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The Ever Growth of VoIP

In 2006, more than 66% of the Global 2000 companies will implement VoIP. At present there are close to 400 VoIP only providers in the US and even network vendors, including the RBOCs are now providing IP options. Cost reduction achieved by running voice traffic on packet-switched networks is the main reason for companies switching over to VoIP.

Savings on toll-charges, shifting, operating expenses are possible with VoIP. However, it must be borne in mind that the capital cost of IP applications is not very low, even if the VoIP network is hosted by a third party, it does not automatically translate into savings. New applications such as unified messaging and instant messaging can be implemented in a smooth manner by converging voice and data networks. This is a big reason for companies to migrate to IP-driven networks.

The advantages offered by the new applications and improvements in IP PBXs resulting in better security and QoS are an attraction for many companies. These developments, which keep cost in mind, are helping in bridging the disconnect between customer needs and vendor marketing, which had occurred initially because vendors approached the issue of VoIP adoption from a technology perspective.

To encourage companies to adopt VoIP without losing out on their investment in the existing systems, vendors are offering hybrid IP systems that allow a gradual convergence. Thus, companies need not wait for their existing equipment to come to the end of its life-cycle. In Illinois, the village of Lombard deployed an IP telephony network purchased from Cisco. The network consisted of Cisco switches, unity voice mail, dual Call managers and around 240 IP phones. The village has around 42,000 residents and has used the IP system to connect the Village Hall, the police station, fire station and the water works department. The village of Lombardy is an example of a community or organization that wants to do away with its existing system and is in a good position to employ VoIP from scratch.

In order to achieve a truly converged network, network monitoring and balancing of the traffic need to be managed. To this end, the enhanced remote monitoring diagnostics offered by Avaya should be of help. The migration to a VoIP-enabled network should happen on a large scale in the next few years because the existing networks installed around the year 2000 will be coming to the end of their lifecycle. The onus is on the IP- systems vendors to ensure that the transition for its customers is as smooth as possible.

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