As network equipment buyers and vendors gather this week at the Networld+Interop (N+I) conference, both camps will have a special type of convergence on their minds: sending voice and data as IP packets over a single network.
Networking juggernauts Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks are targeting corporate users with the products they have put on display at the Las Vegas event. Meanwhile, competitor 3Com, has already successfully bagged many small and midsize operations with offerings it is touting at the show.
Cisco couldn't wait for N+I to release new product information and announced a system last week that would put a subset of its Call Manager software on its routers or switches at branch offices, eliminating the need for a Call Manager server at each site.
Nortel officials were mum about the IP telephony announcements they planned to make at N+I. But in response to Cisco's announcement, a Nortel spokesman countered that the voice-over-IP features Cisco is introducing, such as unified messaging, are already built into Nortel's existing IP telephone system.