Devices | Advantages of Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi was initially thought of as a data network only. Partially, this was because of an attempt to avoid the bad image that cordless phones also projected, as users were far too used to static and interference on cordless phones. But mostly, the original iterations of Wi-Fi occurred when Wi-Fi itself was struggling to find a place, and allowing users to check email or surf the Web while moving from room to room seemed to be enough of an application to motivate the fledgling industry.
But when mobile data networking took off, and people became addicted to remote email over the cellular network, the seeds were sown for device vendors to want to integrate Wi-Fi into their mobile devices. And because those devices are primarily phones, the connection of mobility to voice over Wi-Fi was natural.
Broadly, there are two categories of voice mobility devices that use Wi-Fi as a connection method. The first are Wi-Fi-only devices. These devices are often dedicated for a specific application in mind. For example, Vocera Communications makes a Wi-Fi-based communicator that is often used in hospitals to allow doctors and nurses to communicate with each other using voice recognition, rather than a keypad, to determine whom to call.
This device looks and acts more like a Star Trek communicator than a phone, but is an excellent example of voice mobility within a campus. Polycom, through its SpectraLink division, Cisco, and Ascom all make handsets that look more like a traditional mobile phone. In all of these cases, single-mode networking—using just Wi-Fi, in these examples, as the only means of connectivity—makes sense for the environment and the application.
The second type is made of mixed-mode, or integrated devices. These devices are mobile phones, made to be used with the cellular network as well as Wi-Fi. Nearly every mobile handset manufacturer is selling or is planning on selling such a device, including Research in Motion, Nokia, Samsung, and Apple with its iPhone. These devices can be made to place voice calls directly over the Wi-Fi network, rather than the cellular network, thus unlocking the entire fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) industry.
In both cases, the push from Wi-Fi networks originally designed for data allows for voice to become a leading, if not the dominating, purpose for many networks, as the maturity and variety of Wi-Fi-enabled voice devices make voice mobility over Wi-Fi possible.

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