New VoWi-Fi Certification Program Ensures Interoperability and Performance

By Naomi Graychase

July 01, 2008

The Wi-Fi Alliance has released a list of the first products to receive Wi-Fi CERTIFIED for Voice-Personal certification. Unlike Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products and chipsets, which are only tested for interoperability, the Voice-Personal seal of approval indicates a certain performance level, as well.

The Wi-Fi industry has developed a new certification program for voice-capable Wi-Fi devices to help consumers successfully deploy VoWi-Fi systems in SOHO or home environments. Starting this week, the first products to receive the new Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal label were announced by the Wi-Fi Alliance.

The new certification program verifies not only interoperability—as the current Wi-Fi CERTIFIED program does—but, it also certifies performance. Devices receiving the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal seal of approval have been tested to ensure that they meet certain standards of voice quality over a WLAN. 

“Wi-Fi-enabled devices are increasingly used for data and also multimedia applications,” said Edgar Figueroa, executive director of the Wi-Fi Alliance in a press release Monday. “Our certification programs deliver interoperability and quality of service between Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices. Now, the Voice-Personal program goes to the next level, helping to ensure good voice quality for calls made over a Wi-Fi network.”

The WFA felt the certification was important because shipments of converged (Wi-Fi/cellular) phones are on the rise, with some analysts projecting that between 250 and 350 million units will ship in 2011.

“We are seeing increasing expectations from wireless subscribers that handsets include Wi-Fi technology to handle both voice and data, and carriers are responding in kind with an interesting array of offerings combining Wi-Fi and cellular service,” said Victoria Fodale, manager, Market Data/Intelligence for In-Stat in a WFA press release. “Delivering a high-quality user experience with voice over Wi-Fi will be critical to the success of converged service offerings, so the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal testing program is an important step for the industry.”

According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, “VoWi‑Fi is typically used within mixed voice and data environments in which multiple data streams compete for the available network resources. Products that successfully achieve Voice-Personal certification prioritize voice communication over data, audio, or video traffic, and also have met strict performance levels for key metrics that ensure a quality experience in voice applications: packet loss, latency and jitter.”

The following are among some of the first devices to become Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal:

  •  Broadcom BCM94704AGR High Performance Dual-Band (2.4/5 GHz) Router Reference Design
  •  Cisco Systems Aironet 1250 Series Access Point (AIR-AP1252AG )
  •  Cisco Systems Aironet 1200 Series Access Point (AIR-AP1231G with AIR-RM21A)
  •  DSP Group Expeditor Reference Design (with XpandR 1.01 software)
  •  Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN
  •  Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection
  •  Meru Networks AP200
  •  Redpine Signals Lite-Fi TGn SDIO

Products Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal have also passed tests for core interoperability (802.11a/b/g or 802.11n draft 2.0) and Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2), as well as Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) for quality of service and WMM Power Save (access points only).

According to Meru Networks, whose access points are part of the test bed, in order to receive Voice-Personal certification, devices must experience less than 1% loss, 50ms jitter, and 50ms delay for voice, even when the devices are in Power Save mode.

Meru also says a Voice-Enterprise program is in progress, which will require essentially the same performance requirements as Voice-Personal, but will add 802.1X with RADIUS authentication and extend the performance requirements to handoffs using 11r and 11k.  

A list of all Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal products, as well as a free white paper that describes the program further, is available at www.wi-fi.org.

Fore more on the program, see "Wi-Fi for Mobile Gets a Certified Voice" at Internetnews.com.

Naomi Graychase is Managing Editor at Wi-FiPlanet. She has been covering personal technology for fourteen years.

Originally published on .

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