Wavelink Blog

DECT or Voice over Wi-Fi – Which is the Right Fit?

Chris Pulsford, National Partner Enablement Manager, Wavelink

Many workers, particularly in industries such as healthcare, hospitality, and manufacturing, where they are constantly on the move, rely on mobile communication devices to effectively perform their jobs. As technology evolves, and devices become capable of many other functions, mobile workers are able to work more efficiently than ever before.

The two key onsite enterprise mobile voice solutions currently in use are Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) and Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi). The growing adoption of WLAN in businesses is driving an increase in VoWiFi.

Both of these technologies let users access enterprise telephony features like making and receiving high-quality phone calls via the enterprise Unified Communications (UC) platform in their workplace. They also support powerful application integration to facilitate non-verbal communications, access detailed information from servers and databases, task management, and a raft of other capabilities.

DECT is a ‘closed’ radio network, dedicated to just DECT handsets, and can offer great value for money. However, VoWiFi can leverage existing enterprise Wi-Fi that can also be used for many other purposes. While DECT supports messaging and third-party application integration, VoWiFi devices generally offer far superior capability in this area.

With each solution offering different capabilities it is critical to assess which communications solution will offer the organisation the most value.

Six key factors to determine whether DECT or VoWiFi will be ‘the right fit’ for your organisation:

  1. Organisation specifics. Review the operational methodology for device usage. For example, are devices used for basic voice and messaging or do they require complex functionality including third-party platform integration such as Nurse Call, Building Management Systems, Alarm Panels etc. Also, consider the current technology requirement, and the technology roadmap. Technology changes quickly so it’s important to deliver a solution that is future-proof.
  2. Operating environment. Does your organisation already have Wi-Fi infrastructure that is suitable for carrying voice? Has it been deployed to carry voice? Wi-Fi that has been deployed for data applications will almost always require some re-engineering for supporting voice, which can add to the cost of implementation. Also, consider the current network and cabling infrastructure and what changes/additions will be needed to support the addition of DECT and VoWiFi.  For VoWiFi, a spectrum analysis may be advisable in certain types of environment to identify potential sources of interference, and determine the best Wi-Fi channels to allocate for voice traffic, to optimise performance. DECT operates in its own dedicated frequency band and as a result is unlikely to encounter interference.
  3. Suitability / features. What features are required and which solution supports them? For example, personal safety alarms/advanced duress, android-based Smartphone features, removable battery (for continuous usage) and barcode scanner. Also very important is the suitability of accessories including charging options, battery options, carrying options etc.
  4. Budget. While a VoWiFi solution may cost more up front than a DECT solution, assuming there is not a suitable Wi-Fi infrastructure to leverage, the actual benefits to the organisation can be much greater as Wi-Fi can be used for many other purposes and devices.
  5. Application integration. Review any third-party applications that need to be integrated with the cordless handsets. While both solutions support third-party application integration via standards-based protocols, VoWiFi offers more complex integration that delivers more sophisticated applications than DECT.
  6. Technical capability / complexity. While both solutions are wireless technologies and require a sound understanding of Radio Frequency (RF) technology, VoWiFi is a more complex technology with many more intricacies. As a result it will be more complex to scope, deploy and manage than a DECT infrastructure. For both solutions organisations need to select a reseller with the required skills to achieve a successful outcome.

Both DECT and VoWiFi solutions should be considered for opportunities where enterprise wireless voice is the primary requirement. When correctly deployed, both offer outstanding voice quality. However, it is the additional capabilities, along with budget, that will ultimately determine the outcome.

DECT or Voice over WiFi – Which is the right fit?

Uninterrupted Learning In Higher Ed Should Be The Norm

July marks Campus Technology’s 22nd year hosting their well-known and well-attended education technology conference – Campus Technology 2015. This gathering of education leaders and technology experts provides a unique opportunity to discover cutting-edge technologies that drive student success and educational advancement both in and out of the classroom. We’ll be among them because there is an immediate need for uninterrupted learning in education. The proliferation of mobile devices, such as smart phones, tablets and laptops, has transformed the higher education experience. Students own seven devices on average, and they don’t use these devices solely for personal reasons. Colleges and universities have embraced mobility through the creation of online courses, school-specific apps, blended learning environments and more. Students and teachers alike are tapping into these new resources to further education, and IT departments are working diligently to keep up. Why? With this increase in campus connectivity, comes a strain on the network. Even the smallest interruption in Wi-Fi service can cause interrupted learning and an IT nightmare from the Chancellor or Dean to make it work again. Imagine this, a student is taking a test online, and after an hour of “select, click to next” and writing out a response to the essay question, she hits submit. And gets a connection error. Her test responses are lost and so is her trust in your network, and your reputation. Working under this pressure, often unseen by students and unthanked, make IT staff the unsung heroes of education, in our opinion. IT staff often look to wireless network and RF experts, like us, for solutions that meet the demands of faculty and students. To help these often overlooked unsung IT heroes of education combat interrupted learning, the Meru Education-Grade (MEG) wireless platform provides ubiquitous learning environments by meeting and exceeding Wi-Fi expectations throughout the campus, including residence halls. We understand residence halls are some of the busiest places on campus, so we have introduced the industry’s first 802.11ac wall plate access point, Meru AP122, specifically designed to meet the ever-increasing mobile data needs of resident college and university students. We’ve successfully deployed Meru AP122 in universities and colleges globally, including Loyola University, Texas AM University-Commerce and Toronto University.

Cheers to IT and All the Unsung Heroes of Education

Working in education is not easy. There are more challenges and budgetary constraints and bureaucracy and guidelines to follow than in nearly any other profession. And yet, thousands of people work in education. Millions, even. People who dedicate themselves, body and soul, to helping develop the next generation. To teaching them, cheering them on, supporting them, pushing them and driving them to succeed. Teachers are nothing short of amazing.

The people who support teachers and students in their educational journeys are amazing, too. IT staff, in particular. They have an often-thankless job and typically remain in the background. More than just pulling cable, updating a laptop OS, installing applications and resetting passwords, they are, if you will, unsung heroes who just make campus technology work. They enable connectivity, mobility, security and support both daily learning and the higher-level education goals of their school or district. And their job is growing—both in volume and importance–while all too often budget and staffing are reduced or remain flat. Ouch!

Transforming schools to 21st century teaching and learning requires new pedagogy, tools, training and policies. The proliferation of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, and 1:1 computing deployments, useful for blended learning, STEM learning, flipped classrooms, etc., has driven the need for anywhere, anytime connectivity. Wireless networking availability is more important than ever–just ask a K-12 school or a college IT director whose staff must handle the influx of wireless devices from students and educators each fall. In today’s “always on” world, schools are expected to provide students, faculty and visitors with uninterrupted wireless connectivity throughout their campuses. But the need for 24/7 campus-wide wireless access can put a strain on IT departments.

School IT departments are often small departments with a big job: providing wireless access for the entire campus, and getting their school up and running in very short periods of time. Many schools need to scale their wireless access as more connected devices come onto their network, without scaling the IT team. And if the network is overwhelmed? If something doesn’t work? That’s when users get vocal about their problems.

In today’s world, losing wireless connectivity is the equivalent of locking your keys in the car. Students and faculty who are unable to connect their multiple mobile devices are trapped until help arrives. They want their connectivity restored immediately. More often than not, this is how the IT department is alerted to an issue–in panic mode with the expectation of an immediate fix. Without reliable, fast Wi-Fi, blended learning initiatives risk never being adopted. Everyone looks to these unsung networking heroes to fix it. Quickly. And get learning back on track.

Meru understands. We have been finding ways to empower these unsung IT heroes for more than a decade. Meru made school Wi-Fi simple with the Meru Education-Grade (MEG) Solution Bundle, a complete solution for school Wi-Fi connectivity. We’ve taken simplicity a step further with XPress Cloud, offering the convenience of the cloud with control and visibility at every level on a school’s operational budget. With Meru’s Wi-Fi solutions, schools receive everything they need in one box, along with the option to manage the network themselves or through their IT providers. Intuitive cloud-based management results in a simplified network, saving time and money, freeing up valuable resources for additional projects and opportunities.

It’s a mobile, digital world out there. Campus connectivity is critical to learning. Schools must adapt and implement new technologies to be successful in educating the innovators of tomorrow. Schools need technological tools and services that deliver the highest performance and reliability for uninterrupted learning, along with operational simplicity.

Meru’s simple Wi-Fi solutions empower school IT heroes, without the heroics. With Meru’s Wi-Fi solutions, the school’s IT team plays a fundamental role in ensuring students’ success and helping districts and universities transform to 21st century teaching and learning practices. It isn’t just uninterrupted Wi-Fi. Uninterrupted learning starts with the amazing unsung heroes of the IT department. And we will continue innovating and delivering solutions to support them and the teachers and students they support. Cheers!

 

Looking for Savings & Efficiency? Ditch your legacy phone system

Public and private school systems around the country are often saddled with archaic telecommunications systems. Keeping and maintaining that outdated technology may appear to be the least expensive option; but once a full system analysis and cost comparison is conducted, schools typically discover significant savings when upgrading or replacing a legacy phone system. Becker Public Schools realized its aging Inter-Tel phone system was costing them money and time. The decision to upgrade to a VoIP solution with Unified Communications (UC) features quickly proved to be a wise investment.

Becker Schools, located in Minneapolis has approximately 2,800 students and a staff of 300. The campus consists of five separate buildings housing hundreds of offices and classrooms for kindergarten through 12th grade students. The school district’s outdated communications system was grossly inefficient, and required that every building have a dedicated server housed onsite. Meaning, each building essentially had its own telephone system. Just as frustrating, the legacy system lacked advanced features and had become expensive to maintain.

With the costs to operate the legacy system skyrocketing and wait times for service calls causing serious inconvenience, Becker Schools made the decision to look for an affordable, easy-to-use phone system that would provide stable VoIP connectivity to all buildings. The goal was to unify communications across campus for the primary, intermediate, middle, high school and district administration buildings.

When an unexpected system failure of the legacy system happened, Becker Schools had to push up their timeline for upgrading. A timeline of only six weeks. With the help of Line 1 Partners, a Preferred Digium Partner, the school completed a “rip replace” enabling Becker Schools to upgrade and replace the whole digital infrastructure to VoiP.

Teachers, staff and administrators have quickly and deftly taken to the new Digium Switchvox system and are thrilled with the many benefits of UC. To learn more about the Becker Schools implementation, click here.

Are you ready to take your business communications beyond a simple phone system and kick your legacy system to the curb? Let us show you how easy it is to put advanced UC features to work to help grow and manage your business.

 

 

 

 

Tech Point Q3 Software Release 2015

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Top Benefits of Being a Digium Partner

Growing Non Profit Helps Community, Boosted by Better Communications

Growth prompted change in non profit’s phone system and a cost savings of $450,000 with Unified Communications. 

Non Profit Saves Money Phone System

A non-profit organization typically has a clearly defined mission. When you are so successful at furthering that mission, growth (as with any business) can present some interesting new challenges.

For the San Diego-based not for profit Community Housing Works (CHW), one set of growing pains came in the form of a hosted phone system that was no longer keep pace with communications between employees and clients, and was also costing the organization more than they realized in terms of actual operating expenses. A move to a new facility finally prompted a closer look at the problem and resulted in a substantial savings that surprised everyone.

CHW began in 1982, with 15 employees and a mission to “help people and communities move up in the world through opportunities to own, rent, and achieve.” After three decades of dedication, the organization offers support to more than 7,000 children and adults each year. The beautiful, safe, and green communities they build provide homes that working families in the San Diego area can afford to rent and eventually own. CHW also provides financial coaching classes, academic support for kids (including after-school tutoring and homework assistance), and leadership nurturing through community outreach and various educational programs and classes.

Today, the organization has grown to more than 110 employees and three office locations. Over the years, loyal supporters and volunteers have assisted with the effort to keep costs down for the non profit by donating or helping purchase equipment. The organization’s phone system was one of the areas where the organization had previously benefitted from the generosity of supporters. When CHW made the decision to open a new facility, they took the opportunity to reevaluate the costs attributed to the existing phone system. The hybrid, hosted solution, was based in Utah and maintained by an outsourced IT firm.

Analyzing Legacy Phone System Costs Key to New Savings 

Being a busy non profit, an analysis of the legacy system had not been completed in years. The utility type service provided by the hosted company lacked face-to-face interaction, limited functionality, and very little technical support. Not to mention, the overall cost of the system was far more than anyone had realized. And every time the growing non profit added a new employee, it meant additional recurring costs. The true expense of the outdated system became even more apparent as CHW’s IT director began evaluating new systems from other service providers.  (Read more about the IT director’s process for evaluating a new phone system.)

CHW looked at four alternative business phone systems from Nortel, Avaya, Cox and Digum. They quickly found that Digium’s Switchvox Unified Communications (UC) system was the ideal system, and offered a price that seemed made for a non profit. Working with SDTek, a Preferred Digium Partner, CHW purchased a Swtichvox system, 115 phones and a Switchvox appliance (as a cold spare for onsite emergency recovery).

By replacing the organization’s legacy system with Switchvox, CHW will save over $450,000 in five years. The substantial savings goes a long way, especially for a non profit serving a large community in San Diego. That savings, originating from a simple switch in communications solution providers, can now roll back over into other areas that supports CHW’s mission and can help boost future growth and client success. It’s nice to realize that the benefits of Unified Communications can extend beyond office corridors and out into communities throughout the world.

What’s holding you back from getting real cost savings?

See how Switchvox can help your company grow and remove the fear of upgrading your phone system. Watch this on-demand webinar. 

Learn more about the implementation of the Community Housing Work’s phone system project.

Spectralink PIVOT:S now available!!!

Spectralink PIVOT:S now available to enable smarter workplace mobility Newest solution in expanded 87-Series provides choice with slimmer design and smartphone usability

July 02, 2015 — Spectralink Corporation (“Spectralink”), a global leader in wireless solutions for the workplace, announced that PIVOT:S is now available to order in North America, EMEA, and Australia.

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Spectralink PVIOT:S

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Spectralink Corporation (“Spectralink”), a global leader in wireless solutions for the workplace, announced today that PIVOT:S is now available to order in North America, EMEA, and Australia. PIVOT:S is the latest product in Spectralink’s PIVOT WorkSmart family that advances innovation in enterprise mobile communication. With a sleek, slim new design, it gives enterprises the ability to equip mobile workers with a powerful, streamlined purpose-built device.

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