VeriSign Inc., well-positioned to exploit its history in network routing and security solutions, is addressing the voice-over-IP interoperability problem in its new IP Connect suite of services for enterprises.
The launch, announced at the Fall 2004 VON Conference & Expo in Boston on Monday, is aimed at letting companies exploit the economies and utilities of VOIP beyond their own LAN or WAN, and exchange voice traffic across a range of firewalls with sites that might use different VOIP protocols.
VeriSigns Network Routing Directory is the key IP registry supporting this service, said Tom Kershaw, vice president of VOIP services at VeriSign. "Through our [pre-existing] directory services, we run directories for .com and .net under DNS. Thats a good part of the master addressing for the Internet," he said. "Just as you type whatever.com and that resolves to the Internet address of a Web server, we apply that same logic to VOIP. So now you dial a phone number, and well map that to a destination IP address."
The other pieces of IP Connect are protocol translation and security.
VeriSigns network routing directory supports SIP, SS7 (the routing protocol used by legacy, circuit-switched networks) and ENUM (Enhanced Telephone Number Mapping), an evolving standard for resolving telephone numbers into IP addresses. Along with best-route information, directory access comes with the ability to enforce rules and policy, and perform protocol translations. It also allows VOIP calls to be routed between carriers, within carriers, according to application location, and among enterprises and even consumers.
While the initial application for this service is unifying the internal VOIP traffic of multisite businesses with a heterogeneous collection of PBXs, VeriSign hopes, as it builds more and more subscribers into its directory, to see it extended between businesses and partners, suppliers and customers. This latest release builds upon an identical IP Connect service thus far offered to carriers, to hand traffic off without recourse to PSTN intermediate gatewaying.
Companies subscribing to IP Connect will require the installation of a VeriSign appliance at their network edge, to be managed by VeriSign. This normalizes all signaling and voice traffic to a SIP standard. The service, now being trialed by Internap Network Services, will be offered with flat-rate subscription fees.
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