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Voicing concerns

Posted by Patrick Groot Nuelend

April 13, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Making a successful move to Voice over WLAN


Up and down the country, companies are having the same good idea. “I’m already paying for my WLAN. Why not move voice calls on to it as well and save money on telecommunications?”

Can’t fault the logic. Customers are pretty comfortable with the concept of internet-based calls, too. Many use Skype and WhatsApp for that very purpose. And there’s the added incentive that voice over WLAN helps employees and customers talk on the go.

But, while customers will accept you moving their voice calls online, they won’t accept any drop in quality. That’s the predicament that someone in these companies gets left with (probably you if you’re reading this blog).

Here at Zebra, we’re pretty knowledgeable about all things wireless. In fact, our WLAN technology has received voice enterprise certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance. So, our experts have been busy preparing advice for people planning to move to voice over wireless LAN (or ‘VoWLAN’ for the acronym fans among you).

First of all, you need to commit to some minimum standards. Your deployment should achieve:

  • Consistently high audio quality
    This means minimal packet loss, latency and jitter during packet transmission over radio frequency (RF) irrespective of the load and mobility of the client device.
  • Data coexistence
    You need to support both data and voice without compromising your customer's experience.
  • Security
    Voice traffic should be as secure as data traffic.

“Fair enough”, I hear you say. “But how do I achieve this?” Well, this is where it gets technical. Fortunately, we’ve put together an aptly-named technical brief.  It’s packed with recommendations like low transmit power settings for access points (APs) in dense deployments, and using access categories to manage traffic.

To get into the detail, download our brief now. But, as an overview, we’ve separated our recommendations into the following three areas:

  • Coverage
    Use a planning tool and follow it up with an RF site survey.
  • Quality of service
    You can assign a higher priority to voice traffic by supporting the Wi-Fi Alliance’s standard, Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM).
  • Roaming performance and security
    Mobility is the key reason companies are moving to VoWLAN. It’s critical that roaming across APs or domains does not reduce the quality of a call. 
Using your wireless network for voice apps can save money and help customers and employees communicate on the move. But only if your technology is up to the job. Take a look at our recommendations. Then, speak to us about creating a wireless network that doesn’t just sound good in theory.