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NY Times says challenges await WiFi phones

Monday, November 27, 2006

Dropped calls, unreliable call quality, weak signals, battery draining, legal issues. To sum it up, the New York Times' Matt Richtel says that WiFi phones just aren't ready yet for primetime.

I find myself agreeing with him. Though I strongly support attempts to converge voice, data, video and other signals onto the same network, WiFi needs more development before it will be acceptable for the masses and not just early enthusiasts. A good metropolitan mesh WiFi network will have to solve all the problems mentioned in Richtel's article before mobile VoIP can have its day.

He brings up some good points too. Buildings or basements with low wireless coverage will benefit from VoIP over an internal WLAN, and what's more is that network administrators can control and track phone usage.

The controversy starts with the use of open access points to make your calls. I agree with the line of thinking that says, "if you don't want people using your open bandwidth, then just secure it." Still, there are valid points to be made for both sides of the argument. But with WiFi phones, it will definitely be less suspicious to be talking into a small device that resembles a cellphone than to be using a laptop to check your e-mails.


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