RealTime IT News

SIP-Shape VoIP

Nortel and Texas Instruments are teaming to improve the interoperability of Voice over Internet Protocol equipment, the companies announced at the Supercomm trade show in Chicago today.

The network gear maker and chip and software giant hope to increase the adoption of services based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), a signaling protocol for Internet conferencing, telephony, presence, events notification and instant messaging.

SIP initiates call setup, routing, authentication and other feature messages to endpoints within an IP domain. Nortel has been active in SIP standards groups for about four years.

TI will adapt its designs to work with Nortel Networks' multimedia communications portfolio, including the Multimedia Communication Server (MCS) 5100 and 5200.

In addition, the Dallas company will integrate the MCS platform into its system test lab to test its Telogy Software for VoIP with the MCS, thereby shortening design time.

Manufacturers use chips and software from TI to develop connected products, such as VoIP Gateways, IP phones, cable and DSL modems that send real-time voice, fax and data over packet networks (IP and ATM).

Nortel also reached out to other manufacturers for its SIP initiative.

Uniden America Corp., a maker of wireless phone systems, and VoIP gear maker i3 Micro Technology, have pledged compatibility with Nortel's MCS SIP specification.

And Polycom is implementing MCS SIP compatibility on its line of Polycom VSX video conferencing systems, its MGC voice and video conference bridges and on its series of SoundPoint IP desktop phones.

Ultimately, the interoperability of equipment, such as phones, with on-site VoIP equipment and network infrastructure will allow service providers to lay out a range of choices for consumers, small and medium businesses and enterprise customers, Nortel said.

"Our expectation is that some of the [compatible products] will begin rolling out in the third quarter, with most of the volume in the fourth quarter," Jenifer Maryak, Nortel's director of VoIP and multimedia marketing, told internetnews.com.

There are additional equipment makers in the pipeline, as well. Maryak expects 30 to 40 to be in Nortel's SIP-compatible program by year's end.

For TI, it's the latest move to gain a foothold in the burgeoning VoIP market. Earlier this year, the company struck a pact with VoIP upstart Vonage to make it easier for manufacturers to build devices for Vonage's service.

The companies said they would share code and design information with each other, and ultimately with manufacturers, simplifying the design and production of laptops, phones and other devices that can be used with Vonage's Voice-over broadband IP service

TI already provides chips and software for about 80 percent of the VoIP gateways and IP phones under development, according to an In-Stat/MDR report.

Although the market for VoIP equipment and devices is still developing, and will lag for several years behind circuit-switched equipment sales, VoIP chip revenue will rise from $54.9 million in 2002, to $141.1 million in 2007, according to the tech research firm.