Agito encrypts cellular/Wi-Fi voice

Upgraded cellular-WLAN convergence appliance automates low-cost call routing

The ability to encrypt VoIP calls for mobile workers talking over Wi-Fi links is one of several new features in Agito Networks' cellular-WLAN convergence appliance.

The ability to encrypt VoIP calls for mobile workers talking over Wi-Fi links is one of several new features in Agito Networks' cellular wireless LAN convergence appliance.

The optional Secure Remote Voice feature lets the enterprise secure voice calls over Wi-Fi connections outside the office, by telecommuters with a wireless router at home or on-the-road employees using a hotel or café hotspot. The Agito client now sets up a SSL tunnel to the office-based RoamAnywhere Mobility Router. The company firewall treats the incoming call as a standard entrant via port 443, according to Agito.

The secure voice capability is part of the version 2.0 software for Agito's Mobility Router appliance, which uses several techniques in conjunction with an existing corporate PBX to shift voice calls between cellular and Wi-Fi networks, for phones that have both kinds of radios. Enterprises are evaluating such fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) products to cut cellular minutes and roaming charges, create unified phone numbers and voice mail, and extend some enterprise PBX features to cell phones. (Compare IP PBX products.)  

"It's a very solid 2.0 release," says Paul DeBeasi, senior analyst for wireless at Burton Group. "They're paying attention to details. For a teleworker, you want a secure connection at a Starbucks over Wi-Fi."

Last May, Agito added several key enterprise-class features to Mobility Router, including high availability, integration with Cisco's Unified Wireless Network product line, and support for identity-based mobility via integration with Microsoft Active Directory and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol..

Agito faces plenty of rivals for  enterprise FMC products, including not only DeVitas, Siemens and Tango, but also a somewhat different approach from Research in Motion with its Mobile Voice System.  In addition, vendors such as Kineto supply software to enable carriers such as T-Mobile to offer their network-based service to move calls between Wi-Fi and cellular connections.

Also introduced in version 2.0 is a set of algorithms to support what Agito executives call dynamic least cost routing: If a user starts to make a long-distance or international call via Wi-Fi, the software detects it and automatically routes it through the corporate PBX, turning it into a standard PSTN call to overseas, at a much lower tariff.

One existing Agito customer estimated this feature will save $500,000 in international calling charges in 2009, according to Pej Roshan, Agito's vice president of marketing and co-founder. This customer today struggles trying to enforce a manual version of this policy, requiring users to first dial an international access number and then the number they're trying to reach.

Also new in the updated Agito client-server software is:

* Support for 30 new dual-mode phone models, including 15 Windows Mobile handsets (iPhone and BlackBerry support are due out later this year).

* Integration with the Windows Mobile dialer application, so users don't have to learn and use a separate Agito interface.

* Support for what Agito calls two “"personalities" – users can choose to make or receive calls via either their personal cell phone number or the single enterprise number, both associated with the one handset.

* A redesigned, Web-based management interface, using a set of tabs, with graphs and charts, to give a high-level view of the Agito system, users, call activity and problems, and a simple way to click through to greater levels of detail.

The RoamAnywhere Mobility Router with software version 2.0 is available with no change in price. The Secure Remote Voice feature is enabled via a license for this option, which is priced from $50 to $70 per user, depending on the volume.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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