Voice over 802.11: An Emerging Market

Voice over IP (VoIP) is already a reality in many corporations. In the near future, according to Cahners In-Stat/MDR, voice over Wireless LAN (VoWLAN) is poised to rival VoIP as an alternative telephony tool.

In-Stat/MDR estimates that shipments of VoWLAN handsets will increase to 80,000 in 2002, up from 20,000 shipments in 2001. This increase in shipments is driven by vertical markets, such as education, healthcare, retail and logistics. Eventually, In-Stat/MDR estimates that voice over 802.11 handsets will reach 500,000 units by 2006.

“Even though the market is projected to grow significantly, there is currently not much demand for wireless voice beyond the education, healthcare and retail markets,” said Brian Strachman, an analyst with In-Stat/MDR, via press release. “VoWLAN vendors are banking on the fact that if the solution is easy and cheap enough to implement, it will eventually find its way into areas outside of the traditional three.”

There are only two major vendors in this space, Symbol and Spectralink, and both work extensively with partners in the telephony, wireless, and LAN markets — for instance, Spectralink saw a dramatic increase in sales due to a partnership with Cisco.

The findings of Cahners In-Stat/MDR are summarized in a report, Voice over Wireless LAN: 802.11x Hears the Call for Wireless VoIP.

Kevin Reichard is executive editor of 80211planet.com.

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