Data transmissions are gaining popularity and straining many carriers' networks. Wi-Fi has emerged as a way to offload traffic and alleviate congestion, and Cisco and T-Mobile have teamed up to ensure that such transmissions flow seamlessly.To take advantage of T-Mobile's Wi-Fi Calling for Business, a business must put a couple of items in place. First, the firm's wireless LAN must be based on Cisco's Unified Wireless Network access points. In addition, Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX), which is software to improve quality of service, roaming and power savings, must be embedded in silicon on smartphones using the system. So far, this features is available on Research In Motion BlackBerry and Nokia smartphones.
Once those elements are in place, company calls bounce between cellular and Wi-Fi networks. Rather than use up cellular minutes, employees can converse over company Wi-Fi networks, which essentially are free calls. Another plus is the service is widely available: Deutsche Telekom. T-Mobile's parent, operates cellular networks in 14 countries that support 45,000 Wi-Fi hotspots globally.
However, there are some limitations with the service. Wi-Fi Calling for Business does not support Apple's iPhone or Google's Android, which have become quite popular. Pricing for the service varies, so it may not be cost effective for all corporations.
Smartphone data usage has been rising and clogging some networks. In response, carriers have been upgrading their networks and offloading traffic. Consequently, small and medium businesses can expect to see more services, such as the one from Cisco and T-Mobile.