Wi-Fi stands for Wireless Fidelity. It is often used to refer to wireless networks -WLANS and was associated with equipment such as laptop computers and PDAS, allowing them to connect to wireless Internet connections.

Computers may be built with Wi-FI pre installed, or you can purchase a Wi-Fi networking card, allowing your desktop computer to become wireless. Now, Wi-Fi has been associated with VoIP phones.

Now that VoIP and Wi-Fi have joined forces their new acronym is VoWiFi. This stands for Voice Over Wireless Fidelity. Basically, VoIP is the ability to transmit phone calls over an IP address or High speed Internet connection and Wi Fi is the culmination of wireless internet. So Vo WiFi is transmitting a phone call through wireless Internet. Connections to a Wi Fi server are made when a Wi Fi device can connect to a Wi Fi access point. The access points are spread out, and are called, “hotspots”. It is possible to use someone else’s access point with your wireless device, and this has raised the question of security. This poses to be VoWiFi’s greatest current challenge. Currently, wireless customers can access other’s access points just by entering their hotspots. This has led to laptop’s suddenly switching networks, or joining in another’s access points without permission. There have already been instances of people tapping into files and documents due to the fact that wireless hot spots transferred networks. There are other technical kinks to work out as well.

A “hotspot” only has a length of about 90 Meters so before VoWI FI can become a bonifide cellular competitor, it will have to address these issues first.

However, Wi Fi is gaining popularity, and VoIP phones are holding their own weight against cellular phones due to the fact that VoIP phones still use less bandwidth are considerably less expensive over all. Some cellular companies recognize that VoWi Fi phones will be the next big thing and are already designing dual, VoWiFi/Cellular phones. These phones are designed to access a hotspot, and then switch to a Cellular network when the caller has left the hotspot vicinity. For example, a caller could be in their office, and be on their hybrid phone using WiFi, if they step outside and leave the range of an access point, they will switch to cellular networks, when they reenter the building and are back in the wireless access point area, they will switch back to WiFi- all without losing connectivity during the call. You may be wondering why someone would want a hybrid phone; well it is simple- the WiFi calls are much cheaper (if not free) then the cellular.

We can expect to see more changes in the future as VoWiFi as it continues to gather a reputation. There are already many companies embracing VoWiFi, and other companies are addressing the needs for more stringent wireless security. For example, there are higher security networks in place now, that will decrease the chance of others tapping into your access points. For many wireless users, this has been the preferred method of wireless access.

I wouldn’t be too cautious to think that VoWI Fi won’t become the big wave of the future. Technology continues to advance dramatically, and once VoWiFi does work out their roaming and security issues, the incredible cost reduction will make these products hot commodities.

Vonage has started their VoWiFi phone service, and in preparation for this big trend, a market has opened for VoWiFi phones. Currently available are WiFi handsets that have added features such as Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, and Call Transfer. Prices for VoWiFi phones vary thought you can typically purchase one for under $200.00. VoWiFi is attracting a huge base of fans. It can offer unlimited world calling, unlimited messaging features, and there are benefits that VoWiFi has that are not available with cellular phones. For instance, there are no roaming charges with VoWiFi and this is a popular trend, which may change in the future. Most major phone companies have already produced the hybrid phones, or are still in the production stage.

Currently, Sprint has a lawsuit against Vonage and another VoIP provider. Maybe they are worried that VoIP is going to take a drastic bite out of their financial kingdoms. Time will tell, but one thing is certain, VoIP is here to stay, and as more customers become aware of the value of services such as VoIP WiFi, demand will continue to increase. There may be more battles between small up and coming VoIP and WiFi companies with powerhouses such as Sprint, but that is an example that the technology is proving to be a serious threat.

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