Electronic Design

Voice Over WLAN: The Complete Guide

By Michael F. Finneran

Just recently I reviewed three of the newer offerings from Newnes Press, an imprint of the publisher Elsevier. They have a large selection of electronic books you may find interesting (check out www.newnespress.com). Incidentally, all books that I write about I recommend. I just do not write about books that are not that good. Moving on, Voice Over WLAN: The Complete Guide by Michael F. Finneran is a detailed look at the digital voice over Wi-Fi movement. As you may know, there is growing interest in making phone calls over an enterprise LAN by using 802.11 phones. These can be desktop phones to replace the traditional POTS and PBX phones or actual Wi-Fi handset phones. Some cell phones are also beginning to incorporate Wi-Fi in addition to the usual cellular radios. In any case, they are becoming more common everyday and you may encounter them in some form. This book does a good job of examining this technology. Besides talking about the development of the whole VoIP subject and history, the book also reviews the relevant fundamentals like radio transmission fundamentals and wireless LAN components and equipment. Other chapters do a detailed review of the media access control (MAC) protocol as well as the 802.11 IEEE standard specifications. There are also chapters on Wi-Fi security and IP routing for voice. Quality issues for voice and voice-network design and configuration as well as traffic engineering are other topics. There is a great chapter on fixed-mobile convergence where WLAN and cellular merge. This chapter also covers VoIP over WiMAX networks as well. The final chapters show you how to design a WLAN for voice and to do network management on it. Newnes also has a new series of books called “Know It All”. These are very large books—about 500 to 900 pages per clip—that summarize an electronic subject. They are up to date and make great references. The chapters are written by well known practitioners in the field. I reviewed two on wireless. RF & Wireless Technologies is a real encyclopedia of wireless knowledge. It has up to date chapters on communications protocols and modulation, transmitters, receivers, radio propagation, and antennas. Six chapters are devoted to wireless networks including 802.11 and 802.16. Cell phone systems are addressed as are industrial and sensor mesh networks. Other hot topics include chapters on the software-defined radio (SDR), cognitive radio, and RFID. There are several chapters on UWB. More detailed chapters cover spread spectrum, OFDM, phase-locked loops, and RF power amplifiers. About the only missing pieces are information on the latest 3G and 4G cell-phone technologies and the ZigBee standard. NFC is also not covered and some of the newer short range technologies like WirelessHD are neglected as well. But you can imagine that such a book is hard to keep up to date at the rate new technologies come along. Despite these few omissions, if you are looking for a great reference text for your desk, this is it. The other book is Wireless Networking. It duplicates many of the chapters in the RF & Wireless Technologies book but adds a few new ones. These newer chapters are heavy on the 802.11 and 802.16 standards, indoor networks, security, VoIP over WLAN, and Bluetooth. By all means look at the table of contents of these two books to see what is best for you as you may not need them both. Otherwise, both are highly recommended.

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