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VoIP Options, Adoption Grow Among Small Biz

Telecom vendors have begun to flood the small-business market with voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) products, including some that use Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), a relatively new protocol designed to maximize the potential of relatively new networks built on IP.

The products come as market researcher AMI Partners predicts that as equipment prices continue to fall, voice over IP adoption and usage will gain momentum in the SMB space. In efforts to reduce variable costs without impacting organizational efficiencies, 130,000 U.S. SMBs have adopted VoIP and another 110,000 SMBs plan to do so in the next 12 months, says AMI-Partners.

The new products also come as Verizon announced plans to launch an IP-virtual private network (IP-VPN) that will provide the foundation for the carrier's VoIP. The company said it expects to launch the Web-phoning service later this year. Verizon said the new network construction included the completion of nine regional rings that connect with Verizon's national network. More than 200 routers scattered around 56 urban and regional markets have been installed.

Among the latest product introductions:

AIP Communications, Richardson, Texas, is now shipping its low-cost hybrid VoIP PBX, called iPBX. Designed for the small business and SOHO market, the LAN-based VoIP phones or PC-based soft phones offer rapid installation, the company said.

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