VoIP over WiFi - VoWiFi

The advances of VoIP and Internet telephony in general have come a long way since their inception. Most recently, the "next big thing" has been to merge Wi-Fi with VoIP, producing one of the oddest acronyms you'll ever see. VoWiFi, or Voice over Wireless Fidelity, simply means a Wi-Fi based VoIP service — or in even more general terms, a wireless based VoIP system.
Where VoIP consists of the hardware and software that enables people to use the Internet as the transmission medium for telephone calls, VoWiFi is the wireless version of  this technology that is designed to work on wireless devices such as a laptop or PDA. Some may wonder why a person or organization wouldn't simply use a cell phone for mobile communications, but again business and organizations can take advantage of a decreased communications cost while having a mobile system that offers more reliable coverage indoors and higher voice quality than traditional cellular service with VoWiFi.
Along with added benefits to business and those with a need for wireless communications, VoWiFi also opens up the door for a whole new market of consumer products such as a standalone VoWiFi handheld. Many cellular phone companies such as Nokia and Motorola have already announced dual-mode cellular phones that will support seamless roaming from WiFi to cellular networks when WiFi is unavailable to a caller. That is one of the biggest challenges facing VoWiFi — roaming access. A WiFi access point offers a communication range of up to 90 meters (commonly called a hotspot), and continuous conversations would mean that the caller must stay within an area of overlapping hotspots, or as already suggested, have a VoWiFi dual-mode phone that would switch to a regular cellular phone transmission when the caller moves out of a hot spot range.
Communicating using VoIP over Wi-Fi is something many people are paying close attention to. Cellular companies aren't feeling too threatened yet due to some of the more serious problems facing VoWiFi; like roaming access and security. These issues may take years to iron out, if they ever are. It can be said that not many people really expected to see the cellular phone industry take off like it did, and only time will tell if VoWiFi is truly the next big thing in wireless communications or if it's just the next great idea that consumers didn't quite get.

Wi-Fi, which stands for wireless fidelity, in a play on the older term Hi-Fi, is a wireless networking technology used across the globe. Wi-Fi refers to any system that uses the 802.11 standard, which was developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and released in 1997.It provides secure, reliable, fast wireless connectivity. Wi-Fi is the trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance, the trade organization that defines the Wi-Fi standards.
It refers to a local area network which uses high frequency radio signals to send and receive data over short distances (approx. 200 feet). It can connect computers anywhere in home or office without the need for wires. It is also known as 802.11 networking and wireless networking. 
Hot spots are areas with Wi-Fi service and are either accessed for free or for a fee. It is possible to purchase access using a metered system or passes good for a certain time frame, such as day, week or month. There may be metered access or with a pass for, for example, a day, month or year. Access can be for a complete chain of locations or just one hot spot. Hot spots can be in bookstores, cafes or airports.
In a Wi-Fi network, computers with wifi network cards connect wirelessly to a wireless router. The router is connected to the Internet by means of a modem, typically a cable or DSL modem. Any user within 200 feet or so (about 61 meters) of the access point can then connect to the Internet, though for good transfer rates, distances of 100 feet (30.5 meters) or less are more common. Retailers also sell wireless signal boosters that extend the range of a wireless network.
Wi-Fi network s operate in the unlicensed 2.4 and 5 GHz radio bands, with an 11Mbps (802.11b) or 54 Mbps (802.11a) data rate or with products that contain both bands.

Wireless networks operate using radio frequency (RF) technology, a frequency within the electromagnetic spectrum associated with radio wave propagation. When an RF current is supplied to an antenna, an electromagnetic field is created that then is able to propagate through space.
The cornerstone of a wireless network is a device known as an access point (AP). The primary job of an access point is to broadcast a wireless signal that computers can detect and "tune" into. Since wireless networks are usually connected to wired ones, an access point also often serves as a link to the resources available on the a wired network, such as an Internet connection.

In order to connect to an access point and join a wireless network, computers must be equipped with wireless network adapters. These are often built right into the computer, but if not, just about any computer or notebook can be made wireless-capable through the use of an add-on adapter plugged into an empty expansion slot, USB port, or in the case of notebooks, a PC Card slot.

Speed and Range                             
When you buy a piece of wireless network hardware, it will often quote performance figures (i.e., how fast it can transmit data) based on the type of wireless networking standard it uses, plus any added technological enhancements.  In truth, these performance figures are almost always wildly optimistic.
While the official speeds of 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n networks are 11, 54, and 270 megabits per second (Mbps) respectively, these figures represent a scenario that’s simply not attainable in the real world. As a general rule, you should assume that in a best-case scenario you’ll get roughly one-third of the advertised performance.

It's also worth noting that a wireless network is by definition a shared network, so the more computers you have connected to a wireless access point the less data each will be able to send and receive. Just as a wireless network's speed can vary greatly, so too can the range. For example, 802.11b and g officially work over a distance of up to 328 feet indoors or 1,312 feet outdoors, but the key term there is "up to". Chances are you won't see anywhere close to those numbers.

As you might expect, the closer you are to an access point, the stronger the signal and the faster the connection speed. The range and speed you get out of wireless network will also depend on the kind of environment in which it operates. And that brings us to the subject of interference.

Interference is an issue with any form of radio communication, and a wireless network is no exception. The potential for interference is especially great indoors, where different types of building materials (concrete, wood, drywall, metal, glass and so on) can absorb or reflect radio waves, affecting the strength and consistency of a wireless network's signal. Similarly, devices like microwave ovens and some cordless phones can cause interference because they operate in the same 2.4 frequency range as 802.11b/g/n networks. You can't avoid interference entirely, but in most cases it's not significant enough to affect the usability of the network. When it does, you can usually minimize the interference by relocating wireless networking hardware or using specialized antennas.

Data Security
In the same way that all you need to pick up a local radio station is a radio, all anyone needs to detect a wireless network within nearby range is a wireless-equipped computer. There's no way to selectively hide the presence of your network from strangers, but you can prevent unauthorized people from connecting to it, and you can protect the data traveling across the network from prying eyes. By turning on a wireless network's encryption feature, you can scramble the data and control access to the network.

Wireless network hardware supports several standard encryption schemes, but the most common are Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), and Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2). WEP is the oldest and least secure method and should be avoided. WPA and WPA2 are good choices, but provide better protection when you use longer and more complex passwords (all devices on a wireless network must use the same kind of encryption and be configured with the same password).
Unless you intend to provide public access to your wireless network — and put your business data or your own personal data at risk — you should consider encryption mandatory.

Wireless networking hardware requires the use of underlying technology that deals with radio frequencies as well as data transmission.
The most widely used standard is 802.11 produced by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). This is a standard defining all aspects of Radio Frequency Wireless Networking.


In 1997, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) created the first WLAN standard. They called it 802.11 after the name of the group formed to oversee its development. Unfortunately, 802.11 only supported a maximum network bandwidth of 2 Mbps - too slow for most applications. For this reason, ordinary 802.11 wireless products are no longer manufactured.


IEEE expanded on the original 802.11 standard in July 1999, creating the 802.11b specification. 802.11b supports bandwidth up to 11 Mbps, comparable to traditional Ethernet.
802.11b uses the same unregulated radio signaling frequency (2.4 GHz) as the original 802.11 standard. Vendors often prefer using these frequencies to lower their production costs. However, by installing 802.11b gear a reasonable distance from other appliances, interference can easily be avoided.
  • Pros of 802.11b - lowest cost; signal range is good and not easily obstructed
  • Cons of 802.11b - slowest maximum speed; home appliances may interfere on the unregulated frequency band


While 802.11b was in development, IEEE created a second extension to the original 802.11 standard called 802.11a. Because 802.11b gained in popularity much faster than did 802.11a, Due to its higher cost, 802.11a is usually found on business networks whereas 802.11b better serves the home market.
802.11a supports bandwidth up to 54 Mbps and signals in a regulated frequency spectrum around 5 GHz. This higher frequency compared to 802.11b shortens the range of 802.11a networks. The higher frequency also means 802.11a signals have more difficulty penetrating walls and other obstructions.
Because 802.11a and 802.11b utilize different frequencies, the two technologies are incompatible with each other. Some vendors offer hybrid 802.11a/b network gear, but these products merely implement the two standards side by side (each connected devices must use one or the other).
  • Pros of 802.11a - fast maximum speed; regulated frequencies prevent signal interference from other devices
  • Cons of 802.11a - highest cost; shorter range signal that is more easily obstructed


In 2002 and 2003, WLAN products supporting a newer standard called 802.11g emerged on the market. 802.11g attempts to combine the best of both 802.11a and 802.11b. 802.11g supports bandwidth up to 54 Mbps, and it uses the 2.4 Ghz frequency for greater range. Pros of 802.11g - fast maximum speed; signal range is good and not easily obstructed
  • Cons of 802.11g - costs more than 802.11b; appliances may interfere on the unregulated signal frequency


The newest IEEE standard in the Wi-Fi category is 802.11n. It was designed to improve on 802.11g in the amount of bandwidth supported by utilizing multiple wireless signals and instead of one.
When this standard is finalized, 802.11n connections should support data rates of over 100 Mbps. 802.11n also offers somewhat better range over earlier Wi-Fi standards due to its increased signal intensity. 802.11n equipment will be backward compatible with 802.11g gear.
  • Pros of 802.11n - fastest maximum speed and best signal range; more resistant to signal interference from outside sources
  • Cons of 802.11n - standard is not yet finalized; costs more than 802.11g; the use of multiple signals may greatly interfere with nearby 802.11b/g based networks.
A wireless network or Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) serves the same purpose as a wired one — to link a group of computers. Because "wireless" doesn't require costly wiring, the main benefit is that it's generally easier, faster and cheaper to set up.
By comparison, creating a network by pulling wires throughout the walls and ceilings of an office can be labor-intensive and thus expensive. But even when you have a wired network already in place, a wireless network can be a cost-effective way to expand or augment it. In fact, there's really no such thing as a purely wireless network, because most link back to a wired network at some point.

The advances of VoIP and Internet telephony in general have come a long way since their inception. VOIP in simple terms is the process of breaking up audio or video into small chunks, transmitting those chunks over an IP network, and reassembling those chunks at the far end so that two people can communicate using audio and video, instead of the plain old telephone system (POTS).
The basic principle of Voip is very simple. It's the same technology you have probably used already to listen to music over the Internet. Voice sounds are picked up by a microphone and digitized by the sound card. The sounds are then converted to a compressed form, compact enough to be sent in real time over the Internet, using a software driver called a codec. The term codec is short for "encoder/decoder". The sounds are encoded at the sending end, sent over the Internet and then decoded at the receiving end, where they are played back over the speakers. The only requirements are a connection between the two computers of an adequate speed, and matching codecs at each end.
To be usable, a Voip system also needs a method for establishing and managing a connection, for example, calling the other computer, finding out if they accept the call, and closing the connection when a user hangs up. Because Voip allows two way communication, and even conference calls, it's a lot more complicated than simple audio streaming. How calls are managed is the area in which Voip systems fundamentally differ, and two Voip users must be using the same system (or compatible ones) in order to be able to call each other.
Because most Internet users don't have a permanent Internet address (IP address, a number like that uniquely identifies that computer, at that moment), Voip systems don't generally work by calling another computer direct – although that may be an option for those who do have a permanent address. Instead, each user of the service registers with an intermediate server, which maintains a record of their IP address all the time they are connected. An example of a Voip application that works this way is Picophone.


  • It makes long-distance calls less expensive by removing some of the access charges required for use of the public telephone network.
  • A user's physical location also becomes irrelevant.
  • VoIP also enables WiFi’s advanced features like checking voice mail or programming call forwarding through a web application.


·         VoIP services do not work in blackouts.
·         VoIP services are only as reliable as the customer’s broadband connection. 
·         A poor quality connection can lead to voice quality issues. Luckily, high quality broadband is getting easier and easier to find these days.

Wireless and VoIP have joined forces. Installing a WLAN network card into your computer uses wireless technology. After installing the card, your computer will become “wireless”. This means that you will be able to enjoy an Internet connection without the use of cables and cords.
VoIP is the technology that allows the transmission of audio files by transmitting them into data packets across the Internet. By integrating Wireless and VoIP a new generation of audio telecommunications has been birthed. By having a VoIP service and a wireless connection, you can enjoy the best of both worlds- wireless VoIP connections.
Wireless networks are activated by what is known as a “hotspot”. A hotspot is an area where there is an access point. Wireless connections are basically created by radio signals. An access point is where the network has established their main signal. It is possible for wireless users to basically “jump” from hotspot to hotspot and utilize various networks access points.
The combination of Wireless and VoIP has led to the invention - VoWiFi technology. VoWiFi stands for Voice over Wireless Fidelity. VoWiFi has also produced the new VoWiFi phones. These phones operate like cell phones, only they use VoIP technology, (transmit over the Internet) and are wireless, operating in various hotspots.
VoWiFi phones are very inexpensive to use, as is all of VoIP technology. It is much cheaper to submit audio as data packets over the Internet and it uses considerably less bandwidth. This is a reason why VoIP technology is gaining in strength and momentum.
Many people are choosing the freedom that is offered by VoIP. VoIP can offer nearly free or free long distance phone calls. Since VoWi-Fi operates from hotspot to hotspot or network-to-network, you may think that there are roaming charges involved. There are no roaming charges involved with VoIP. That’s right, you can take your VoWiFi phone from hotspot to hotspot, maintaining your connection (provided you easily go from hotspot to hotspot) absolutely free.

Mobile VoWiFi phones support VoIP or VoIM services, but not both. Some connect to hotspots automatically, others require manual configuration. (Manual configuration is more secure.) And most incorporate some form of Wi-Fi security.
You may be wondering why not just use cellular? Why go wireless? Well, for those who travel a lot or are consistently out of their cellular range, roaming charges will apply and can be expensive. By using your VoWiFi in hotspots while you are traveling, you can pick up a connection and make your calls for free.
Be careful not to confuse a VoWiFi phone with a cordless VoIP phone. They are two distinctively different products. A VoWiFi phone will enable you to access hotspots, but a cordless VoIP phone is simply a way to have a cordless phone in your house that is compatible with your VoIP service provider.
An interesting trend is the creation of the hybrid phone. If someone is a traveling salesman, or just simply travels frequently and is on their cell phone, then leave their network range- they can take advantage of the new hybrid phone. The hybrid phone, which is part cellular, part VoWiFi, will be able to access hotspots, and pick up a signal. - no more roaming charges!
Wireless VoIP does show promising signs towards the future and many look anxiously awaiting new products and increasing performance by these products. You will have to have a VoIP service provider before you can access VoWiFi. However, you can still find many free hotspots that will give your phone a connection.
Both Wireless and VoIP are relatively new technologies that have a lot of kinks that need to be worked out. The products are hitting the market at increasing speed, while rules, regulations, and security issues seem to be taking second place. That is the nature of telecommunications technology though, and we can expect that the face of Wireless VoIP will look very different in the next few years. Major corporations are already embracing this technology, creating services, phones, hybrid phones and plans that center on VoIP while the FCC races to determine where in fact VoIP technology’s classifications lay.
Along with added benefits to business and those with a need for wireless communications, VoWiFi also opens up the door for a whole new market of consumer products such as a standalone VoWiFi handheld. Many cellular phone companies such as Nokia and Motorola have already announced dual-mode cellular phones that will support seamless roaming from WiFi to cellular networks when WiFi is unavailable to a caller. That is one of the biggest challenges facing VoWiFi — roaming access. A WiFi access point offers a communication range of up to 90 meters (commonly called a hotspot), and continuous conversations would mean that the caller must stay within an area of overlapping hotspots, or as already suggested, have a VoWiFi dual-mode phone that would switch to a regular cellular phone transmission when the caller moves out of a hot spot range.
Communicating using VoIP over Wi-Fi is something many people are paying close attention to. Cellular companies aren't feeling too threatened yet due to some of the more serious problems facing VoWiFi; like roaming access and security. These issues may take years to iron out, if they ever are. It can be said that not many people really expected to see the cellular phone industry take off like it did, and only time will tell if VoWiFi is truly the next big thing in wireless communications or if it's just the next great idea that consumers didn't quite get.

Wi-Fi networks are inherently a shared medium, in which all users accessing the network have equal access to the available bandwidth. As the proliferation of WiFi-enabled devices continues, more and more end-points are vying for this increasingly limited resource. For many services using WiFi as a communications network, periodic delays in receiving or transferring data result in no perceptible problems. However, the real-time nature of voice communications makes the delays or interruptions that can occur in congested WiFi networks less acceptable.
With the initial 802.11 specifications, there were no direct provisions for quality of service; the protocols were designed to provide fair and equal access to all devices accessing the medium. However, as WiFi has grown and applications for it broadened, the need for a level of inherent QoS has become apparent. The industry has responded to this need through the development of the 802.11e specification, of which the primary goal is to define QoS for WiFi networks. One of the primary characteristics designed into the 802.11e specification is the use of "classes of priority" for various types of traffic.
By assigning certain classes of traffic a higher priority than others, networking devices are able to appropriately queue and manage traffic to maximize delivery of higher priority traffic when congested network conditions exist. Within the 802.11e standard, four access categories have been defined. It is recommended that the highest of these priorities be dedicated to voice-related traffic, with video data, best-effort data and background data filling the remaining classes in descending order. As with any priority scheme, the enforcement of the classification of traffic is left to the applications, and all must "play fairly" to the prioritization scheme to be useful at a network layer.
In addition, as most VoIP calls will not initiate and terminate on a given local WiFi network, it is important that the overall network be designed to enable a consistent QoS scheme. Ethernet networks have the ability to carry a priority indication as part of the 802.1p extension (now included as part of a more recent 802.1D specification update).
This extension provides for the definition of eight levels of priority, with up to that many distinct queues on the Ethernet switching device. Likewise, QoS provisions exist within the network layer through the use of DiffServ or IntServ protocols. It is important that one consider how the end-to-end quality of service issues are addressed when designing a network intended to carry VoIP traffic, and how translations of this QoS information will occur across the boundaries of wired-to-wireless networks (Figure 1). The mapping of the 802.11e to 802.1p (or DiffServ) QoS must occur within the 802.11e enabled WiFi access point.
Another attribute of the 802.11e specification that is valuable when used with VoWiFi handsets is the ability to provide timed delivery of packets to end-points on the network. This feature allows devices to coordinate the reception of a batch of packets on some timed interval. The ability to define when network traffic will arrive enables the device to turn off the WiFi sub-system except when needed to transmit traffic or to receive scheduled incoming data. This provides the system designer with yet another level of control to minimize overall power consumption of the device.

Perhaps one of the most significant inhibitors of rapid adoption of VoWiFi handsets is battery life. Many first-generation devices exhibited stand-by times shorter than the talk times of most cellular phones. Clearly, if VoWiFi handsets are going to achieve widespread consumer adoption, the battery life of these devices must be comparable to that of current cellular, cordless or DECT phones. To further complicate matters, users have become accustomed to the ever-smaller form factor of portable telephones and this places a constraint on the OEM or ODM in terms of the size of battery that can be used in the device.
The WiFi components within the device represent one of the largest drains on battery life in a VoWiFi handset. And, although the emerging generation of WiFi silicon will be significantly less power-hungry, there exist numerous other devices in a VoWiFi handset that are just as ready to consume the limited supply of power. For instance, traditional DSP designs require either multiple processors or a system-on-chip device to perform the overall VoIP functionality.
In these designs, a traditional applications processor (ARM, MIPS, etc.) is used for the general man-machine interface (MMI) as well as the VoIP call control functionality, while a DSP is used for the voice-to-packet-to-voice conversion. This approach has a number of drawbacks when designing a portable device.
In the end, the use of a separate applications processor and a DSP, whether as discrete components or as cores in a system-on-chip, results in a larger physical package, which reduces the internal area available for larger battery packaging within the product. In addition, the increase in number of components within the overall system adds to the collective power draw of the device.

One technique for improving the power consumption profile of a VoWiFi device is to leverage a "DSP-free" design methodology in which voice processing is handled on the applications processor. As the general-purpose applications processors targeted for portable use have evolved, they have reached a point at which they have sufficient processing power to run compute-intensive tasks, such as voice processing, along with other general applications functions. With voice processing function executing on the applications processor and the DSP removed, immediate savings in power and physical packaging size can be recognized. Figure 2 shows a DSP-free based VoWiFi handset, illustrating the various functions that execute as software within the applications processor interacting with the external interfaces in the system.
Considerations related to the battery-powered, portable nature of a VoWiFi device must also be applied to the overall software architecture. To conserve as much power as possible during stand-by mode, the system must power-down as much of the external hardware, as well as the processor, when active processing is not on-going.
When a call is not active, only very minimal, very infrequent tasks should be executing on the device. The embedded operating system and associated application should schedule to wake up on an infrequent basis (in the realm of 250 ms to 500 ms) to check for incoming events, such as the receipt of a SIP call control packet requesting the initiation of a VoIP call. Other events that might activate an increased level of processing on the system would be a user pressing buttons on the keypad to initiate a call.

A CPU sub-system that allows programmatic control over the processor clock rate can be utilized to maximize the battery life of the VoWiFi device. By running the processor at a slower clock speed for normal MMI interaction, then ramping up the processor speed to provide maximum performance for voice processing when a VoIP call becomes active, the system can continue to squeeze additional stand-by and talk time from the battery. A single-processor, DSP-free architecture actually allows this programmatic processor speed control to be more easily implemented by the applications developer because there is no need to worry about clock synchronization issues that might occur between multiple processors within the system.
From a VoIP software subsystem point of view, care must be taken to not make assumptions about the availability of a given hardware resource within the system, nor to lock onto a given resource in a manner that would prevent it from being powered down if not needed for an extended period of time. The design of the VoIP software must take this "external" control view to its heart.

The VoIP software should be designed so that the application can control when the VoIP software executes (and what resources it has access to), allowing the system to power-down or disconnect hardware resources that are not required at any particular time. For example, turning off the microphone and speaker interface when there is no call active will help to extend battery life. If this is done with a simple run-to-completion model, the application has the ability to power-down various parts of the system as needed between calls.

·         Mobility is the primary selling point, much as it is with cell phones.
·         VoWiFi has the advantage of no airtime charges. As a wireless technology, there are no wires to run to Wi-Fi phones. Therefore, network configuration and reconfiguration processes are fast.
·          VoWiFi delivers a simpler, less expensive and more flexible system for providing mobile data and voice communications than other technologies that require the implementation and maintenance of separate systems for each.
·          VoWiFi also offers greater reliability and voice quality than alternatives such as cellular technology.
·         No roaming charges
·         Offers unlimited world calling, unlimited messaging features

·         VoIP and Wi-Fi are both immature technologies, so merging the two into VoWiFi carries some associated risks.
·         Standards are still in development, and some early pre-standard versions may not be upgradeable to compliance level.
·         As a data-centric LAN technology, Wi-Fi involves a shared medium in the form of frequency bands creating issues of contention and congestion. 
·         Troublesome for stream-oriented communications such as voice, and especially so when handoffs are required as the user roams between APs.
·         Wi-Fi phones are easily double the cost of a typical cordless phone. 
·         WiFi hotspots generally have a limited range, roughly 90 yards

In the context of Vo WiFi and VoWiFi-Mobile roaming many of the current deployments of VoWiFi involve integration with enterprise PBXs
One method of integrating with a traditional PBX is to use a Vo WiFi gateway. The calls are routed from the Vo WiFi phone to Vo WiFi gateway via the WiFi Access Point and the Vo WiFi gateway transmits calls to the existing PBX .Integration with PBX allows calls to be placed to and received from the PSTN, and also supports PBX features such as call forwarding messaging and conference calling.
Another way to use Vo WiFi is to use soft phones on mobile computers or PDAs which route calls entirely over the internet in WiFi areas such as HOT SPOTS.
The gateway connects to the mobile switching centre for cellular calls, and connects to the data network for WiFi calls.
The gateway manages subscriber access and handoff. As the subscriber moves within range of a wireless access point, the gateway authorizes the subscriber’s access and all network services — both voice and data — are delivered over the WiFi.
When the subscriber moves outside of the WiFi coverage area, the gateway seamlessly switches control over to another WiFi network or the mobile network deploying a VoWiFi /mobile roaming solution requires dual-mode handsets that support both VoWiFi as well as mobile


Since VoWiFi is technically based on VoIP over WiFi, quite a few technical issues and challenges are
similar to those in WiFi and VoIP. Thus the technical issues and standard development of VOWiFi includes the following.

Quality of Service (QoS)
WiFi has its own QoS challenges in that throughput may fluctuate when roaming among Access Points. Subscribers are more sensitive to perceptible service degradation for voice or video than for data. Therefore, more reliable QoS is necessary for voice to be delivered satisfactorily over WiFi. The issue of QoS will be increasingly important when roaming between WiFi and mobile networks is supported, given that network hand-off can result in quality of service degradation.
Currently, the IEEE is working on a 802.11e standard, which is expected to increase QoS by tagging
different types of traffic, such as voice, video and data, with various priority levels. The extensions will give voice calls priority over data access. For that 802.11e standard is being released  in  2005.Up to now; most wireless equipments did not yet incorporate QoS because they were to emerge. Without standards, local voice systems over WiFi have been provided as bundles of proprietary wireless network hardware and software. For example, Symbol and Spectra Link have implemented their own proprietary QoS mechanisms for their hardware. Some have tried to maintain the required QoS by limiting the number of voice calls on a single Access Point.
The WiFi Alliance announced a new WiFi Multimedia (WMM) program to deal with quality of service issues in September 2004.The WMM program combines core elements of the 802.11e draft and a simplified packet priority access category scheme borrowed from IEEE 802.11d. WMM is designed to improve the QoS for voice, audio, video and multi-media applications over WiFi.

Proper bandwidth
With the wide deployment of WiFi in hotspots and in enterprises, the need for higher-speed WiFi is also increasing. Applications over WiFi are using an increasing amount of bandwidth. In addition, the
number of users and devices connecting to WiFi are increasing and the bandwidth demand is expected to increase with the provision of WiFi/mobile roaming. However, while Access Point vendors say that each existing Access Point can support 10 simultaneous calls in 802.11b mode, it has been claimed that in reality less than 10 calls, i.e. 5 to 8 of the calls are available with buffering for security and QoS in reality. Although 20 simultaneous calls can be supported in 802.11a or 802.11g modes, this channel and bandwidth limitation may cause problems as service is further deployed and in coming years. Even though some proprietary solutions to increase bandwidth have been introduced, IEEE has started
its work through the 802.11n Committee to develop the standard. IEEE plans to finish collecting proposals from industry and started to evaluate them in late 2004. The 802.11n standard for increasing bandwidth is also being released in 2005.On the other hand, several vendors, such as Netgear, Atheros and D-Link, have already been working on a technique, Super G, to increase the speed of WiFi connections. Super G is supported in chipsets that are interoperable with other 802.11a, b, or g products. In July 2004, Agere Systems outlined a way to increase transmission speeds up to 500 Mbps.44 In order to increase the speed,Agere Systems uses two to four sets of antennae instead of single set of antennae that is currently deployed on each wireless connection, and increases the size of each WiFi radio channel from 20 MHz to 40 MHz. This technique operates in the 5 GHz frequency range, which has less interference than the 2.4 GHz.

Security and privacy
The potential security and privacy risks arising from using WiFi for voice have been an obstacle to further development of VoWiFi/mobile roaming. Those risks include stealing packets, unauthorized access to the network and intentional interference by outsiders. This issue has a greater impact on business users than residential subscribers. Up to now, virtual private network (VPN), encryption and authentication technologies have been implemented to address security and privacy issues.
In general, encryption presently used such as Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is considered weak and susceptible to outside intrusion. When granting access, WiFi relies on Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs) to verify each network component. One method for checking individual device information, called open authentication, is to require SSID of the device to access the network. This method is vulnerable in that the Access Point constantly broadcasts its SSID so that intruders are able to detect it. Another method, called shared-key authentication, requires sending a challenge test packet that is encrypted and returned to the AP from the device. If the device has no encryption key or the wrong key, it cannot access the network. But using a weak static encryption algorithm for a continuous period of time provides an opportunity for hackers to break the code. Another challenge for encryption and authentication is to hand off calls quickly between different Access Points or mobile networks so as to provide a clean voice call, i.e. in under 50 milliseconds. Vendors have tried to address these security problems by developing proprietary extensions, i.e. LEAP from Cisco and Kerberos from Symbol. However, these additional extensions have another problem such as non-interoperability with other products, and add latency creating delays. To solve the problems associated with WEP, Wireless Protected Access (WPA) has been designed. WPA provides encryption via Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP), which uses dynamic instead of static keys. IEEE has also worked on security issues by developing an 802.11i standard, which will create fresh keys at the start of each session, provide a way to check packets, and rely on the Remote Access Dial-In Service (RADIUS) standard to manage encryption key.46 Products conforming to the new 802.11i standard are expected to be released in several months. However, a possible problem still remains in that the need for 802.11i to re-authenticate every time when users move between access points may cause delays.

The adoption of heterogeneous WiFi technologies may cause incompatibilities. In addition, with the advance of WiFi and VoWiFi, a growing number of vendors are trying to differentiate their products beyond existing standards, mainly by boosting speed or security. However, this may create interoperability problems with other products or systems that follow existing standards. Moreover, products run over 802.11b are not likely to support 802.11a or 802.11g standards. On the other hand, some products which support VoIP have limited interoperability with those from other vendors. The issue of interoperability may result in enterprises incurring higher costs. To deal with the problem of interoperability the WiFi Alliance has been overseeing tests that certify product interoperability since March 2000. A product that passes the alliance tests is given the label "WiFi certified", a registered trademark. To strengthen the interoperability between products, the WiFi Alliance announced, in July 2004, a new and more stringent policy in order that extensions to WiFi products do not impair the ability of other certified products. The Alliance may withhold or revoke certification, if a product significantly impacts the ability of other WiFi certified equipment.

Interference and complexity
The spectrum for WiFi is not dedicated and licensed for use by certain entities as in the case of mobile services. Therefore, the users of WiFi share spectrum with other devices, including household devices such as microwaves. Consequently, as WiFi or VoWiFi deploys further, the spectrum will become increasingly crowded and the possibility of interferences will grow. In this regard, some experts warned that interference issues among the many new wireless hotspots could threaten WiFi’s continued success, as more and more hotspots and wireless devices roll out.
There are commercial efforts to deal with this problem. For example, Propagate has worked with
network gateway and switch players ReefEdge, Bluesocket and Chantry Networks to use common application programming interfaces (APIs) that automate the management of wireless networks.


  • The number of businesses using voice over wireless local area networks (VoWLAN) is set to triple over the next two years.
  • Dual mode handsets.
  • Can use DSP-free architecture to enable maximum battery life for VoWiFi handsets.
  • Integration of video, data, audio, and web browsing capabilities on wireless phones.
  • Concentrates on the security issues.
  • 100 million Cellular/VoWiFi phones by 2010: ABI Research.


The technology Voice over Wi-Fi provides a very affordable, high speed, simple and dependable way to create network, communicate and share data wirelessly while indoors or outside. We can access hotspot or wireless network in convenience of our home, office or public. VoWiFi allows users to make voice calls and access video and data at a low price.
Technology exists today to implement VoIP over WLANs applications as an integral part of next-generation seamless wireless voice/data networks. Some vendors design their VoWiFi phones to be stationary models used in the home or office, working in tandem with a VoIP broadband modem or a PC with VoIM software. Other vendors make their devices completely mobile; they work at any Wi-Fi hotspot can take your VoWiFi phone from hotspot to hotspot, maintaining your connection (provided you easily go from hotspot to hotspot) absolutely free. To accomplish this goal, mobile device designers, carriers, service providers and enterprise/home network designers face deployment, provisioning and implementation issues.

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