Deploying Voice Over Wi-Fi With Spectralink Devices

Learn how to deploy VoWi-Fi using Spectralink devices, some of the top hardware used in contact centers. 

If you’re looking for ways to cut costs and increase efficiency in the office, the phone system may warrant a look. Are you using an outdated legacy system that’s expensive and inefficient? Today, cloud-based phone systems are offering more affordable and effective solutions for many organizations. 

These systems use Voice Over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) or Voice Over Wireless LAN (VoWLAN) to transmit calls, negating the need for expensive telecom plans or non-agile systems that weren't meant to scale with a business. Many organizations increase efficiency without sacrificing functionality via a VoWi-Fi transition. 

Delivering enterprise-grade VoWLAN with Spectralink 84-Series handsets 

Spectralink is a long-trusted brand in the enterprise telecom industry—you may already have their products in some part of the office. They are a leader in enterprise wireless phone hardware and systems. 

The Wi-Fi 84-Series solution leverages a typical wireless LAN setup to deliver onsite voice mobility. It includes the 8440, 8441, and 8453 models. Here’s how to deploy VoWLAN with any Wi-Fi 83 Series solution from Spectralink: 

 1. Ensure sufficient coverage

Insufficient coverage can prevent a wireless phone system from performing to its fullest. If your coverage is lacking, you may notice problems such as: 

  • Poor call quality
  • Dropped calls
  • Trouble connecting devices
  • Real-time audio delays 

Fortunately, these issues can be avoided. First, make sure that you have adequate coverage before launching a new system. It's all too common for businesses to concentrate WLAN coverage in common work areas without considering that most wireless phone users walk while they talk, even at work. 

A comprehensive network ensures that your employees won’t struggle to stay connected if they need to move around the building. 

 2. Provide enough overlap for roaming

Roaming affects how well on-the-go phone users stay connected to a WLAN. It’s typical for businesses to provide little overlap between access points—but no overlap leads to dropped calls when you cross the threshold between APs. 

You may avoid this by enabling both Wi-Fi bands on your access points (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), which allows your device to seamlessly roam to maintain a connection even if their current band drops out, falls out of range, or becomes congested. The 2.4GHz band can also cover areas that are challenging for 5GHz, like stairways and elevators. 

 3. Deliver adequate signal strength

The right minimum signal strength for your device depends on the 802.11 band that it operates on. In a 2.4GHz band, you can achieve best practice data rates of up to 54 Mb/s (-47 dBm), while up to 65 Mb/s (-50 dBm) is possible on the 5 GHz band. 

Set the lowest data rate to “required” or “mandatory” and the rest to “supported.” Beacons and multicast frames for push-to-talk use the lowest data rate, while unicast data frames use the highest. 

Employ the Site Survey or Diagnostics mode in your Spectralink handset to validate the AP signal strength. Both can alert you to potential problems. 

If you have trouble achieving the right strength, check for physical obstructions (like appliances or walls) and interference from other devices, which aren’t limited to Wi-Fi (Bluetooth devices are notorious for messing with wireless signals). 

 4. Diversify access points

You can minimize retry rates and keep voice quality high by providing a full, bi-directional scope of access points using both antennas for maximum diversity. If you have device interference, you may not have an adequate footprint of APs to manage it. 

Use extra access points to diversify around problem areas, like: 

  • Rooms with appliances and electronics that may interfere (microwave ovens and video cameras are notorious)
  • Rooms where many people are using wireless devices at once, including smartphones or Bluetooth radios
  • Rooms where many people work even if they aren’t all using devices (absorption can damage signal when there are many bodies in one place)
  • Rooms with a metal structure or non-porous materials, which can absorb and redirect the signal 

 5. Configure access points 

Configuring the access points is the last step, but it’s critical. The Spectralink handset supports IEEE 802.11b, 802.11n, 802.11a, and 802.11g types. You can configure for any of them within the setup menu using step-by-step guides available from the Spectralink website (or in the packaging for the system you purchased). 

For all radio types, you should: 

  • Use different radio channels for adjacent APs
  • Contact Spectralink Professional Services for specific questions about configuration

Quality VoWi-Fi relies on wireless network monitoring and maintenance 

The project doesn’t end just because you’re done with implementation. 7SIGNAL can provide continuous monitoring and faster response through our proprietary Wireless Network Monitoring platform. Our solution:

  • Monitors your network to detect a range of issues
  • Because it proactively detects these problems, managers can often implement solutions before end-users experience issues
  • Helps you understand and account for potential challenges once it’s time to scale up the network 

We provide a free proof of concept that lets you see exactly what 7SIGNAL can do for your enterprise’s wireless network. Get personalized insight on how we can help you now by submitting a Proof of Concept Request.