Wi-Fi Alliance Begins Certifying Devices for Voice Over Wi-Fi Applications

Some of the first products announced.

Driven by the growing popularity of Wi-Fi technology and voice over IP (VoIP), the Wi-Fi industry has developed a new certification program for voice-capable Wi-Fi devices in home and small office environments. Earlier this week, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal program as well as some of the first products that have achieved this certification. This certification program extends beyond interoperability testing to test the performance of products and help ensure that they deliver good voice quality over the Wi-Fi link.

"Wi-Fi enabled devices are increasingly used for data and also multimedia applications," said Edgar Figueroa, executive director of the Wi-Fi Alliance. "Our certification programs deliver interoperability and quality of service between Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices. Now, the Voice-Personal program goes to the next level, helping to ensure good voice quality for calls made over a Wi-Fi network."

Estimates from analyst firms forecast shipments of Wi-Fi/cellular converged phones to number between 250 and 350 million units in 2011. In a converged Wi-Fi/cellular phone, Wi-Fi connectivity can offer significant throughput to support bandwidth-intensive applications. By allowing subscribers to utilize Wi-Fi for voice as well as data on converged phones, carriers can manage licensed spectrum resources better, as subscribers make and receive calls using a combination of licensed and unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum. Additionally, voice over the Wi-Fi network can mean improved indoor coverage

"We are seeing increasing expectations from wireless subscribers that handsets include Wi-Fi technology to handle both voice and data, and carriers are responding in kind with an interesting array of offerings combining Wi-Fi and cellular service," said Victoria Fodale, manager, Market Data/Intelligence for In-Stat. "Delivering a high-quality user experience with voice over Wi-Fi will be critical to the success of converged service offerings, so the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal testing program is an important step for the industry."

Voice over Wi-Fi is typically used within mixed voice and data environments, in which multiple data streams compete for the available network resources. Products that successfully achieve Voice-Personal certification prioritize voice communication over data, audio, or video traffic, and also have met strict performance levels for key metrics that ensure a quality experience in voice applications: packet loss, latency and jitter.

The following are among some of the first devices to become Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal:

  • Broadcom(R) BCM94704AGR High Performance Dual-Band (2.4/5 GHz) Router Reference Design
  • Cisco Systems Aironet 1250 Series Access Point (AIR-AP1252AG)
  • Cisco Systems Aironet 1200 Series Access Point (AIR-AP1231G with AIR- RM21A)
  • DSP Group Expeditor Reference Design (with XpandR 1.01 software)
  • Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection
  • Meru Networks AP200
  • Redpine Signals Lite-Fi TGn SDIO

Products Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal are also compatible with 802.11a/b/g and 802.11n draft 2.0 standards as well as Wi-Fi Protected Access 2, the Wi-Fi Multimedia for quality of service and WMM Power Save (access points only). Users should look for both access points and client devices that are Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal to ensure optimal voice quality when making calls over a Wi-Fi network.