• United States

Nortel sends voice over WLANs

Mar 02, 20042 mins

* Nortel WLAN products enable voice communications

It’s like a cell phone, but it’s not. Nortel this week introduced products intended to put voice communications over enterprise wireless LANs.

The products bring voice capabilities to Nortel’s current WLAN access points and switches.

New wireless IP phones are the replacements for cell phones. But obviously, the phones can’t replace all the functionality and range of cell phones – they’re really just mobile phones that could be used in and around a campus rigged for WLANs. Nortel brags that the WLAN Handsets 2210 and 2211 are the “smallest and lightest IP telephones available.” The primary difference between the two models is that the 2211 has a walkie-talkie feature.

Nortel also introduced the WLAN IP Telephony Manager 2245, which the company says optimizes the connection between the handsets and a call server, prioritizing voice traffic to make sure voice packets aren’t lost.

Nortel built onto previous products – which have been introduced over the last year – with the WLAN Security Switch 2270 (for WLAN-specific security) and Access Ports 2230 and 2231 (to reach out wirelessly to end devices). Both now take voice into consideration, and they provide location-based features like E-911.

While WLAN telephony is an interesting technology to consider, I have to wonder if it would be limited to niche applications. How many employees need to have access to a phone – yet be mobile around a limited area? I know the applications exist; I just wonder how widespread the need is.