The use of VoFi, or Voice over Wireless, has been rather limited. But now, with the newly ratified 802.11n standard, we’re expecting to see a surge of interest in this technology since 802.11n and its increased throughput and range is what makes VoFi feasible.
Three benefits of VoFi are:
- Reliable coverage
- Moving billable, cellular minutes to Wi-Fi
- Increased mobility
We all continually suffer through the issue of poor cellular coverage indoors, whether at home or in the office. VoFi and VoFi enabled phones provide the capability to transition calls and data activity from cellular to Wi-Fi when in range of an 802.11 network. Since 802.11 is typically deployed to cover indoor spaces, like your home and office, call and data quality will be dramatically improved indoors with VoFi enabled technology.
An added benefit of transitioning a call to your 802.11 network is that it reduces cellular usage, saving minutes on pay-per-minute plans. Granted, this hand-off is still being worked out between carriers and equipment manufacturers, and may not result in a complete minute-for-minute reduction in usage, but more than likely some level of savings will be realized, allowing you to much more quickly capitalize the expense of an 11n upgrade by eliminating some of your billable cellular traffic and carrying it on your 802.11 network.
802.11 has always been about mobility, but up until now it’s been manifested more in being able to move from your office to the conference room with your laptop and maintain connectivity. VoFi significantly extends mobility by including voice communications as well. You no longer need to be tethered to a desk phone, or limited by the base-station range of a cordless handset. Wherever there’s 802.11 coverage there’s voice coverage. This technology was already in use by some industries, large retailers for example, allowing customer service reps to wander the store while helping customers. But 802.11n and VoFi will take this to the mainstream, both in the office and at home.
A key element of VoFi, of course, is the voice component. It’s very similar to VoIP in that it’s susceptible to jitter and latency, and thus dropped calls, interruptions, and other issues. As a typical wireless network has more latency and interference than a wired network the susceptibilities are that much worse. So with this new technology comes new problems. Are you prepared to manage your new VoFi environment?
On November 18, we’re hosting a webinar to explain how best to manage your VoFi environment.