Enterprise Wi-Fi vendor Aruba is launching voice over IP convergence products that let mobile phones work with existing IP PBXs, as well as mobile access point software for road warriors.
Mobile Voice Continuity manages voice and data hand-off between with wireless LAN and the cellular network, so dual mode phones can be connected up to existing corporate IP-enabled PBXs, Aruba said. It is the third phase of the enterprise FMC programme that Aruba launched last year.
"We're builidng more intelligence at layer seven," said Aruba vice president Keerti Melkote. "It's about detecting the edge of the network," he said, pointing out that most current technologies such as unlicensed mobile access (UMA) assume a single Wi-fi access point in the network.
Meanwhile, the Mobile Access Point software lets an IT manager with an Aruba network turn an access point into a secure device that staff can use on the road. Plugged in remotely, it will connect back to the central Aruba switch - even punching through hotels' captive portals, so travellers can use PDAs and Wi-Fi phones that might be blocked otherwise. For greater efficiency, it offers a split tunnel, so only corporate traffic goes back the head office, while printer and Internet traffic goes out locally.
"Whatever you can do in office, we have extended remotely," said Michael Tennefoss, head of strategic marketing at Aruba. "You don't need the hotel telephone system - you're still paying for whatever services you are entitled to, but you can use all the IP services you would have in the office."
Aruba is using the phrase "follow me security", for its version of the industry-wide move towards applying policies to users instead of ports or devices. If multiple users connect to a mobile access point, each one is managed separately, according to central policies.
Roaming is provided by software that runs on a Wi-Fi-capable cellphone, and a software upgrade to the Aruba mobility switch. Calls made over Wi-Fi in the office are routed by the Aruba mobility controller to the IP PBX which completes them. The Wi-Fi network detects when the user is going off site, and sets up a replacement cellular call - when necessary, the client software answers that call and hands over. The same process happens in reverse when the user roams onto the Wi-Fi network.
The Mobile Access Point software is due in July 2007, and the enterprise FMC Mobile Voice Continuity software in the fourth quarter of 2007 - both are being demonstrated this week at Interop Las Vegas.
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