Tuesday, June 08, 2004

VoWLAN is back...

As regular readers of this blog know, I have been concerned about the evolution of the acronym for VoIP over wireless networks. My primary concern has been a marketing one -- we are still in the process of explaining to consumers what the heck Wi-Fi is, now we need to explain to them voice applications over these wireless networks... so we start confusing them with VoWLAN.

But I recently saw an article in the respected CMP publication, Mobile Pipeline that used the term VoWLAN (the article is here) so I wrote to editor David Haskin and asked why he used the term VoWLAN. His reasoning is persuasive. Repeated with permission, his email reads:
It's an entirely subjective decision. My thinking was that WiFi (Wi-Fi, actually) is a brand created by the Wi-Fi Alliance that refers to a specific type of wireless technology. WLAN is a more neutral term. It likely won't happen, but if an entirely new wireless LAN technology emerges, I'd rather not be guilty of promoting one technology over another, even if it's subtle.
I certainly have to agree with David. With WiMAX growing in importance and Wi-Bro on the horizon and ever more wireless options emerging, VoIP over wireless will not be limited to Wi-Fi. VoWLAN now makes much more sense to me. Oh well, think of it as a full-employment program for marketing departments...

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