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Voice Over WLAN To Triple In By 2007: Report

Voice over wireless local area network (VoWLAN) adoption will triple over the next two years, reflecting the overall trend of WLAN adoption, according to a new report from Infonetics Research. By 2007, 31% of companies surveyed for the study will have implemented the technology, compared to 10% today.

In addition to the availability of voice over IP (VoIP) hardware that can take advantage of wireless networking, the increasing ubiquity of WLANs is one of the key drivers for VoWLAN adoption. In North America, the firm expects 72% of large organizations to have deployed WLANs by 2009. Some 57% of small business and 62% of medium business will have implemented WLANs in the same period.

WLAN adoption is perceived largely as an efficiency issue. According to Infonetics, 57% of companies expect the technology to improve employee mobility and efficiency, and 51% expect the payback to be greater employee productivity. However, Infonetics analyst Richard Webb says adding voice to the WLAN will complicate the efficiency issue.

"Whilst increasing employee mobility and productivity are currently the top reasons for deploying WLANs, voice over WLAN is a growing driver and is potentially disruptive," Webb said in a statement. "The traditional model of time- and distance-based pricing for voice calls is being eroded by VoIP, and as VoIP goes wireless, it presents an opportunity for enterprise users and a challenge for operators."

Concerns about security and privacy continue to be the most significant obstacle to WLAN adoption. However, the adoption rates indicate that organizations are developing a way to handle wireless security. Indeed, Infonetics reports that 42% of respondents have a wireless security policy.