Wi-Fi VoIP

More and more healthcare professionals are toting their wireless PDAs wherever they go, and they are searching for the next "killer app"; it maybe that it will come from yesterday's headlines: Tried and true voice communications.

VoIP - Voice over IP

Once you are aware of the benefits and applications of Voice over IP, it is too good to resist. The integration of voice and data traffic over the campus network will be demanded by "corridor cruisers" in hospitals, universities and research facilities across the country. The inevitable solution will be WLAN's (Wireless Local Area Networks) capable of interacting with voice, data, images and video conferences on-the-fly.

Sound far fetched? It's already in the works and vendors are flooding the market with VoIP products and services.

Along with the proliferate Wi-Fi (802.11x) "hot spots", momentum is building for the various applications that take advantage of the bandwidth and “anywhere, anytime” connectivity that Wi-Fi delivers. While wireless e-mail access is still on the top of everyone’s list as the "next big thing", there is another application that is also showing some early promise: Wi-Fi VoIP.

A California startup: Vocera Communications has developed a wearable, voice-controlled VoIP system via an 802.11b WLAN.

Vocera is targeting healthcare professionals, such as nurses who do not have offices and cannot be tied to desk phones. The Vocera system provides "hands free" communications between healthcare professionals facilitating communications and enhanicing the decision making process.

Vocera Product Overview

The Vocera Communications System is comprised of two key elements: the Vocera Server Software and the Vocera Communications Badge.

The Vocera Server Software platform runs on a standard Windows 2000 server located on the premises, and houses the centralized system intelligence:
the Call Manager, User Manager, and Connection Manager programs as well as the speech recognition engine and various databases. The intelligence of the system is centrally managed within an organization, so the entire Vocera System can easily be upgraded with new features and improved functionality from one central location. The server architecture is highly scalable and can adapt to changing environments.

The Vocera Communications Badge is a light weight, wearable, voice-controlled device that operates over an 802.11b wireless LAN infrastructure. It enables instant, hands-free conversations. The badge interfaces with the Vocera Server, where the system’s intelligence is housed and accessed via a wireless network connection.

The system can also connect to the PBX in order to place and receive calls through the public telephone network.Together the Vocera Server Software and Badge allow people to instantly communicate with others throughout a building or campus environment.


• Instant access to all staff currently logged on to the system eliminates the need to “page and wait” reducing the time it takes to deliver patient care
• One-to-one and one-to-many messaging options reduce the need for disturbing overhead paging.
• Virtually hands-free operation clears nurses’ hands to work with patients, not telephone keypads.



A startup based at the Simon Fraser University's Campus in Vancouver, British Columbia; Xten Networks is developing VoIP Client Software and VoIP server software including SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) Proxies, Registrars and Conference Servers.

Xten's product: XPhone, a software application for the Pocket PC operating system, replicates the functionality of a telephone handset and delivers many traditional PBX features in addition to enhanced capabilities found in a SIP-based network. XPhone offers an intuitive phone-like interface and can be easily customized.

XPhone delivers SIP-based communications and services in a software-based phone for PC-to-Phone, Phone-to-PC, PC-to-PC, PC-to-PDA, PDA-to-PC, PDA-to-Phone, Phone-to-PDA services.

Xten offers a free version of it's product: X-Lite You can use X-Lite to make phone calls from your PC, Laptop or PocketPC.

NOTE: Before you install X-Lite some user account information is required from your SIP Proxy administrator before you run the software for the first time.

A Phone number or SIP account number, is required to make and receive calls. If you do not already have a SIP account, go to Free World Dialup (FWD) allows you to make free phone calls over the Internet using a 'regular' telephone or a computer program. The FWD service has over 24,000 subscribers from over 100 countries. You can join today, at no cost, by either using programs already on your computer, or by downloading a free program. FWD services work on Cable, DSL, Dialup modem, or a Wi-Fi network.


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