Alcatel, NEC and Nortel Networks all offer proprietary, and often expensive, wireless systems that integrate with their PBX systems. Some organizations might opt to use cell phones for mobile communications inside the organization, though this, too, is costly and in-building coverage can be spotty. Another popular solution is the use of licensed walkie-talkie-type private radio systems for internal communication.
VoWLAN U.S. Handset and End-User Revenue Forecast
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Today's VoWLAN market is quite small, but growing quickly. According to a March 2003 report from communications research and analysis firm In-Stat/MDR, only 30,000 802.11 VoWLAN handsets were shipped in 2002, a number the firm predicts will triple in 2003. In-Stat/MDR doesn't think the market will reach 1 million units until 2007 (see "VoWLAN U.S. Handset and End-User Revenue Forecast," left).
However, we see a number of interesting factors conspiring to jump-start the market sooner. First, there's a new generation of WLAN infrastructure products designed from the start with telephony in mind. Second, Cisco Systems has entered the market with its slick new 7920 wireless VoIP phone that integrates with the company's mature VoIP product line. Cisco brings legitimacy to any emerging network market. Finally, we see a number of technical enhancements coming in 2004 and 2005 that will help overcome some of the limitations of current systems.