While many network administrators struggle to get greater value from their remote office data connections, there is now a way to transmit voice over legacy IP networks without a hardware upgrade.
V/IP phone/fax IP gateway, from British developer Micom Communications, takes voice and fax transmissions from a PABX and converts them to IP for transmission via any router. Micom claims companies can thus reduce long distance phone bills without replacing their legacy WAN or PABX hardware.
V/IP's main component is a PC add-in card, the number required being determined by the expected call volume. As it sends out standard IP to the router, Micom promises V/IP will work with any PABX and any router.
Micom director of international marketing Lesley Hansen says because V/IP merely overlays voice over existing networks, apart from its acquisition costs, it is basically free. "You have the potential to cut your intra-company phone costs from your headquarters and your remote sites by 70 to 80 per cent, because you're already paying the tariffs on those data lines," said Hansen. "You're talking about huge savings potential, because you're getting rid of all those long distance calls or fax connections."
For end-users, Hansen says V/IP is practically transparent. "Basically it's not making any change at all to your network, and from a user's point of view, whereas previously you might have dialled "0" for an external PSTN call, now you dial maybe "8". It's using the same dial tone, the same ringing tones, the same busy tones as you got before."
Using a technology called ClearVoice, V/IP is able to deliver 64Kbit/sec voice quality sound at only 8Kbit/sec. While the addition to IP headers adds 9Kbit/sec, Hansen says when silence suppression is introduced this can drop as low as 6Kbit/sec, leaving plenty of bandwidth for traditional data transmission.
Hansen says Micom already holds 44 per cent of the worldwide $600 million sub T1 market with its Marathon voice and data product lines, and has incorporated its experience in this field into V/IP.
And as V/IP can transmit over any IP network, Hansen says it can also transmit over intranets or the Internet, provided sufficient bandwidth can be provided. "We want to go over any IP networks, whether it's a corporate IP network, or an intranet, an the Internet - it doesn't matter. There is no reason you shouldn't be able to use this product over the Internet - the Internet is just a big IP network."
V/IP is currently available through Datacraft, but Micom's Doug Fergusen said wider distribution arrangements are being looked into.
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