VoWLAN Brings New Sales Opportunities

WLAN VoIP wireless LAN

Lance Reid, CEO of NetLogic, a Turlock, Calif.-based solution provider, said that the pervasiveness of enterprise VoIP makes VoWLAN an easy sell. "Once people decide to go with enterprise VoIP, taking the next step to wireless is almost automatic," said Reid, who has seen a 25 percent increase in VoWLAN-related inquiries over the past year.

Infonetics Research predicts that the number of U.S. companies deploying VoWLAN will rise from 10 percent now to 31 percent in 2007. But the technological complexity of deploying VoWLAN means that solution providers must either have specialized skills or be willing to pay for them.

For example, because VoWLAN adds significant coverage requirements to the wireless network, site surveys are needed to identify RF interference issues and ensure quality of service. "When you add voice, the stability of the wireless network becomes that much more crucial," said Ron Temske, director of IP communications at Logicalis, a Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based solution provider.

Meru Networks, a Sunnyvale, Calif., WLAN vendor, is trying to make it easier for VARs to effectively deploy VoWLAN technology. The company revamped its channel program in July to train its partners to meet the increased demands that voice places on a WLAN, according to Joel Vincent, director of marketing at Meru.

Sponsored post

What's interesting about Meru's VoWLAN solution is that it minimizes interference and eliminates the need for site surveys in many cases, said Katie Brown, director of channel marketing at Microtech Information Systems, a Meru solution provider in Rochester, N.Y.

Although this might appear to remove a potential revenue opportunity for VARs, Vincent said that the time and cost savings of deploying Meru's solution creates other avenues for solution providers to increase profitability. "VARs that do their own site surveys can reduce their overall bill or use the reduced cost as increased margin," he said.

Despite the interest in VoWLAN, the promise of next-generation handsets capable of roaming between cellular and Wi-Fi networks could temporarily slow growth of the market. "Our business is slightly lower than last year because people know dual-mode handsets are right around the corner," Temske said.