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.
Earlier this week Andy Abramson posted Rumored New Apple iPod Touch Will Be Huge for VoIP, Multimedia. I gotta say that while the device might be interesting, I don’t see the attraction for VoIP. His assertion is that by providing the basic elements of the mic, earpiece and wifi it’s a significant enabling mechanism. I’m just not so sure it’s compelling.
My own experience with VoWifi has not been good with hand-held devices. I’ve tried a few dedicated SIP handsets and only the Polycom SpectraLink 8002 was reliable for daily use. Even then, that’s more for a fixed installation than roaming around in the wild. To roam the wild world of wifi you really need a web browser to negotiate the logon pages common to many services.
Originally published July 1, 2008 at Small Net Builder
Polycom SpectraLink Wireless Telephone (8002)
Wi-Fi SIP phone designed for small business use
• Durable construction
• Supports strong Wi-Fi encryption
• Centrally managed provisioning
• Good voice quality
• Reasonable battery life
• WMM works as promised
• Fiddly initial network configuration
• No support for compressed codecs like G.729
• Relatively expensive
Polycom is a leader in the IP communications space. Not only are their longstanding SoundPoint series of desktop IP phones class leaders, but their voice technology can be found in many products under many names.
Seeing a need to expand their product offering to include cordless mobility, Polycom recently acquired SpectraLink, a leading maker of Wi-Fi-based telephony systems, and Kirk Telecom, a leader in DECT-based cordless telephony systems. These acquisitions, now consolidated under the Polycom name, give the company a comprehensive product suite addressing the mobile IP communications needs of various vertical markets.
Fast Company TV’s Robert Scoble recently paid a visit to Meraki Network’s to profile their newly announced wifi mesh products. He shot a nice interview video with their CEO. They mention streaming media both for video and audio (Skype) Use with video is really not appropriate for the technology but voice is supposedly fine. I’d be nice to hear from someone in SF who might have experience using that cities Meraki wifi mesh installation.
I must say that I’m truly interested in the stuff. It was a very sad day when Houston’s municipal wifi project imploded. I’ll be making an inquiry with Meraki to see if they support WMM for wireless QoS.