I'm a huge fan of WiFi. I just wish it was more ubiquitous. There are a plethora of technologies coming to market to help make this happen, such as "mesh networks" that will help improve WiFi network coverage.
The beauty of the "mesh" is that you can quickly create new wireless networks or extend existing WLANs without needing a wired connection to each access point (AP). Mesh-enabled APs are good at load balancing because they can choose the most efficient path for data.
Basically, think of your cell phone when you ae driving. You are "hitting" the most optimal cell tower (strongest signal typically) and as you drive along, the cell tower "hands off" the connection to the next most optimal tower.
The next extension of WiFi "mesh networks" is to add VoIP to it. This could in theory render cell phone carriers obsolete! Think about it. A SIP-enabled PDA or WiFi-enabled cell phone can logon to the Internet via the WiFi mesh network and make phone calls for FREE!
Of course, the mesh networks no doubt will charge something for the data/Internet access, but if you are like me and you want Internet access anywhere you go, and are willing to pay for it, then having voice access (via VoIP) is just icing on the cake!
Well I was intrigued to learn that there is a company that is providing VoIP using the SIP protocol across a WiFi mesh network.
Here's an excerpt of its features:
- Make and receive calls to any SIP compatible phone service
- Use wired or wireless devices over the mesh for full function telephony services
- Roam all over the mesh, using the same phone number
- Call to other Internet users for no charge
The LocustWorld MeshAP now supports standards based Voice over IP, with SIP routing capability at every node