Bringing E911 to Enterprise WiFi Networks


Bringing E911 to Enterprise WiFi Networks

By TMCnet Special Guest
Nick Maier, Senior VP of RedSky Technologies
  |  August 01, 2010

This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of  INTERNET TELEPHONY.


Many enterprises are adopting WiFi (News - Alert) networks to enhance the productivity of their employees and their business. Beyond merely providing access to the network and the Internet for laptops, Wi-Fi networks now support a wide variety of applications including voice, asset tracking, security and telemetry.

The health care and retail verticals have been among the first movers to deploy voice over Wi-Fi to enable mobility throughout the network and enhance staff productivity. In a hospital environment, everything from messaging, patient monitoring, reporting and patient flow can be improved when staff can communicate with each other from anywhere in the building.

Out on the retail floor, a salesperson can use the technology to check inventory, place an order and complete the check-out process, all while working the sales floor and serving customers.

Along with all its benefits, the increased mobility made possible by enterprise VoWiFi carries significant implications to workplace safety. Determining the specific location of a nomadic caller should they dial 911 from a WiFi phone can be especially challenging. Beyond the safety implications, failure to provide E911 protection to users on Wi-Fi networks raises legal and liability issues – especially in states with E911 regulations.

Fortunately, solutions are beginning to emerge. Leading WiFi network providers including Cisco (News - Alert) and Aruba have developed robust application programming interfaces that allow third-party software vendors to integrate their applications with the Wi-Fi network’s control software. These APIs make it possible to add E911 protection through special software that can track Wi-Fi phones in real-time and provide emergency responders with their specific location in the event of a 911 call.

Enterprises can now deploy Wi-Fi handsets with confidence knowing that the E911 issue can be solved in an automated, integrated manner.

Nick Maier is senior vice president of RedSky (News - Alert) Technologies (

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Edited by Stefania Viscusi