IP telephony - Sponsored Whitepaper

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Iwatsu America, Inc
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The convergence of voice and data networks has begun to drive radical changes in the development and delivery of products for the small and medium-sized business enterprise. The absolute goal of these developments is to someday create a single network fabric over which both voice and data are delivered seamlessly and effectively to any type of communication device. Today we are at the beginning stages of this drive toward convergence. Convergence exists as an idea in principle, but applications that currently attempt to unify traditional circuit switched networks with modern packet-switched networks provide limited advantages and a constricted scope for growth. However, it is important to consider the ways in which these products will evolve into solutions that provide meaningful business advantages.

Recent trends in the telecommunications industry have focused on the development of “IP Telephony” systems and applications. Typically, the term “IP Telephony” refers to the delivery of voice over an IP network. The IP network can be as encompassing as a company like AT&T, Level 3 or MCI's network backbone, or as remote as the single-server local area network (LAN) inside an enterprise such as a small business. From the end user's point of view, an IP Telephone System (also commonly called a LAN PBX, Communications Server, or IP System) will not only allow the transmission of voice and data traffic over a single LAN infrastructure, it will also radically affect the way in which their voice communications system is deployed and maintained, as well as change the way in which it interacts with their data servers.

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Addressing Convergence and IP Telephony in Enterprise Communications Page 2

IP Telephony Solutions are relatively new to the industry. The first wave of IP Telephony development, which began in about 1997, was the introduction of IP Gateways for the Enterprise PBX or Key System. The second wave was the introduction of IP-based Telephone Systems in late-1998. An IP-based Telephone Station on these systems looks identical to a digital telephone, except that the voice is packetized and sent directly over the LAN via an Ethernet connection. While these early products have offered a glimpse at the potential of IP Telephony, they do not measure up to the standards for reliability, regulatory requirements, and feature functionality established by the traditional PBX and Key System.
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