Some time back the folks over at VoIP Supply posted something about a collection of new SIP Wifi handsets. Whereas in the past that would make me take notice, even catch my interest, I found myself completely disinterested. In fact, it was surprising how little appeal these gadgets had.
Over the years I’ve tried various SIP Wifi handsets and come to a very simple conclusion. That is, for my home office application they have no merit at all. The fact that I have a solid cordless SIP solution eliminates the possible interest that any of these new products might have.
In everything experiment that I’ve ever tried DECT/CATiq products soundly beat any dedicated SIP Wifi handset. Now that there are affordable SIP/DECT products from sources like Gigaset and Snom dedicated VoWifi handsets just don’t measure up for many applications.
To be fair this is very application specific. Around a home office like my place there’s little reason to use VoWifi vs DECT/CATiq. Setting up Wifi and DECT gives essentially parallel wireless networks. Thanks to DECT 6.0 these wireless two realms don’t even have interfere problems.
There are places of business where Wifi is absolutely required, and setting up a parallel DECT network would be excessively costly or complex. In those cases there’s a strong case for a truly converged network architecture, running VoIP over Wifi along with the data traffic. Large corporate or university campuses are good examples of this sort of operation. It seems to me that the physical nature of the installation will dictate when that makes sense.
Another VoWifi application that keeps coming up is the idea that someone might sit down at a Starbucks or MacDonalds and start making “free” phone calls over the local wifi. None of the dedicated Wifi handsets that I’ve tried accommodate this, primarily because those wifi hotspots require some kind of web-based authentication.
That kind of application seems best met by converged devices, like the Nokia cell phones with Wifi capability. After all, you probably have your cell phone with you already. And your cell phone probably has a browser that can negotiate the wifi login.
So, a herd of new Wifi handsets? Cute, but no thanks. To quote Dennis Miller, “I could be wrong…”