Wi-Fi Based Telephones Emerge

    August 19, 2004

Schools are finding a better answer for voice communications: Wi-Fi based telephones.

“Wireless telephones are one of the best communication devices we can give to our teachers,” says Steve Riethmiller, Director of Technology for Covington Elementary’s school district, Indiana Southwest Allen County Schools. “We don’t want to alarm kids by broadcasting sensitive information over walkie-talkies or an intercom. We have a great amount of flexibility with SpectraLink Wireless Telephones.”

Needing a mobile communication solution, schools in the past turned to walkie-talkies despite their obvious shortcomings. Walkie-talkies cannot provide access to the external community such as emergency personnel or parents, they have limited coverage, no voicemail, and minimal privacy.

Wi-Fi wireless telephones provide expansive campus coverage because schools are able to deploy Wi-Fi access points wherever users roam. Staff can receive optimal coverage anywhere on campus whether in staircases, auditoriums, gymnasiums or on athletic fields.

Providing teachers and staff with wireless telephones that integrate with schools’ internal communication systems offers the continuity of voicemail, call transferring and conferencing, and dialing by extension. In addition to supporting traditional phone features, Wi-Fi wireless telephones have a push-to-talk capability that retains walkie-talkie benefits for security and administrative personnel. The lightweight, durable handsets also allow private communications convenient for teachers, school nurses, and administrators that now have access to the external community.

In short, Wi-Fi wireless telephones are providing schools with the convenience of a landline phone — minus the cord — plus the advantages of leveraging the same Wi-Fi network used for wireless data applications. Combining voice and data also saves the IT department money and time in the long run, with only one network to administer and manage.

Walkie-talkies have had their run. This year, there will be less bleeping and static in the hallways, replaced by more robust Wi-Fi telephones that provide teachers and staff with all the communication features they could want in a wireless device.

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