Picking up the IP phone
"Industry survey"Miercom's research shows that in the past year stand-alone IP phones (as opposed to those that are sold exclusively with a vendor's IP PBX system) are beginning to make their mark on the voice-over-IP scene.
These are not an integral part of any particular vendor's voice-over-IP complete system and will reportedly work with one or more third-party products, such as voice-over-IP gateways and IP PBXs. Two vendors that are making a name in this new market segment are Pingtel and Symbol Technologies. Our research found considerable voice-over-IP interoperability work going on between these two IP phone vendors and other voice-over-IP vendors. A number of the IP PBX and gateway vendors we've tested do not offer any type of IP phone, and many are looking to outside sources to supply them. But the key is that the phones be fully interoperable with the IP PBX or gateway.
Pingtel's xpresssa phone is a hardware-based product, while its instant xpressa is a soft-phone application. Both products support G.711 encoding and obtain in-line power from a Category 5 connection and RJ-45 jack or via a separate, local AC/DC plug-in transformer. Based on the Session Initiative Protocol standard, Pingtel officials say the company has made notable progress in achieving interoperability with vendors including Cisco, Ericsson, Nuera, Sonus Networks, Tellabs/Salix, ipVerse, Vsys and others. Symbol's NetVision Phone is a voice-over-IP handset based on the H.323 standard. Its NetVision Data Phone, also based on H.323, is used on wireless LANs. These hardware-based phones are powered by rechargeable batteries. Symbol's interoperability partners include Cisco, Ericsson, Mitel, Motorola, Nortel Networks and VegaStream.
Other vendors within the new stand-alone IP-phone category include Cirilium, e-tel Corporation, Innomedia, MCK Communications, Mediagate, Oki Networks, Siemens, TEK Digitel, Telogy, Trillium, VocalData and Net2Phone.