Rush to VoIP turns into slow going

Businesses were abuzz about voice over Internet Protocol technology in 2003, announcing new deployments almost daily, but the reality is that the actual work is only just beginning.

Analysts say it could be years before most companies are willing to throw out their old PBX (private branch exchange) phone systems and run end-to-end Internet telephony. And that could mean a slower road to the IP promised-land that Cisco Systems and other IP supporters have been preaching.

"We aren't seeing large enterprises ripping out and replacing old systems with new ones," said Tom Valovic, program director for IP telephony at market researcher IDC.

Most companies are taking a staged approach to their VoIP deployments. Companies using IP-based PBX gear from Cisco Systems or 3Com are often deploying VoIP in limited locations, such as remote or branch offices. Others using an IP-enabled PBX from Alcatel, Avaya, Nortel Networks or Siemens are deploying IP telephones alongside existing digital phones. And some companies are doing a little of both--deploying all Net telephony solutions in some locations, while slowly migrating other offices.

"About 90 percent of the deployments out there with IP-enabled PBXs are using a mix of IP and TDM (time division multiplexing)," said Brian Riggs, principal analyst at Infonetics Research.

News source: CNET News - Rush to VoIP turns into slow going

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