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Netgear Shifts Up for VOIP

Wireless LAN vendor looks to tempt small enterprise customers with VOIP enhancements to its access points

September 1, 2003

1 Min Read
Netgear Shifts Up for VOIP

Wireless LAN equipment manufacturer Netgear Inc. is aiming to sell more boxes to small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) by adding features to its latest products that can support future applications such as voice-over-IP (VOIP).

Netgear has added quality-of-service (QoS) extensions to its latest access points, making its move months before such features are expected to be ratified in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE)'s 802.11e standard (see Netgear's Indoor Speeding for more on Netgear's new access points).

"It's a pre-802.11e type-of-thing," confirms Lo.

QoS extensions are one of the building blocks of VOIP-over-WLAN [Ed. note: we really need a snappy name for this stuff: WiVox, anyone?]. The extensions are meant to ensure that voice traffic is prioritized above data flows on the network (see Is 802.11 Ready for VOIP?) for more on this).

Lo says one of the reasons Netgear is already adding basic VOIP functionality to its products is that cheaper IP phones are set to enter the market before the 802.11e standard is signed off. "We see a lot of Taiwanese vendors coming [into that market]," he adds.

Netgear's head man expects the 802.11e standard to be ratified in the summer of 2004, with full standards-based products shipped later that year.

Netgear, which also makes wired networking products, is the fourth largest supplier of small office, home office (SOHO) 802.11 gear. The company's CEO, Patrick Lo, says SMB sales currently represent around 25 percent of Netgear's wireless business. He is hoping that adding new features will strengthen this customer base.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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