IBM making noise in voice-over-IP market

www.nwfusion.com |  Networking

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - IBM's Networking Hardware Division apparently
doesn't believe that integrating SNA and IP is enough -- the group is also looking to
help customers run voice over their IP networks.

The company plans to attack the voice-over-data market by adding support for voice
traffic to its existing access devices, routers and other gear, IBM officials say. The
support will come in the form of new adapter cards and common code upgrades to be
delivered over the next 12 months.

Converging voice and data traffic onto the same network can save customers money and
simplify net management, proponents say.

IBM officials expect the market for voice-over-data products to be worth as much as
$2 billion over the next three years, and the company wants a piece of the action.

The company has obtained H.323-based voice-over-IP technology through its
acquisition of Databeam. The technology will be implemented into the software running
on IBM's 2216 SNA/IP routing devices, 2212 access products, 2210 IP routers and other
products.

Under an agreement with Nuera Communications, IBM has also acquired technology
needed to deliver voice-over-data modules for its various network devices. The modules
will be available later this month and can be used for running voice over frame relay.
Later this year, IBM will use the same modules for voice-over-IP traffic.

IBM's voice-over-data products will largely be aimed at enterprises looking to run
voice over data networks extending to remote offices, says Ron Suciu, a marketing
manager at IBM.

The company also plans to integrate any new voice-over-data technologies with
existing IBM policy and bandwidth management technologies. Such management technologies
can be used to give voice traffic priority over less delay-sensitive traffic.

IBM is not eyeing the market for big convergence devices designed to run in carrier
networks.

However, the company plans to provide voice/data boxes to service providers under
OEM agreements. The providers will then install the boxes at customer sites as part of
managed service offerings.

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