Despite promises of streamlined efficiency and ease of convergence, network managers are discovering that running voice calls over the data network is rarely simple.
To help the growing number of businesses turning to IP telephony, vendors are adding functions to make VOIP (voice over IP) management easier, and theyre adding services for enterprises that cant make VOIP work on their own.
Avaya Inc., which has been selling IP telephony systems for three years, this week at the VoiceCon conference in Orlando, Fla., will unveil its Enterprise Service Platform to give customers the option of letting the vendor remotely monitor the network on a subscription basis. Avayas Secure Intelligent Gateway connects the vendors network operations center to the customers site, providing a simultaneous view of voice and data streams.
Enterprises can supplement their management expertise with Avayas monitoring service or turn over the entire responsibility to the vendor. The service is priced on a per-month, per-IP-endpoint basis and can be bought in one- or three-year increments.
In Avayas view, the managed services are a short-term fix until greater expertise in managing converged networking permeates IT departments. "We believe over time our customers will do these things for themselves," said Steve Yager, director of remote network operations at Avaya, in Basking Ridge, N.J.
As a further illustration of the widespread need for better IP management tools, Qovia Inc. is launching this week a Powered by Qovia program that will give its VOIP partners a smoother way to improve the administration and control of their products.
As IP telephony installations scale up, fine-tuning network performance becomes critical. Qovia, of Frederick, Md., champions its VOIP management technology as a de facto standard, and partners will be able to embed components of its code into their products or rebrand Qovias software.
Meanwhile, Ottawa-based Mitel Networks Corp. this week will unveil the Navigator, a phonelike bar designed to fit between a flat-screen monitor and the desk, to meld IP telephony functions with the desktop PC. Built to make it easier for users to manage their voice and data communications together, the Navigator shows all the buttons of a traditional phone.