Aruba will support voice-quality links on office WLANs, disputing competitors' claims that the job needs a whole new architecture.

"Enterprises are asking for a coherent strategy to introduce dual mode into their networks," said vice president Keerti Melkote. Aruba's product announcements are part of a three-year plan to meet business demands for converged phones.

Aruba will offer WMM, the Wi-Fi Alliance's specification of the IEEE's 802.11e standard for Wi-Fi, and TSpec (traffic specification) signalling so that data streams can be tagged as requiring voice quality. The company is also improving its Call Admission Control (CAC) so calls can be balanced between cells and access points aren't overloaded.

The company also promised two ways to improve battery life on handhelds. Aruba has implemented the Wi-Fi Alliance's U-APSD specification, that lets handsets sleep between sending packets, and it also lets the central mobility controller act as a proxy for the client, handling signals such as ARP (address resolution protocol) requests, so they aren't delivered to the handset. "We can increase battery life by ten times, even for existing handsets," said Peter Thornycroft, Aruba's product manager for voice.

Aruba is also publishing a spec document for voice on Wi-Fi (VoFi) handsets for enterprise use, which should help equipment makers produce devices that make the most of battery-saving and quality of service features in the network.

The company will also publish an API for PBX vendors, so VoFi can be added to existing equipment. "We are in the best location to determine when you have moved outside the Wi-Fi zone," said Thornycroft. "We can bridge the two, and scale to thousands of calls, without requiring a PBX upgrade."