Jumping into the voip fray, SBC Communications Inc. has expanded its IP-based services to include a network-based IP VPN and a hosted voice-over-IP service.
SBCs hosted service, which will be available nationwide by the end of next year, includes consolidated voice mail and e-mail, and conferencing and plug and play features, said SBC officials, in San Antonio.
Like other vendors, SBC is concentrating on systems that provide a gradual migration, since high-priced VOIP telephones and the need for unwieldy redundancy are keeping some enterprises from implementing converged voice/data networks.
TIB Transportation Insurance Brokers Inc. replaced a frame relay network with a managed IP VPN service from SBC about two years ago. The next step will be to converge voice onto the network, said Eddie Huerta, MIS manager at TIB, in Glendale, Calif., but the company isnt ready for that yet.
"Our equipment is capable of adding modules for the voice portion because eventually we want to get there," Huerta said. "But IP telephones are not quite there yet."
SBC configured TIBs IP VPN, developed the security measures and manages the offering, making it a convenient way for the company to migrate toward IP networking. As the sole IT professional in charge of about 85 workstations and 13 servers, Huerta said he appreciated not having to purchase and configure the IP VPN equipment on his own.
The SBC IP VPN service provides about twice the bandwidth of the frame relay network for about half the cost, Huerta said. It has proved as reliable, if not more reliable, than the frame relay network, he said, adding that a recent upgrade increased the bandwidth and provided a service-level agreement with a 4-hour repair or replace clause.
While he hasnt tested the new network-based IP VPN service from SBC, Huerta said that would be the logical next step. "I think it would improve SBCs capability to serve us because they would be in control of the equipment. They would have the majority of the equipment in their facilities," he said.