The vision of a single affordable network for both voice and data came a step closer with the launch of Cisco's convergence package, according to industry analysts.
Using a single network to carry voice and data offers greater simplicity and reduced cost, said Steve Cramoysan, principal analyst at Dataquest. However, until recently, users could only use expensive proprietary technology to achieve this goal.
Cramoysan claims Cisco's launch of version two of its network convergence package, Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data (AVVID2), will open IP networks. It will also bring down the costs for users by encouraging third-party suppliers to develop network-independent applications.
Converged networks carry voice, data and video over a single IP network, meaning only one wire is needed to the desktop. Traditionally, infrastructure managers have been cynical of converged networks, concerned about reliability and quality of sound produced. Telephone networks have become so reliable that loss of service is seen as unacceptable. However, LANs have not reached this level of reliability.
Paul di Leo, Cisco's EMEA operations director for enterprise, said that the new product offered high availability through using distributing call-processing servers throughout the network. The new product is scalable to support large enterprises with up to 100,000 users and can be integrated with legacy systems, so users do not have to transfer all their systems to a LAN immediately.
Cramoysan adds he is watching to see whether Cisco can deliver in the voice market, not traditionally its area of expertise. "It has so far given us some confidence that it is going in the right direction."