Nortel has bolstered its Internet Protocol (IP) offering by repackaging its products under a different banner and introduced a method for carriers to bypass payment of incumbents for local access.
The move follows Nortel's $9.1 billion acquisition of Bay Networks. At the time, Nortel chief executive John Roth said the combination of Nortel and Bay would bring about networks that carry voice, data and video across local area networks, wide area networks and carrier backbones. Bay's enterprise networks arm would be absorbed into Nortel's IP operation (PC Dealer, 24 June).
Nortel's IP Connect attempts to help carriers position the technology as a service that offers a range of features rather than merely peddling the cheap calls angle.
Nortel said it will be offering services such as internet call waiting, internet fax and virtual desktops, which will be supported by a family of IP gateways to link corporate IP networks with the voice infrastructure.
An IP Connect gatekeeper offers dialled directory numbers to IP address mapping, directory assistance and gateway resource allocation.
Among the initial applications launched will be the I Tone fax over IP; Voice Button, which enables surfers to connect to a help desk by clicking an icon on a company's Website; and Internet Call Waiting, which offers callers a range of options via their PCs.
Virtual IP Networking enables carriers to sell IP-based virtual private networks (VPNs) that can carry voice and data. About 5,000 VPNs can be managed on one Nortel Passport 7400 or 6400 switch. Customers' existing data infrastructure can still be used to carry data traffic.
The technology is aimed at IP tunnelling, which is being used by network hardware suppliers, including Cisco and 3Com, to enable secure virtual connections.
Nortel said carrying voice over IP can enable operators to bypass having to pay incumbent operators to access their local networks. This can account for up to 30 per cent of the operator's revenues.
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