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Cisco Takes A Telephony SIP

Computer-networking equipment maker Cisco Systems is looking ahead to the day when talking over the Internet (also known as voice over IP or telephony) is very common place.

To help its customers bring these features to market faster and cheaper, Cisco Monday says it is now offering a batch of VoIP products that take advantage of SIP.

Short for Session Initiated Protocol, or Session Initiation Protocol, SIP is a signaling protocol for Internet conferencing, telephony, presence, events notification and instant messaging. The protocol initiates call setup, routing, authentication and other feature messages to endpoints within an IP domain.

With its foundation in Internet protocols, SIP enhances the ability to integrate voice with Internet-based services -- making it a natural choice for service providers who want to develop and install new applications in less time and at a lower cost than traditional telephony services.

The new Cisco SIP-enabled product line includes the new Cisco SIP Proxy Server and SIP-support in Cisco's industry-leading voice gateways, including the AS5000 Universal Gateways, the Cisco 2600 and 3600 Series Routers, the voice capable models of the Cisco 1700 Series Routers, Cisco IP Phones and Cisco ATA 186 Analog Telephone Adaptor, Cisco BTS 10200 softswitch and Cisco PGW 2200, and the Cisco PIX firewall.

"Cisco's multi-protocol packet voice strategy includes support for SIP, and we believe the promise of SIP has become a reality," says Cisco voice technology group VP and general manager Lou Santora.

Santora says by adding support for SIP, Cisco allows its service provider customers to take advantage of the strengths of multiple call signaling protocols, including SIP, H.323 and MGCP.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco also says it has three partners that have already thrown its SIP

deltathree , TalkingNets, and Vonage say they are now offering their customers voice services using Cisco SIP-enabled products.

"We have built our network utilizing state-of-the-art voice applications and IP technology, and as a Cisco Powered Network service provider, our customers will benefit from the functionality and economics of our converged services," says TalkingNets vice president of marketing Mark Cortner. "With our converged, SIP-based WAN architecture, TalkingNets can deliver communications services at disruptively lower capital and operating costs that can't be matched by yesterday's circuit-switched and narrowband service provider PSTN networks."