Optical/IP Networks

Airespace Talks Up VOIP

Airespace Inc. has today made its first major move into the emerging voice-over-wireless-LAN market, with two new partnerships and a new customer using its kit to run these applications over.

The wireless LAN switch startup has inked an 802.11 handset partnership deal with SpectraLink Corp., which also has a similar deal with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and a deal with Vocera Communications Inc., a company that makes 802.11 voice gateway software and wearable communicators (see Airespace Cleared for Voice).

The deals build on Airespace's existing partnership with NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY; Tokyo: 6701), which is working with the firm -- and with SpectraLink -- and plans to introduce its own voice-over-WLAN focused system this month (see NEC Gears Up for WLANs).

The new customer is the Toledo Public Schools district in Ohio, which is using the Airespace system along with 802.11 handsets from Symbol Technologies Inc. (NYSE: SBL) to keep teachers and others in contact in and out of the classroom.

Airespace is also pointing at a new report from the Tolly Group as proof of its system's ability to deliver voice services. The certification and testing group says that Airespace's switch and access points are "up to spec" for voice service.

The Tolly Group says that the Airespace system can support up to 14 simultaneous voice conversations across a single AP without any additional client support. Typically, vendors tend to suggest that a maximum of 10 VOIP users can be supported per access point.

The Tolly Group's connection (call setup) and network latency times are harder to put in context, as not many vendors have yet talked about these kinds of performance issues. However, the group says that the Airespace system demonstrated an average end-to-end latency (from one access point to switch to another access point) of 3,000 microseconds.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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