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Category Archives: VoFI – Voice over Wireless

Introducing Omni 7.9.5

This week, we are excited to announce the release of WildPackets Omni Distributed Analysis version 7.9.5, our latest product update and the industry’s first Wi-Fi analysis solution for gigabit wireless local area networks (WLANs). With this release, WildPackets becomes the only vendor on the market to offer a solution for managing and troubleshooting new enterprise 802.11ac networks.

Enterprises large and small are upgrading their WLANs to the 802.11ac standard, which provides unprecedented performance, capacity and reliability. However, traditional techniques and solutions for WLAN troubleshooting and analysis are unable to handle the increased throughput of 802.11ac.

As the amount of data traversing enterprise WLANs continues to grow, enterprises need a solution that will ensure optimal network performance and business productivity. Omni Distributed Analysis 7.9.5 delivers the necessary capture and analysis capabilities to handle this increased throughput of data, ensuring that enterprises have the WLAN troubleshooting and analysis tools they need to keep up with these new network standards.

Some of the other key features of Omni 7.9.5 include:

  • Gigabit Wireless Network Analysis
  • Multichannel and wireless roaming analysis
  • Comprehensive voice over Wi-Fi troubleshooting (VoFi)
  • Flexible data capture – including portable, remote, and wireless forensics
  • Remote capture from commercial APs, including CISCO and Aruba

As network technology continues to advance, and demand grows for more data faster, WildPackets continues to provide the simplicity and visibility to keep up with your growing network. To learn more, visit wireless.wildpackets.com or register for our Q&A on Gigabit Wi-Fi Analysis, happening on Wednesday, June 18.

The Top Benefits of Voice over Wi-Fi (VoFi)

Much of today’s work is done on the move, meaning wireless networks are responsible for carrying much of the data that drives business. With voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) being the primary technology in use in the world of business telephony, the next logical step, voice over Wi-Fi (VoFi) is starting to make noise as well. VoFi offers a number of benefits for companies and their employees, more of whom are starting to take advantage of the technology. Here some of the biggest reasons to look deeper into the technology:

Cost Savings
For some business owners, opening the company’s monthly cell phone bill is pure terror. Making voice calls using Wi-Fi can actually eliminate the need to pay a mobile carrier bloated monthly fees and cut costs quite a bit. As long as there is a hotspot nearby you are good to go.

Productivity
Far more than a mere buzzword, the amount and quality of work a company gets done is often the primary difference between success and failure. Increased mobile access gives workers the chance to make better use of what has traditionally been considered “downtime,” like traveling from one location to another. In other words, the flexibility of VoFi allows employees to make important calls from trains and planes across all terrains.

Accessibility
A major productivity driver, increased accessibility can boost customer relations by giving companies the ability to respond in a situation that needs immediate attention. For instance, VoFi can be a lifesaver when a decision-maker is out of the office but needs to be reached quickly to approve a service resolution. If customers are forced to wait for a problem to be resolved, frustration, decreased satisfaction and eventually customer churn can result.

For more information about WildPackets’ VoFi solutions, click here.

Organizations should consider VoFi, but they need to be aware of the issues first

WildPackets recently hosted a webinar on the proliferation of wireless handheld devices, especially tablets and smart phones, during which we discussed how they put increased strain on today’s wireless networks. As technology continues to rapidly evolve, network engineers are in a race to keep up – both with system interoperability concerns and throughput, reliability, and security issues. New problems accompany new technologies, and voice over Wi-Fi, sometimes called VoFi, is no different.

So why do we need VoFi? Even in today’s technological environment with cell towers going up all around the country, phone call quality can still be quite spotty. Especially in office buildings, behind glass, aluminum and concrete, voice quality is reduced significantly.

VoFi enables organizations to utilize the 802.11 network rather than rely on a regular cellular network, improving quality of voice due to stronger signals and a well-controlled infrastructure. VoFi is available on most devices, and all new devices that support 802.11ac, making it much simpler to deploy, and offering organizations the convenience of not having to purchase new equipment. Lastly, because VoFi essentially relies on BYOD, organizations are no longer responsible for supplying the device, which decreases the total cost involved.

However, while organizations may consider VoFi for the quality, convenience and cost benefits, VoFi has very unique networking requirements as compared to typical data traffic on the network. Voice traffic is highly susceptible to packet loss, jitter and latency – resulting in dropped calls, interruptions and other issues. Below, we take a deeper dive into each of these issues and what organizations should look for to ensure they don’t occur.

  • Latency: Most people think of latency as network propagation delay. But it often gets introduced in many other ways. With VoFi, latency occurs because packets must move from one handset to another, making their way through a number of switches and routers along the way. As a result, VoFi calls can experience halting conversations, echoing and overlapping sounds (noises, words). While latency is inherent in any network, the lower the latency, of course, the better the voice quality. Industry guidelines put the highest acceptable latency at 150 milliseconds (ms). Any higher and quality begins to degrade.
  • Jitter: Jitter deals with the variance in the packet delivery interval and takes place when packet delivery suffers from variable delay. VoFi expects that packets are delivered at a very regular interval, but as soon as some variation in delivery occurs, the quality of conversations suffers. To help compensate for this, jitter buffering is often employed to smooth the variability and allow for reordering voice packets, which may arrive out of order, but adds some latency. In addition, severe jitter can lead to packet loss, as packets that are delayed too long are not allowed to enter the jitter buffer.
  • Packet loss: Packet loss exists on every network and is caused by physical layer corruption, congestion without QoS provisions, and as we mentioned above, jitter buffer discards due to excessive latency. As a rule, packet loss in VoIP (and VoFi) should never exceed 1 percent, which essentially means one voice skip every three minutes. DSP algorithms may compensate for up to 30 ms of missing data; any more than this, and missing audio will be noticeable to listeners.

For much more information on VoFi, including the tools needed for securing your network and optimizing performance, and how you can identify and monitor the maximum threshold for voice and video over Wi-Fi capacity, please refer to our VoFi web seminar.

Check out a quick preview of the OnDemand webcast talking about the impact of “Just One More Call” on a VOIP and/or VoFi network. The full OnDemand webcast can be accessed here.