Buyer's Guide to Mobile VoIP Services | Page 2

Mobile VoIp Solutions Beyond Skype

The main problem with mobile VoIP compared to desktop VoIP is the difficulty in maintaining a workable IP connection anywhere, Gradwell says. "With mobile VoIP, a wide range of connection types are available and the type used will impact on call quality. For example, using a wireless connection is fine, but when you're on the move and using a phone network's connection you're at the mercy of the network's signal strength."

That's if there is a network signal at all, of course. The implication of this is that mobile users may often find that they can't be reached on their corporate numbers, which is a major drawback.

It's also worth mentioning that because Apple doesn't allow more than one installed app to run at once, it's not possible to have a VoIP application running in the background on an iPhone. That means this type of VoIP implementation is impractical on an iPhone because in order to be able to receive VoIP calls -- and assuming that there is an adequate data connection -- the user could never run any other installed apps.

A possible solution to this is provided by services such as those developed by UK-based OnRelay, which use the cellular data and voice channels simultaneously on any GSM, EVDO, or CDMA network to make the connection to the PBX: the data for signalling and the voice for voice transportation.

The system even works using a 2-way Short Message Service Centre for call set-up when no IP network (like GPRS, 3G, EDGE, or Wi-Fi) is available. "This has been tested and works all over the world -- it just adds a few seconds to the call setup time," says Marie Wold, OnRelay's president. The company offers enterprise-premises based PBX solutions, as well as services hosted by mobile operators or cloud-based providers.

There are still barriers to mobile VoIP adoption, including poor network coverage, inadequate battery life and even the iPhone's lack of multi-tasking abilities. But for many organizations the potential benefits of lower costs and integration of mobile devices with the corporate telephony system are compelling, and are likely to become more so in the near future as battery life and network coverage issues are addressed.


iPhone, Skype, mobile device, mobile management, mobile voip
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