Red Herring (yes, it’s back) writes that “combining two hot technologies makes telcos seem so 1998.”
When the University of Arkansas wanted to trim the cost of intra-campus calls, it bypassed its local carrier by combining two technologies: voice-over-IP (VoIP) and 802.11 wireless. By using its existing TCP/IP networks and spending $4 million for a Cisco Call Manager, the university circumvented its local carrier and reduced monthly service fees from $530,000 to a mere $6,000. Meanwhile, the City of Dallas eliminated circuits altogether. It standardized on an IP network and expects to cut the costs of internal calls by $21 million over the next decade.
Individually, VoIP and 802.11 are hot technologies with promising futures. Now they are gaining attention for their potential as a combined force. Convergence, or the melding of voice calls over an IP network together with wireless 802.11 technology, is becoming increasingly popular. VoIP reduces the need for local carrier origination and termination. Wireless local-area networks (WLANs) offer cheap installation costs and wireless mobility.