Cisco is set to announce two new partnerships in the VoIP arena, hoping that its newest technology will offer longer battery life.

The company is preparing to partner Nokia on a range of new dual-mode VoIP and cellular handsets, and is set to work with Intel on creating VoIP-enabled notebook PCs. The new devices will be based on Cisco's CCX (Cisco Compatible Extension), a technology that the company claims will prolong mobile devices' batteries.

The technology enables client-initiated communication with an AP (access point). This is a reversal of traditional WLAN technology in which the APs constantly poll the client for availability, often reducing battery life to unacceptable levels.

Now the client device will only "ping" the AP when it wants to talk, said Ben Gibson, director of wireless and mobility marketing at Cisco.

According to Gibson, this technology will dramatically increase battery life. Gibson said a VoIP-enabled phone will most likely have the same battery life as non-VoIP phones.

A second load-balancing technology recognises when an AP has been fully subscribed and boosts power output or hands off a call to an adjacent AP.

Cisco is also to introduce another new technology: Call Admission Control, which has been designed to improve the quality of service for VoIP by allowing network managers to cap the number of users on a single AP.

"If there is no more bandwidth available, the system needs to recognise that and not admit another call," Gibson said.

Nokia currently ships Wi-Fi-enabled phones that will work at public hotspots, according to Tom Libretto, director of marketing at Nokia Enterprise Solutions.

"Our phone platform is optimised to do that. But if you want to take advantage of a corporate telephony environment and you want more control, you will need this additional Cisco technology," Libretto said.

Although the technology is proprietary now, Abner Germanow, director of enterprise networking at IDC, said it will most likely be offered up to a standards body by Cisco.

"Once this is rolled out, then they [Cisco] will work with the standards bodies to make that function a standard," Germanow said.

Germanow said there are numerous efforts among handset vendors, infrastructure vendors, and other relevant players such as IP PBX vendors to come up with ways to deploy faster, less expensive, non-proprietary technologies for VOIP.

The dual-mode handsets from Nokia, including the latest version of CCX, will be expected in the fourth quarter while the next generation of Intel Centrino chips will also include support for the technology.