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Survey: Voice Over WLAN Use To Skyrocket 450% By 2006

The use of Wireless LANs will continue to grow in the enterprise through 2006, with voice over WLAN (VoWLAN) a particularly promising area of growth, as use skyrockets from 6% currently to 27% by August 2006, says a new study by Infonetics Research.

"User Plans for Wireless LANs, North America 2004" notes that security continues to be the biggest obstacle to WLAN adoption, but that barrier is being overcome as vendors improve security features and users become more experienced managing their networks. Moreover, adoption rates have been encouraged by vendors' delivery of enterprise-grade WLAN switches offering real-time access control and online policy management features.

Although e-mail and Web browsing continue to be the most popular WLAN applications, Infonetics reports that enterprises are showing interest in more complex applications. Almost half of the 240 companies surveyed said they plan to implement mobile or location-based enterprise resource planning and supply chain management applications by 2006.

Only 8% of the wireless LAN users surveyed are currently using their networks for voice over IP applications, but Infonetics expects that number to rise dramatically over the next two years, with 27% expected to use VoWLAN technology by August 2006.

A major driver of the technology is the growing availability of wireless VoIP handsets, noted Richard Webb, Infonetics' directing analyst for Wireless LANs. "There are several handset vendors who have launched Wi-Fi enabled VoIP handsets, and with draft standards for quality coming, performance of VoWLAN is improving all the time, driving growth of this market," he said ion a statement. "The ability to carry voice makes wireless LAN investment more justifiable and mobility makes VoIP more valuable, so it is natural that the two technologies are converging toward a powerful mobile voice solution."