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Overcoming the Obstacles of Mobile VoIP and UC over Wi-Fi


Mobile Voice over IP (VoIP) does what the name implies. It brings VoIP services to your mobile device so you can use the company’s wireless network to make and receive calls on your mobile device. Your mobile phone becomes your office extension. And when your mobile VoIP application connects with your unified communications (UC) system, you can access voice, video, instant messaging, text and presence through the same interface on your mobile device.


In fact, mobility is finally unlocking all of the benefits of UC. Thanks to mobile and the cloud, organizations are no longer limited by geographic obstacles, and employees are no longer wired to the office. Real-time collaboration occurs anytime, anywhere via cloud-based UC applications accessed on mobile devices, which enable users to take full advantage of the flexibility and productivity that UC has been promising for years.


However, significant hurdles remain when extending VoIP and UC applications to mobile devices. VoIP and UC place heavy demands on the wireless network infrastructure, especially bandwidth-hungry applications such as video. Wi-Fi networks often lack the coverage and capacity to support higher user densities and meet VoIP’s heightened demands for connectivity and performance.


This is because many wireless networks were originally designed to provide “hotspots” for stationary laptops, not continuous coverage for roaming employees, each accessing multiple mobile devices. As a result, signal strength often drops as a mobile user passes through an access point’s coverage area, causing performance issues and dropped calls that hamper productivity and customer service.


Organizations need to meet certain technical requirements for VoIP and UC over Wi-Fi to ensure a successful deployment. The wireless LAN needs to extend coverage from hotspots to any area where a user would need to make a call. In addition to offices, conference rooms and waiting areas, access points would need to be installed in common areas such as hallways, stairwells and even kitchens to ensure pervasive coverage. Pervasive coverage enables seamless roaming that prevents slow handoffs and the ensuing dropped calls and poor wireless service. Handoff delays should be no more than five milliseconds to avoid any noticeable loss in call quality.


Users who are checking email, sending a text or visiting a website can tolerate longer delays than users who are on a phone call or videoconference and need guaranteed Wi-Fi connectivity. The wireless infrastructure should be able to distinguish and prioritize traffic and allocate bandwidth accordingly to ensure Quality of Service for voice and video communication. Also, technology that uses older Wi-Fi standards may need to be upgraded to allow for higher user density and meet UC application performance requirements.


ICG designs, installs, configures and supports wireless networks that help enable mobile VoIP and fulfill the promise of UC. Let us assess your existing wired and wireless infrastructure and help you determine what upgrades might be necessary to deploy mobile VoIP and UC over Wi-Fi.