Polycom intends to buy SpectraLink, in order to add Wi-Fi VOIP to Polycom's range of traditional telephony equipment. US$220 million.

The $220 million deal gives Polycom a wireless IP phone product set, and also strengthens its ties with such IP PBX system makers as Avaya, Cisco and Nortel, which resell SpectraLink technology and products as part of their respective wireless VOIP offerings.

SpectraLink makes 802.11-based IP telephone handsets and gateways, as well as devices that prioritise SpectraLink's own wireless LAN VOIP signals over other 802.11-based traffic, to provide QoS. The company's handsets are used in deployments with mobile workers, such as hospital, warehouses and public safety organizations. The company also makes dual-mode Wi-Fi/cellular handsets, which can operate on a corporate WLAN and PBX infrastructure, as well as on carrier cell phone networks.

Polycom makes traditional telephony conferencing equipment, teleconferencing gear, as well as SIP and H.323-based IP telephones that are interoperable with a number of vendors, such as Avaya, Cisco, the open source Digium IP PBX and others.

The $220 million SpectraLink buyout could be a good bet for Polycom if industry analyst predictions on the Wi-Fi VOIP market pan out. Infonetics says the Wi-Fi IP phone market was around $535 million in 2006 - a 13 percent increase from the previous year. The analyst firm predicts shipments of Wi-Fi VOIP handsets will increase by 1300 percent by 2007, with consumer-focused providers such as Netgear, Cisco's Linksys and Skype driving the volume.

Polycom says it expects the all-cash SpectraLink acquisition to close in the second quarter of 2007.