Extending Real-Time Business Communications with VoIP Over ...
VoIP Over Wireless Networks
Extending Real-Time Business
Communications with VoIP Over
The Future of Mobility is particularly important. The integration of data and voice keeps
workers more connected and informed as they perform their
core tasks, and helps them avoid unproductive, back-and-
We are entering a new era of business communications—one forth trips to traditional telephones, computer terminals,
in which employees can work and collaborate efficiently no record rooms, storage facilities, etc. Similar benefits can be
matter where they happen to be. realized in standard office environments by technical support
staff and other mobile employees who depend on information
Two key trends are driving this evolution. The first is the
and collaboration in performing their primary functions.
broad migration to Voice over IP, a technology that has moved
beyond the early adopter phase and is now being deployed In planning deployments, it is important to realize that wireless
extensively by mainstream users. The second is the transition technologies and standards are evolving rapidly. Implementers
to wireless mobile computing. Notebook sales are increasing must understand both the strengths and limitations of current
more than three times faster than desktop sales, and technologies so they can deploy wVoIP selectively and
businesses worldwide are deploying wireless local area intelligently to maximize return on investment and lay a
networks (WLANs) to support their mobile employees. scalable foundation for future growth.
Not surprisingly, companies want to extend the value of these
investments by delivering voice communications over their The Challenges of wVoIP
wireless IP networks (wVoIP). This technology represents the
Voice is a demanding application. It requires near-continuous
ultimate convergence of voice and data for mobile users, and
network transmission and very low packet loss to avoid laten-
opens the door to breakthrough advances in collaboration
cies (gaps in communication) and “jitter” which can impact
and productivity, including:
clarity. Today’s wired network technologies have evolved to
• Complete employee mobility with ofﬁce anywhere capabilities, meet these needs. They offer plenty of bandwidth, along with
quality of service (QoS) protocols that allow voice transmissions
• Unified management of all communications (voice, email,
to be scheduled and prioritized, so quality is not impaired by
IM, etc.) across all devices (notebooks, PDAs, cell phones),
less sensitive network traffic. With today’s wideband voice
• Dramatic reductions in cellular and conferencing costs codecs and a well-designed network, voice quality can be
within the enterprise, and eventually beyond. significantly better than that of traditional desktop phones.
Today’s wVoIP solutions are already delivering substantial Voice transmission over wireless networks is more challenging.
value in many environments, and wide adoption is being seen Current standards-based WLANs have less bandwidth
in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, retail and than wired technologies and solutions for prioritizing and
other sectors in which mobility and information flow are scheduling traffic are less evolved. Mobile usage introduces
additional challenges. As users move out of their offices into
hallways and conference rooms, they may need to interface 1. Begin with small pilot deployments to define your
with the network through several different wireless access solutions and measure value in your particular
points. Quick network handoffs are required to allow environment. Many businesses start by delivering
continuous communications and avoid dropped calls. VoIP services to desktop PCs over their wired network.
Deployment is simpler, quality is more predictable, and
These challenges are not insurmountable and well-designed
wired VoIP establishes a foundation for wVoIP.
wVoIP solutions targeting appropriate usage models can
deliver excellent value today. Meanwhile, Intel is working 2. Consider usage models carefully, as they can
extensively with industry leaders and standards bodies to dramatically impact network requirements.
improve bandwidth, QoS and roaming over standards-based
• Notebook users typically need WLAN connections only
wireless networks. A key focus of these efforts is to maintain
in discrete and well-defined areas: offices, conference
backwards compatibility with existing standards so businesses
can deploy now and extend their solution cost-effectively as
standards and technologies continue to evolve. • Handset users are likely to roam during use, so you may
want to extend WLAN coverage to hallways, stairwells,
Building Successful wVoIP elevators, etc. (For extensive roaming, such as between
subnets in a campus environment, you may need to
consider proprietary technologies for near-term deploy-
A typical VoIP solution is shown in Figure 1. The PBX, router, ments.) Despite the increased requirements, handsets
directory and authentication elements are basically the same, can deliver substantial value, especially for workers who
regardless of whether voice services are delivered over a rely on short conversations within contained areas.
wired or wireless network. The challenge of wVoIP is in Handsets are also ideal for push-to-talk applications,
designing the wireless network to support consistent and which enable instant connections, and are proving their
acceptable voice quality. To accomplish this, wireless access worth in a variety of fast-paced work environments.
points must be deployed with sufficient density and range—
and with appropriate feature sets—to meet user expectations. • Voice-activated badges offer a third alternative that keeps
Priorities will vary widely among businesses. The following both hands free for other activities. Service technicians,
high-level suggestions can be useful in understanding basic medical personnel and others can make calls without
challenges and solutions. losing focus or interrupting their work.
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Figure 1. An affordable, standards-based wVoIP solution based on Intel products and technologies can be scaled ﬂexibly to
support a wide range of users and business processes. It can also be integrated seamlessly with wired VoIP and traditional
circuit-switched voice solutions.
Better Value Through Standards- 3. Explore the advantages of dual-mode client
Based Solutions devices. Handheld devices that support both wVoIP
and cellular communications are available now and vendor
Standards are evolving rapidly. Consider the following stan-
support is increasing rapidly. Employees can carry a
dards for current deployments, and monitor developments
single device and take advantage of the best and most
carefully so you can optimize your wVoIP investments as
technologies and standards change. affordable coverage available, both within and beyond the
enterprise. Wireless-enabled laptops can also be equipped
with cellular network adapters for dual-mode operation.
Although seamless cellular-to-wVoIP roaming is several
• IEEE 802.11a/b/g defines three transmission protocols. years off, a number of service providers are looking at
802.11a offers higher bandwidth and more channels (but
alternatives such as one-touch call forwarding, which
a shorter range) than 802.11b, which is supported in most
will help users reconnect very quickly when moving
currently deployed networks. Devices that support all
three protocols provide more total bandwidth and greater
flexibility in network design. 4. Look for devices that support the latest wireless
• IEEE 802.11i supports enterprise-class security solutions, standards. If you choose to take advantage of non-
using standards-based authentication and encryption standard protocols for advanced QoS and roaming,
protocols. make sure your vendor offers a cost-effective migration
path to next-generation, standards-based solutions.
• WME is a pre-release of the future IEEE 802.11e Quality of
(For more information on standards, see the sidebar,
Service specification (see below). Look for devices that are
Better Value Through Standards-Based Solutions.)
software upgradeable to the future specification.
5. Test thoroughly under real-world conditions.
• Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) relates to the VoIP applica-
Quality and roaming expectations may vary widely
tion rather than the network, but is important to optimize
interoperability among current and future VoIP devices. among users, so make sure your test populations reflect
your deployment targets. User densities may also vary
• IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS) provides greatly enhanced dramatically, and can have a substantial impact on
service access and mobility across diverse networks, network requirements. A design approach that delivers
including wired, broadband wireless and cellular. Though
excellent results in a small conference room, for example,
unlikely to impact your current wVoIP deployments, the
may be inadequate for a larger conference room, a
move to IMS is already beginning for many major carriers
cafeteria or a convention hall.
and service providers, and can be expected to continue
throughout this decade.
• IEEE 802.11e will support quality of service via prioritized
traffic and transmission scheduling.
• IEEE 802.11r will support enhanced roaming by enabling
faster tradeoffs among wireless access points.
• IEEE 802.11n will deliver increased bandwidth (targeting
up to 100Mbps).
• IEEE 802.16d/e (WiMAX) will enable manageable,
high-bandwidth wireless communications across longer
distances (up to 30 miles). Fixed 802.16d networks are
beginning to be deployed now by service providers world-
wide to provide last-mile broadband access. WiMAX is
likely to become a pivotal technology for delivering data
and voice services in undeveloped regions. It may also
become a popular alternative for metro area voice and
data networks and for campus-to-campus links.
Figure 2. Intel is working with leading communications vendors to deliver Converged Application Platforms that deliver a
broad array of networking functions in a single device. This can dramatically simplify integration and management of wVoIP
solutions for small and medium size businesses.
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End-to-End Solutions Using Intel Intel® building blocks also support traditional circuit-switched
communications, so businesses have considerable flexibility
Products and Technologies
for integrating VoIP into their existing environments. The mod-
VoIP and wVoIP are truly transformative technologies, and Intel ularity of these systems is key to enterprise value, enabling
is combining its compute and communications expertise to businesses to scale performance, capacity and functionality
enable comprehensive solutions targeting businesses of all as needs and technologies evolve through cost-effective and
sizes. These efforts include integrating optimized VoIP support non-disruptive board and software upgrades.
pervasively across all product lines, and working extensively
with hardware and software vendors and service providers to
Optimized VoIP Solutions for
deliver uniﬁed solutions at every level, from back-end enter-
prise communications platforms to notebooks and handsets.
To simplify implementation and reduce costs for smaller busi-
nesses, Intel works with a number of leading communications
Modular Communications Platforms
for the Enterprise vendors to deliver Converged Application Platforms that can
dramatically simplify integration and management (Figure 2).
Enterprise VoIP solutions include an IP PBX or Centrex Based on Intel building blocks and reference designs, these
System along with application, call control and media servers affordable, standards-based systems include a broad set of
for supporting and extending functionality. Intel provides features, such as VoIP, wired and wireless network access,
communications and compute building blocks for these routing, firewall protection, virtual private networking (VPN)
needs, and works with an extensive community of vendors and QoS. They may also include call applications, such as
to deliver comprehensive business solutions on cost-effective, voicemail, conference calling and automated voice response.
modular platforms. A wide variety of advanced applications
are available including presence detection, conferencing,
unified messaging, push-to-talk and more.
A Broad Range of Optimized Client Devices • Performance versus power consumption is highly
optimized to enable excellent application responsiveness
Client devices are as important as the wireless network in
with extended battery life. Intel® MMX™ Technology provides
delivering a high return on wVoIP investments. They must be
a much richer experience with multimedia applications such
reliable, manageable, securable and affordable to optimize
as voice and video. Intel SpeedStep® Technology can adjust
end-user productivity and reduce the total cost and risk of
processor power and performance based on application
deploying and managing the client infrastructure. They must
requirements to reduce average power consumption while
also be powerful, since wVoIP requires substantial processing
delivering top performance as needed.
power, not only for call setup and voice transmissions, but for
associated security tasks such as authentication, encryption, • Voice quality is enhanced via Intel® High Definition
and virus protection. Audio, which enables mainstream computing and
communications devices to deliver CD quality sound.
Platforms must be able to meet these requirements while
delivering sufficient battery life for uninterrupted productivity. • Integration is simplified by delivering broad support
They must also provide a rich end-user experience in a variety for leading standards such as SIP.
of form factors (notebooks, handhelds, etc.). If the experience
• Mobility is improved by providing silicon-level support
is poor, users may quickly revert to old habits, such as cell
for multiple network connectivity options such as Ethernet,
phone usage and traditional conferencing services, which can
Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g), 2.5/3G, Bluetooth, etc. (Figure 3).
reduce ROI for the wVoIP implementation and increase overall
business communication costs. • Manageability is enhanced via Intel® Active Management
Technology, which is being integrated across all platform
Intel delivers optimized building blocks for the full range of
types and will provide new capabilities for remote trouble-
client form factors, from notebooks and tablet PCs, to PDAs
shooting, recovery and inventory management. This will
and smart phones.
make it easier for businesses to manage and secure all their
client devices using consistent tools and methods.
WAN MAN LAN PAN Subscriber Stations
WiMAX* UWB Smart Phone
WCDMA Wi-Fi* RFID/
GPRS 802.11 TAG
Figure 3. Intel is working with the industry to enable integrated client access via multiple network technologies. The goal is
to enable ubiquitous and uniﬁed access to voice and data applications wherever users happen to be.
Driving Next-Generation Solutions wVoIP in Action: An Intel
for Better Business Value Proof-of-Concept
Intel is working with industry leaders and key standards To increase productivity and lower costs, as well as learn
organizations to drive rapid improvements in standards-based more directly about the challenges and benefits of a
wVoIP technologies, and is committed to providing broad leading-edge VoIP implementation, Intel has deployed a
support for these standards across its full range of wireless- converged IP PBX solution at its Parsippany, New Jersey
enabled products (refer to the sidebar, Better Value Through site. This end-to-end solution is based on Intel products
Standards-Based Solutions). This focus on standards is an and technologies, including an enterprise-class IP PBX
essential component of total value, enabling businesses to and IP Media Gateway running on Intel® Xeon™ proces-
migrate cost-effectively as new VoIP and wVoIP sor-based servers with Intel NetStructure® Host Media
capabilities emerge. Processing Software. A variety of clients are deployed,
including dedicated IP phones and softphones running
Intel also works with a broad community of hardware and on Intel® Centrino™ mobile technology-based notebooks.
software vendors to deliver leading quality and functionality Supported applications include unified messaging,
on affordable platforms. Since business demand for wVoIP is presence detection, click-to-call, ad-hoc click-to-
exceptionally high, Intel is exploring the potential for interim conference and “follow-me” call routing.
QoS and roaming solutions that go beyond current standards
to simplify and improve implementations. As standards evolve This deployment addresses some of today’s most critical
to address these requirements, Intel is committed to maintain- wVoIP challenges, such as QoS, roaming, security and
ing backwards compatibility. This will help businesses achieve location detection. While the new systems have been
optimal implementations today, while providing a cost- in place a relatively short time, Intel is already seeing
effective migration path to future, standards-based solutions. benefits under real-world working conditions, including
lower network maintenance costs. Employees have also
Intel’s vision for business communications includes enabling readily adapted to the new client interfaces and have
end-to-end wireless solutions capable of addressing the full been enthusiastic about the application benefits. As our
range of client connectivity and infrastructure requirements. evaluation continues, the results will help Intel make
In an early analysis based on Intel’s own environment (office more informed product development decisions and
worker density and LAN usage characteristics), the Intel IT standards recommendations, so future solutions are
organization estimated the following potential benefits of increasingly aligned with the real requirements of
using wireless as the primary enterprise network: business users.
• 40-50 Percent Lower Capital Costs: Equipment and
cabling costs are reduced, and infrastructure capacity
can be utilized more effectively.
• 20-30 Percent Lower Operational Costs: Less
equipment means a smaller infrastructure to support the
same user population.
• Lower End-User Support Costs and Better Agility:
Wireless networking simplifies the task of moving, adding
and changing workers, since both client systems and
network connections are designed for portability.
Intel is committed to this vision, both internally and for its
customers. Therefore, it is moving aggressively to unwire
entire campuses and prove out these ROI targets. The
benefits of mobility have already been experienced in a wide
range of business environments. By collaborating across the
industry to deliver wireless VoIP capabilities using standards-
based products and technologies, Intel is helping to enable
a new era of business productivity and efficiency.