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Will wireless VoIP phones need to stay within range of a base station, similar to regular cordless p

Will wireless VoIP phones need to stay within range of a base station, similar to regular cordless phones, or will they be able to travel and remain in talk by connecting to various Wireless Access Points located throughout a building?

I'm wondering if the range is limited to the area around a base station on a desk or wall or if something like DHCP or something like that could allow the wireless VoIP phone to travel anywhere in the building and keep picking up connection information as long as there are WAPs, similar to how a cell phone connects to multiple towers throughout the life of a cellular call. Thanks!
Protocols like the real-time transport protocol (RTP) are designed to operate over UDP/IP datagram services, allowing for changes in network routing and connectivity during the lifetime of a VoIP call. 802.11 stations automatically assess signal strength and reassociate to the AP with the strongest signal. When reassociation occurs, there is a brief interruption in connectivity. Jitter buffers and many other techniques are used to smooth out the consequences of packet loss. If reassociation occurs reasonably fast, results are satisfactory. If the station moves completely out of any AP's reach, packet loss will persist and the call will eventually be dropped.

As you suggest, this behavior is somewhat like a cellular call if there is blanket 802.11 coverage in the area (floor, building, campus) where calls are occurring. Of course, if you only had one 802.11 AP, you'd need to stay within range of that AP throughout the call.

To learn more about VoIP and the protocols involved, I recommend this International Engineering Consortium Tutorial.

This was last published in October 2003

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