SpectraLink Docks Wi-Fi Phones

By Vikki Lipset

March 01, 2004

The VoWLAN player introduces a new place for workers to park their wireless handsets.

SpectraLink on Monday unveiled the long-awaited docking stations for its wireless phones.

The NetLink s340 and s640 Docking Stations, which were first announced nearly a year ago, act as charging cradles for SpectraLink's e340 and i640 Wi-Fi handsets, respectively, and add standard desktop telephone features such as a speakerphone, keypad and display. They will ship in April for $299.

Aimed at workers who need a wireless phone when they're moving around the office but still want the features of a regular phone when they're sitting at their desks, the docking stations eliminate the need to have two separate phones, says Ben Guderian, director of marketing at Boulder, Colo.-based SpectraLink. "It bridges the gap for the desk-bound worker who also needs to roam around."

The docking stations resemble typical office phones, but include a cradle on the right side of the phone to hold the wireless handset. They also feature a corded phone, but since the Wi-Fi handset provides the connection back to the PBX over the WLAN, the docking station only works when the handset is in the cradle. SpectraLink says the cradle can completely charge the handset in about 1.5 hours.

In addition to the speakerphone functionality, the docking stations offer 26 feature keys, including 13 programmable keys. Other functions include conference, transfer, hold and mute. The s640 model also supports push-to-talk (PTT), which is offered on its handset counterpart, the i640.

SpectraLink is also working on a standalone desktop phone that will feature an integrated 802.11 radio. That phone will be designed for places where it's difficult to run Ethernet or telephone wires, says Guderian. It would fit well in conference rooms or reception areas, or anywhere there was a need for a stationary phone in a wireless office, he suggests. The standalone model is expected to be available later this year for $499.

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