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Carrier WiFi

TowerStream to Trial Free VOIP

Wireless broadband service provider TowerStream Corp. will soon launch a free voice-over-wireless LAN trial in New York City in a bid to find out more about how this emerging technology will work and what users want from it.

The startup has just completed a VOIP trial using its existing "pre-WiMax" metropolitan area network in sunny Rhode Island (see SNIA Tackles IP Storage). "We've constructed WiFi zones that are backhauled to the Internet with our existing network," TowerStream's COO Jeff Thompson tells Unstrung.

Within the next couple of months, Thompson says TowerStream will launch similar live sites in NYC for people to beta test VOIP over 802.11 and WiMax.

Thompson says the NYC trials will help TowerStream gather more data on how its network will work running VOIP and data services in the city and help the company to understand which services appeal to users.

"We already know one thing that people like, having access to the Internet at their fingertips," says Thompson.

Running such a trial may well help TowerStream get a headstart on potential wireless broadband rivals, by netting valuable information on traffic trends, usage patterns, and -- of course -- the unforeseen coverage and interference problems thrown up whenever providers try out new wireless offerings.

Potential users that want to sign up for the service will need a suitable WiFi device and a VOIP client from a provider such as Skype Technologies SA and Vonage Holdings Corp. The sign-up form is available here

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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