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Investigation of the wireless vendor's voice experience and product features

A key ingredient in a successful VoWLAN deployment is choosing the right network vendor. Learn the best practices for making a wise vendor choice.

Learn how to choose the right VoWLAN vendor, which is an essential part of any successful VoWLAN deployment .

Key considerations in vendor selection should include:

Meeting latency and jitter requirements involves prioritizing voice traffic above data. IEEE standard 802.11e, finalized in late 2005, adds QoS features to the previous 802.11 standard. Some vendors have now implemented the standard, but others continue to use nonstandard methods that may be equally effective. If possible, test your vendor's performance under realistic conditions. If running your own tests isn't possible, review tests done by a third party.

Access points (APs) can maintain acceptable call quality only by limiting the number of simultaneous calls. From your vendor, find out the following and compare with your expected usage:

  • How many calls each AP can handle; compare.
  • Whether an AP will continue to accept calls even though the quality is dropping, or whether it will reject calls beyond what it can handle with high quality.

Some vendors have added security features intended to address vulnerabilities that come into play with voice. For example, some wireless controllers contain a firewall that identifies a voice call and protects against any attempt to access resources that are not appropriate for a phone call. Find out how your vendor approaches this problem.

Some architectures require re-authentication every time a caller roams from AP to AP, which may result in an unacceptably long gap in the conversation. Other products perform a single authentication in a central controller and exhibit no delay when roaming. Test your vendor's product to determine how it handles roaming.

Adding voice to an existing wireless network may seem easy, but without a careful analysis of your RF environment, network security and your vendor's product capabilities, the result may be unhappy users and possibly a network break-in.


VoWLAN: Preparing your network for a voice over wireless LAN deployment

  Introduction
  Analysis of the radio frequency environment
  Review of network security
  Investigation of the wireless vendor's voice experience and product features

About the author
David B. Jacobs has more than 20 years of networking industry experience. He has managed leading-edge software development projects and consulted to Fortune 500 companies as well as software startups.

This was last published in July 2007

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