A study by Infonetics Research predicted that Wi-Fi IP phone sales will grow to $3.7 billion by 2009, a considerable leap from the 2005 level of $125 million. The trend suggests increasing interest among organizations particularly those with a sizable mobile workforce, such as hospitals. Companies like D-Link, NETGEAR, and Linksys are taking advantage of this development and are currently offering IP phones that are compatible with their Wi-Fi routers.
Wireless VoIP is relatively cheaper when compared to traditional cellular connection. But reliability and security risks remain the big issues that prevent the massive adoption of the technology. Aside from sensitivity to packet loss, VoIP is vulnerable to dropped calls due to RF interference, range limitations, weak signals, and other problems associated with wireless technologies. Fortunately, tools like AirMagnet’s VoFi Analyzer, which evaluates the quality of service of calls, are available to address VoIP performance problems.
In addition, since data are transmitted across airwaves, VoIP is also prone to confidentiality attacks. To tackle these dangers, companies should ban “rogue” access points and check the authentication and encryption of all wireless VoIP calls. They should also use Wi-Fi Protected Access instead of the weaker Wired Equivalent Privacy for encryption as well as opt for “hard phones” that are better at withstanding viruses and attacks than “soft phone” software installed in a regular PC.