WiMAX VoIP Offering Gets Thumbs Up

WiMAX-delivered VoIP moves forward as Soma Networks completes its VoIP testing with BroadSoft.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Jul 13, 2005
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WiMAX-based VoIP delivery took a step forward this month with the certification of Broadsoft's BroadWorks communications platform with Soma Networks' SIP-based VoIP.

San Francisco based Soma Networks announced that it had successfully completed interoperability validation with Broadsoft's BroadWorks, paving the way for VoIP application delivery over WiMAX. Broadworks is a VoIP application platform that manages call routing and provides a number of core web-enabled telephony services including voice mail, call waiting, conferencing, and auto-attendant functions. Soma Networks' part of the equation includes a wireless end-to-end IP telephony solution that offers a fully integrated VoIP wireless broadband gateway that allows VoIP application bandwidth efficiency over a broadband wireless infrastructure.

Soma's wireless broadband gateway is a converged device that integrates a SIP User Agent (SUA), analog terminal adapter (ATA), wireless broadband modem and WiFi route into a single unit. According to Soma, users can plug any standard analog voice phone or FAX line into the device and use their web browser to register for VoIP services.

The SOMA solution is targeted at service providers looking to offer landline quality voice and high speed data services to residential and SoHo customers. Broadband Wireless (WiMAX) based VoIP compares favorably from a price, technology, and security point of view with wired VoIP solutions according to Soma. Soma Networks spokesperson Adrienne Low explained that the SOMA solution is based on W-CDMA, which is a very secure wireless standard.

"Wireless VoIP is very difficult to do well but is actually considered more secure in some circumstances, such as natural emergencies in which the "last-mile" of wired solutions can be physically damaged or destroyed, wireless VoIP is often immune to such physical disruptions," Low told EnterpriseVoIPplanet.com. "From a price comparison, a wireless VoIP network is much less expensive to set up and then install and maintain in users homes than wired."

In particular, Low cited the fact that Soma's solution does not require the use of external antennas and that the CPEs is self-installable as helping to make it cost effective.

The future of broadband wireless VoIP technology is very bright in Low's opinion. "There is a definite interest from service providers as they have already seen the popularity and success of VoIP," Low said. "Combine that with the world's growing interest with anything wireless and you're got a winning combination."

Scott Wharton Vice President, Marketing at BroadSoft also agrees with Low's rosy view of the WiMAX VoIP's future.

"The business case for WiMAX is adding voice. If you do data only, it's hard to justify build-outs," Wharton told EnterpriseVoIPplanet.com. "Voice is a natural application."

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