In it’s latest telecommunications industry report, local research outfit IDC says to expect this year to be full of VoIP trials (and tribulations?).
The research company says the big push to VoIP will come as companies begin to realise there is more to VoIP than Toll Bypass.
According to IDC’s latest look at the VoIP market, “Australia Wireless VoIP – On Trial in 2006”, the mass market availability of dual-mode (Wi-Fi/GSM) handsets as well as IP telephony vendors’ integration of Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) features into their IP PBXs will prompt an upswing in VoIP interest.
For the Australian enterprise today, the most typical Wireless VoIP installation will involve the coexistence of Wi-Fi handsets and thick access points independently, or thin access points with their corresponding wireless switch. Other emerging flavours are wireless VoIP running over a wireless mesh network, as well as the usage of softphones and headsets over Pre-WiMax networks with the ability to roam over the metro area network.
The ‘centralised versus decentralised’ argument in relation to medium to large WLAN deployments is long gone, won over by the security, manageability, scalability and lowered total cost of ownership offered by the centralised/wireless switch-based architecture. The WLAN vendor landscape today looks very different to that a year ago with partnerships and acquisitions abound with Aruba partnering with Alcatel and Netgear, Meru with Avaya and Juniper, Trapeze pairing up with 3Com, D-Link, Enterasys and Nortel, and also acquisitions which have taken place with Cisco-Airespace and Siemens-Chantry.
“The crux of the argument today lies in the feature sets and integration capabilities of the WLAN products, spotlighting particularly on security, VoIP and overall integration into the enterprise network infrastructure,” said Shing Quah, Market Analyst, Telecommunications.
The deployment of IP Telephony systems have already surpassed those of traditional systems; and WLANs are being increasingly installed at company sites. As such, combining the two technologies is a logical step especially for businesses with highly mobile employees, reaching beyond wireless VoIP early adopter industries like healthcare, education, retail and manufacturing.
“Enterprises are moving beyond cost saving to focusing on applications available through VoIP systems as their key reasons for deployment; this implies that there will be increased interest in ensuring that their WLAN and VoIP systems are ready for future Wireless VoIP deployments,” added Susana Vidal, Senior Analyst, Telecommunications.
For the end users, the plethora of equipment vendors in the market implies that they are spoilt for choice when it comes to wireless VoIP offerings. This allows them to shop around and opt for standards-based solutions to prevent proprietary vendor-lock in and avoid future inter-site interoperability issues. For the carriers, wireless VoIP also presents itself as voice service offering opportunity over a joint-venture wireless mesh network with local councils; and also as part of an FMC solution deployed jointly with handsets and infrastructure providers to increase the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of their business customers.