Businesses and Consumers to Soon Feel the Noise of VoWLAN

Wednesday 2 June 2004 10:25 CET | News

With total handset shipments totaling less than 60 thousand in 2003, the Voice over Wireless Local Area Network (VoWLAN) market is still in its infancy.

However, according to In-Stat/MDR, despite the relatively high cost of handsets and the lack of standardized QoS and fast roaming, this technology is already reaching a surprising amount of business users, and a significant number have it on their radar screen for the future. A recent survey of business users by the high-tech market research firm finds that VoWLAN has reached nearly 10% of respondents and 48% of respondents are considering implementing it. Based on this encouraging information, In-Stat/MDR expects that business-class WLAN handsets will experience a growth rate of almost 120% in 2004. Currently, the largest and most effective opportunities for Wi-Fi telephony are in the enterprise and vertical markets. In these areas, WLANs have been adopted, and mobile users are easily identified. These businesses have control over coverage area, bandwidth utilization, and QoS implementation. The users have access to the corporate telephone system, giving Wi-Fi users the same features and accessibility as their wired peers. It is cost-effective and efficient to leverage the investment in WLAN by adding wireless telephones. In-Stat/MDR also finds that: Of those respondents to In-Stat/MDRs survey that currently run VoWLAN, most come from companies with over 1,000 employees, and use WLAN equipment from high-end WLAN vendors like Cisco and 3Com. As could be expected, over half of the respondents to In-Stat/MDRs survey that run VoWLAN use PDAs in the wireless network, likely serving as mobile softphones. 802.11b enterprise VoWLAN handsets have been shipping out the door since 2000. SpectraLink and Symbol have been the leaders in this market for the past few years, selling handsets mainly to the verticals of healthcare, education, retail/warehousing/distribution, and manufacturing. Cisco introduced its VoWLAN handset in mid-2003. An emerging area of growth is the handset space for the home/SOHO, where low-cost Wi-Fi handsets are used in conjunction with residential VoIP services. By 2008, 15% of VoIP subscribers with Wi-Fi home networks will have Wi-Fi handsets. Combination Wi-Fi and cellular handsets are expected to penetrate the market noticeably in 2005 and 2006, as Wi-Fi silicon continues to fall in cost and size, and also becomes more power efficient. This combination handset is expected to penetrate both the business and home markets over time.

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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Mobile Payments
Countries: World
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Payments & Commerce