Cisco, Siemens, Avaya Plan SIP Support for VOIP

Cisco, Siemens and Avaya plan to introduce SIP support within their VOIP call processing systems next year.

Cisco Systems Inc., Siemens Enterprise Networks LLC and Avaya Inc. each plan to introduce SIP support within their respective VOIP call processing systems next year.

The enhancements go beyond the most current Session Initiation Protocol support found in IP phones, network gateways and service provider equipment, and they should enhance the interoperability of voice-over-IP systems and open them to third-party applications.

SIP is a standard for handling signaling in VOIP to establish, route and terminate sessions, something now done through proprietary vendor protocols in VOIP and PBX systems.

"Its simple and nonproprietary and more flexible [than other standards], so we believe SIP is the future," said Michael Gentry, senior technical director and chief engineer at the U.S. Army Signal Command, in Fort Huachuca, Ariz. Gentry said SIP is a requirement for any implementation of VOIP for the Army because the military needs open systems that dont lock it into a specific vendor.

Cisco, of San Jose, Calif., plans to add a SIP interface into its CallManager call processing software next year, officials said. That step would provide more enterprise support for VOIP, since the company so far has concentrated its efforts at service providers.

Separately, Siemens plans to launch a SIP Internetworking Service for its line of HiPath communication servers for IP telephony next spring, said company officials in San Jose.

The service will be available for the HiPath 3000 and 5000 series and support SIP end points such as IP phones or PCs. Siemens plans to offer the service for the HiPath 4000 and offer system-to-system SIP support later, but officials wouldnt specify a time frame.

Avaya, of Basking Ridge, N.J., will begin customer trials of SIP-enabled IP phones and desktop software in the fall and plans to add the support into those products by late next year, officials said. Along with the phones, the company plans to add SIP support into the Avaya MultiVantage call processing software used in its Definity IP-enabled servers and other IP telephony systems.

While many analysts and users are bullish on SIP, the protocol has yet to gain widespread support and adoption. SIPs potential is attractive to enterprises such as APL Ltd., which wants to connect systems from various vendors.

"Each is an island unto itself because of proprietary protocols," said David Arbo, global network architect, in Oakland, Calif. "For a global company like ourselves, wed like solutions to be more transparent around the globe."

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