A few folks have asked me to comment on the Nortel Wireless Phones (VoWLAN). I currently have ~ 100 Nortel Wireless 2211 Phones deployed across six locations. One site has ~ 60 phones deployed across a very large hospital campus. You should know that the Nortel Wireless 2200 Series phones are OEM’d from Spectralink. Spectralink makes some really great wireless products and Nortel has chosen a good partner in their endeavor. I would honestly have to say that the product works well and I’m generally impressed by it. I also have ~ 10 Nortel Wireless 2210 Phones but we found these phones did not have as good a signal reception/strength as the 2211s nor did they hold up to the abuse of a health care environment well.
You’ll need a Nortel Succession Call Server (along with a Succession Signaling Server and Voice Gateway Media Card) configured for “IP Line” before you’ll be able to deploy any wireless phones. If you already have any of the Internet Telephones deployed then you have already have “IP Line”. Once you have your Call Server connected to the network you just need to deploy the Nortel WLAN IP Telephony Manager 2245 (Wireless Gateway). The 2245 wireless gateway converts the Spectralink Voice Priority (SVP) used by the phones to UNIStim/H.323 used by the backend Succession equipment. Of course you’ll need a wireless network(802.11b) in place to carry the traffic. We use Motorola’s WS5000 and WS5100 Wireless LAN Switches. We’re also in the process of evaluating the RFS7000 from Motorola.
Note: we’ve currently identified an issue with the WS5100 v3.x that causes the Nortel Wireless phones to randomly watchdog and reboot themselves. We’ve also identified this same problem on the RFS7000 v1.x. We are currently only providing VoWLAN services on Motorola Wireless LAN switches running v2.1.3 software. Motorola and Nortel are aware of the issue and are working towards a solution.
The Nortel 2245 wireless gateway will literally proxy all communications between the phones at the Succession backend equipment. This requires that the 2245 assign a proxy/secondary IP address for every wireless phone (this is done in the configuration of the 2245). From the wireless network standpoint the wireless phones will have an IP address issued by the DHCP server, but the 2245 will replace that IP address with a second IP address it will use to communicate with the backend Succession environment. This is so when the Succession backend tries to signal the phone it will send the traffic back to the 2245 wireless gateway which will then transcode the signal/data and send it the actual IP address of the wireless phone. The Nortel 2245 wireless gateway also works to provide QoS for the wireless voice traffic.
Nortel has just recently release the 6120 and 6140 Wireless Phones which support 802.11a/b/g wireless networks. I’ll be evaluating those in the coming months to see how they fair against the current products.
The Nortel 2210/2211 Wireless Phones can be configured in DHCP with the vendor class of “Nortel-221x-A”. They will accept the same DHCP option code of “128” with the same format as the i2002/i2004/1120e/1140e/1150e Internet Telephone. You’ll also need to pass DHCP option 151 (IP address of the 2245 server). Software upgrades are performed over TFTP using DHCP option 66 (IP address of TFTP server).
Hopefully that’s enough to give you the basics.