Recent product announcements and vendor-development plans illustrate how Voice over IP is expanding its capabilities and reach. Resellers in the VoIP space say demand for the technology is picking up across the board, especially in the enterprise.
"A lot of companies with old phone systems are ready for upgrades," says Don Wisdom, president of Datalink Networks, a systems integrator in Valencia, Calif., that partners with Avaya, Cisco and other networking vendors.
New VoIP-related announcements, in fact, have been hitting the news wires every week. A recent sampling includes an alliance between 3Com and Texas Instruments in which the networking vendor selected TI's TNETV1050 IP phone-system-on-a-chip for 3Com's next-generation enterprise IP phones. The new phones will be designed for both the low- and high-end enterprise markets. The TI system features robust echo cancellers--audio feedback has been a common problem in early VoIP installations--plus TI's architecture will allow 3Com to map additional functionality into its IP phones as demand dictates. 3Com's IP phones also use TI's Power-over-Ethernet technology.
Another company targeting the VoIP market is Accton Technology, this time for videoconferencing applications. Last month, the Taiwanese company unveiled its V2fone technology, to be used between enterprises or deployed by carriers that will use it to provide videophone service to their customers. The V2fone is designed for one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many video and voice-conferencing situations. Accton says that its technology maintains "near DVD-class video with less latency," and can be used through a 56-K modem or DSL while allowing no visible disruption, with voice-packet losses up to 40 percent and video-packet losses up to 30 percent. Accton is rolling out the solution with a range of server and client products.