care of invoicing and paying the bills. Jack supervises the mechanics and provides necessary guidance on the shop floor. He is on the phone most of the day, making international calls, trying to locate rare parts worldwide for fixing the cars. His phone bill had been running nearly $1,000 per month! When purchasing a new fax machine at a local office supply store, he saw a Wi-Fi phone and router advertising the ability to slash long-distance phone call costs, especially overseas. After thinking about it a bit and doing some research on the Internet, Jack purchased the solution and installed it at his company. He now pays roughly $50 per month in phone bills.

Learn the role Voice over Wireless LAN can play in the following environments or download Chapter 1, VoWLAN applications and benefits from Deploying Voice over Wireless LANs by Jim Geier, and learn the history of Voice over Wireless LANs and how to calculate ROI.


Voice over Wireless LAN: Opportunities for VARs and systems integrators

  Introduction
  Healthcare
  Enterprise
  University
  Retail
  Warehouse
  Manufacturing
  Small office and home
  How to calculate ROI

This was last published in April 2007

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