ComNet shines spotlight on voice over IP

By Jennifer Jones, InfoWorld |  Networking

WORLDCOM this week will hustle to prove it is the first major telecom provider to pay serious attention to the enterprise's stepped-up interest in migrating to VOIP (voice over IP), a technology now moving swiftly beyond just lower long-distance bills.

At the ComNet 2001 trade show in Washington, WorldCom officials will detail an "aggressive trend toward voice-enabled networks," said one source at the Clinton, Miss.-based carrier.

ComNet targets networks

-- Brian Fonseca

A top issue at this week's ComNet Expo and Conference in Washington will be the need to improve user interaction with network infrastructure, according to Bill Gassman, senior research analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner.

Gassman said much attention will be given to discovering how switches and routers move data between servers and users and how that information is correlated. "[ComNet] is where users have to look for vendors that can depict that typology," Gassman said. "That's a major problem for users, and it's something they're willing to spend money on."

One company hoping to address the dilemma is Avaya Communication. The Basking Ridge, N.J.-based company will use ComNet to launch the Cajun P882 MultiService Backbone Switch and CajunRules 2.0 policy manager.

Gassman noted that OSS (operational support systems) are being targeted by MSPs (management service providers) and will be prevalent at ComNet.

Concord Communications, in Marlboro, Mass., will introduce its OSS integration and support for DSL and IP VPN services product, Ehealth SPV 4.8, according to Concord officials.

The areas of Web analytics and QoS (quality of service) management will also be hot topics at the show, Gassman added.

A smattering of other vendors, including hardware makers and network management companies, are also expected to unfurl VOIP-related wares at ComNet.

Many of those vendors are rushing to provide solutions to service providers that eagerly want to sell combined voice and data offerings in an effort to lure business customers away from larger carriers.

For instance, Vina Technologies will debut its bolstered MX-400 VOIP platform, a broadband hardware device equipped with software that allows service providers to move toward the delivery of VOIP services without having to endure invasive changes or forklift upgrades.

In fact, WorldCom's VOIP move may come just as they and the other major carriers begin to lose VOIP ground to upstart service providers, noted enterprise user Louis Campbell, who is IT director at Durango, Colo.-based Sports Express, which ships sports equipment to vacationers.

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