Wireless VoIP Phone

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: March 02, 2011

Wireless VoIP phones have become a common feature in many modern offices. They are similar to standard VoIP phones, but have a Wi-Fi or DECT transceiver automatically built into the design. They also tend to be SIP compliant and support wideband audio for enhanced voice communications.

Offices that use wireless VoIP phones need to have a data network that is connected to Wi-Fi equipment. This generally includes a wireless router, wireless adapter, and modem, though variations exist. There also needs to be one or more access points set up inside the building with antennas that can catch the Wi-Fi signal and broadcast it to the surrounding area (usually about 300 feet or so).

Making Calls

When someone makes a wireless phone call through this system, the sound is automatically converted into data packets that are transmitted from the phone to the surrounding Wi-Fi radio waves. These data packets are then sent across the IP network to their intended destination and the process is reversed. If a packet gets lost along the way, the system can usually figure out what’s missing and reconstruct the signal based on what preceded and followed.

Wireless VoIP phones generally require a base station in order to function, but you can normally have eight or more handsets connected to each one. You can also have multiple SIP registrations with the phone for different servers. The talk time on wireless VoIP phones tends to vary between four and twelve hours, though this can be augmented through the use of spare battery packs. They also tend to have a large amount of standby time available (in some cases two hundred hours or more).

Advantages of Wireless VoIP

There are several potential advantages to using a Wireless VoIP phone system. Employees can move around the office while making a phone call and not be constrained to one specific location. As long as the call stays within range of the wireless signal, it will be fine. You also don’t have to wire every phone or computer to the system, helping to create a more streamlined work environment. Furthermore, the operational costs tend to be quite inexpensive, much like with traditional VoIP systems.

Wireless VoIP phones also have a lot of special features available. They can have a graphical color display, visual voice mail indicator, over the air provisioning, and a phone book that can support hundreds of potential entries. In addition, many of them have the ability to support four or more concurrent phone calls at once. They also tend to provide standard features like back-lit screens and polyphonic ring tunes.

Challenges of Wireless VoIP

There are a few potential issues with wireless VoIP phones that should be mentioned. The Quality of Service (QOS) may not be as good as with wired phones, and they generally cost a bit more to set up and maintain. Wireless VoIP is also more vulnerable to security threats since there are more access points available for outside parties to exploit. These are the same issues with all wireless systems, however.

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