Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

IEEE standardises fast Wi-Fi roaming

Good news for VoIP.

Article comments

The IEEE has completed 802.11r, a standard that lets Wi-Fi devices roam quickly between access points, improving the performance of VoIP on enterprise LANs.

The IEEE 802.11 standards were originally defined with single access points in mind, but in offices multiple access points are needed. Devices can move from one access point to another, but it takes around 100ms to re-associate, and several seconds to re-establish authenticated connections using 802.1x.

The new standard, 802.11r, known as Fast Basic Service Set Transition, allows the network to establish a security and QoS state for the device at the new access point, before it roams between the two, so the transition can take place in less than 50ms - the standard required for voice roaming.

The IEEE has been working on 802.11r for four years, and the concept has been solid since 2005, but the standard was formally approved and published by the IEEE this summer.

Till now, vendors have either used lower security options on Wi-Fi VoIP (using WEP encryption for instance) and put VoIP traffic on separate VLANs to protect the rest of the network, or implemented technology close to the eventual 802.11r standard.

Other vendors, including Meru and Extricom, has built networks where there is no roaming because all the access points are on the same channel.

IEEE 802.11r could open up a bottle-neck in enterprise Wi-Fi VoIP installations, and should allow VoIP certification to move ahead. Although the Wi-Fi Alliance, delivered a VoIP brand, known as Wi-Fi Certified Voice-Personal in June, this has had limited success, and the Alliance is expected to follow up with a Voice-Enterprise brand, including 802.11r, in 2009.

Cisco and Meru branded enterprise-grade equipment under the Voice-Personal brand, but other business Wi-Fi companies have shunned it.

"We primarily address the enterprise market, so we would certainly look for voice-enterprise when it comes out," said Roger Hockaday, Aruba's director of marketing EMEA.

"[Voice-Personal certification] is for low range stuff and SME equipment," said Alistair Mutch, worldwide business development director for Wi-Fi switch vendor Trapeze (now being acquired by Belden). "We have not submitted to the low end one as we felt it was really not worth it."


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *