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The Wi-Fi Alliance will push a new certification program to develop voice over Wi-Fi equipment.
The new "Wi-Fi Certified Voice-Personal" program is intended to capitalize on the growing use of the wireless technology for placing VoIP calls in the home and enterprise — either through standalone Wi-Fi handsets or dual model cellular/Wi-Fi handsets. The program will ramp up in 2008, the Alliance said.
To date, the alliance has issued certifications to 140 phones for "baseline interoperability and security."
According to an Alliance white paper, the Voice-Personal program is designed "to test the performance of voice applications under real-life conditions that include both voice and data traffic streams, in network configurations that are common in home and small office environments. To achieve the planned certification, client devices and access points must perform above set thresholds for packet loss, latency and jitter, to help ensure good voice quality."
The market for Wi-Fi handsets is expected to grow sharply over the next several years. Over 500 million Wi-Fi enabled handsets will be sold in 2012 thanks in large measure to VoIP technology, the Alliance predicted.
An ABI Research survey of 1,200 wireless subscribers indicated that a quarter would switch carriers if it offered a cellular/Wi-Fi convergence product. An In-Stat survey of early adopter customers found that nearly half wanted Wi-Fi capability in their next phone.