Betting on VoIP in Vegas

If the string of announcements coming out of the Networld+Interop show currently underway in Las Vegas is any indication, vendors of all stripes are placing their bets on VoIP. 3Com, Siemens, Broadcom, Internap and Aruba Networks were among those issuing press releases at the event that heralded new technologies, services, and solutions for the VoIP market.

3Com announced a new strategic initiative to provide managed service solutions for VoIP. The managed services are intended to help automate service configuration, support as well as elements of implementation for carriers and system integrators. The 3Com managed service solutions will utilize 3Com’s routers and switches for network infrastructure, TippingPoint Intrusion Prevention Systems, and NBX voice solutions. The offering will also utilize management automation technology from Motive Inc. Reduced deployment costs that help to increase service adoption speed are among the benefits promised by 3com for the solutions.

Broadcom Corporation unveiled the BCM5482, a new dual port Gigabit Ethernet transceiver specifically geared for IP phone applications. Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) operates at 1,000 Mbps as opposed to Fast Ethernet which operates at 100 Mbps. The move towards GbE is touted by Broadcom as a solution that will eliminate the bottlenecks of Fast Ethernet by providing increased speed and capacity. The BCM5482 works together with Broadcom’s GbE VoIP phone chip, the BCM1103, which provides QoS, GbE switching and security. (See One Really Fast Phone!)

“IDC forecasts that IP phone shipments will grow at a 42 percent compounded annual growth rate for the time period between 2004 through 2008 as more businesses install these feature-rich and more cost-effective VoIP systems,” said Sean Lavey, Semiconductor Program Manager for IDC in a statement. “With IP phone adoption on the rise, Gigabit Ethernet capabilities inside of these new products will also become a requirement to ensure that this faster speed will be readily available to end users.”

Internap Network Services Corporation announced a new VoIP Control Module (VCM) that provides VoIP route optimization and reporting functionality for its Flow Control Platform (FCP) products. Internap’s Flow Control is an edge-of-network appliance that routes traffic across multiple ISP links in order for load balancing and network optimization. Improved route optimization translates into enhanced call quality in Internap’s view. According to Internap’s own research, “almost half of all VoIP calls sent over default carriers and routes were below acceptable levels of end-user call quality criteria.” Internap claims that its technology could help improve overall call quality, ultimately providing more revenue for service providers. The FCP VCM solution’s reporting module also provides real-time detail on VoIP call traffic and quality.

Wireless VoIP was the subject of an announcement from Aruba Networks. Aruba Networks announced a new personal access point product, the Personal AP that will allow enterprise users to use their VoIP networks wherever they have broadband access, wired or wireless.

According to Aruba, to make the solution work users attach the Aruba Personal AP to any broadband IP connection and then the Aruba’s Personal AP, “automatically builds a secure IPsec tunnel to a central Aruba mobility controller, authenticates, self-configures and begins operation.” The solution is being heralded by Aruba as a way for mobile enterprise VoIP users to take their IP voice handsets outside of the corporate firewall and still have access to the same secure VoIP services.

N+I 2005 continues until May 5th.

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