Wireless technologies have been actively used in Enterprise communications since mid-`90s. The demand and the importance of the technologies for business are continually growing ever since, which stimulates telecom manufacturers to create and deploy new wireless solutions.
It is necessary to mention that the DECT technology is older than Wi-Fi. In mid-2000s some experts expected DECT to fade away being superseded by Voice over Wi-Fi solutions. But the time has shown that the maturity of DECT and its architecture specially crafted for voice communications from day one, as well as wide usage across Europe and many regions in Asia, keep it quite a popular solution both for home and Enterprise usage. It is especially true for medical institutions and some industry applications where Wi-Fi frequencies can easily interfere with other special radio equipment. DECT is less prone to the issue.
MERA has been dealing with solutions of major DECT manufacturers for over a decade. We started by helping a major telecom vendor to support a TDM-based OEM DECT solution on a large-scale PBX system. The scope of work included in-depth testing of new firmware for handsets and base stations as well as assisting end customers to properly plan, deploy and install the DECT solution.
The activity was shortly expanded onto IP DECT systems. We completed a thorough analysis of several available solutions for a PBX manufacturer and provided recommendations on the best OEM product. Later on, MERA not only supported that solution and was performing all the regression testing for product updates, but it also created and maintained the whole suite of end user documentation for DECT products (both systems and handsets), matching the highest standards of documentation quality that our customers follow.
Wi-Fi for Enterprise Communications
The Wi-Fi technology is a great solution to easily handle any kind of data, including voice and video, for Enterprise. While DECT is originally voice-oriented, Wi-Fi is a universal data-oriented communication medium.
Nowadays, Enterprise-level Wi-Fi networks are ubiquitous. Using them as a vehicle for Unified Communications is a logic and desirable step for many companies. Early Wi-Fi solutions were rather complex and aroused many practical problems in terms of proper configuring for voice communications while providing satisfactory quality and stability for all the voice calls inside a company’s Intranet when the number of Wi-Fi access points and handsets is high. Now, the situation is improving due to recent developments and evolution of available technologies and solutions.
For a number of years, MERA was helping with integration and interoperability between OEM Wi-Fi solutions and PBX systems. The work included both exhaustive testing and some special solutions that allowed to increase handsets battery lifetime by optimizing message exchange. We also helped to customize the layout of call information on handset displays which was controlled remotely through a proprietary signaling protocol.
Enterprise Wireless Now and in the Future
Both DECT and Wi-Fi are actively evolving. DECT is getting enhanced and ready for wideband codecs, multiline support, intelligent networking and other market needs. Wi-Fi standards are being updated and improved to increase the speed and reliability of connections, use alternative frequency domains, enhance security and especially QoS for media communications.
MERA works with telecom vendors integrating OEMs and 3rd party wireless solutions with their enterprise UC systems, as well as with DECT and Wi-Fi product vendors. It includes basic components of wireless infrastructure, such as handsets and access points, related OAM&P solutions, components for messaging, alarming, location detection and development tools.
MERA engineers test wireless solutions and check their interoperability with UC components and IP clients. While our scope includes manual testing, we largely deal with automated testing for wireless solutions. And we are proud that back in 2011 a major vendor of Enterprise Wireless solutions has opened its official testing lab at MERA.
We are also involved in preparing documentation, providing on-demand consultations to the end customers and enhancing the interoperability of wireless products and UC. Keeping our eye on the ongoing developments of Wi-Fi and DECT technologies we are looking forward to extend our successful collaboration with the leading industry players.