The SIP Forum Launches SIPconnect; New Initiative Designed to Enable Enterprise to Service Provider SIP Connectivity

The SIP Forum today announced the completion of a new initiative to streamline how service providers and their enterprise customers leverage interactive IP communications services and solutions. Developed by The SIP Forum's Technical Work Group, this new industry recommendation, termed SIPconnect, is designed to directly tie enterprise customers to VoIP service providers using an end-to-end IP connection.

SIPconnect provides detailed instructions and architecture specifications to deliver direct SIP connectivity with VoIP service providers to ensure consistent quality-of-service, low cost and full-featured telephony for SIP-based VoIP calls.

"Today, calls originating from a SIP-based enterprise VoIP network are converted to circuit-switched networks and in many cases converted back to VoIP again when routed onward," said Jay Batson, managing director and chairman of the SIP Forum. "Clearly, this is not an ideal situation as it adversely effects quality and limits the telephony/multimedia features that service providers can offer to VoIP-enabled enterprises."

The SIPconnect draft identifies the functionalities required to create the requisite SIP connectivity. Based on IETF SIP building blocks, the SIPconnect draft addresses architecture specifications and SIP methods, including usage profiles and implementation instructions. Additional areas covered include security, multimedia management, fax/modem transmissions, echo cancellation, DTMF tones, quality-of-service, and NAT traversal.

"VoIP trunking services offer enterprises a tremendous opportunity to drive down telecom costs," said Irwin Lazar, principal analyst and program director, Collaboration and Convergence at Nemertes Research. "This recommendation from the SIP Forum fills a standards hole that will enable vendors and service providers to respond to enterprises clamoring for these savings."

The SIPconnect initiative has already been embraced by key industry players such as Avaya, Cbeyond and Cisco Systems. Companies that contributed to drafting SIPconnect's detailed instructions and architecture specifications include: Acme Packet, Avaya, Broadsoft, Cbeyond, Cisco Systems, Inter-Tel, Mitel Networks, NeuStar, Nortel Networks, RADVISION, Siemens AG, SIP Edge LLC, Pulver.com, Talkswitch, Tello Corp., Xit Telecom and others, according to Batson. "SIPconnect represents a great milestone for the industry, and will further the progress of bridging the islands of SIP networks," he said.

"Acme Packet's support of SIPconnect grew out of our session border controller's role in securely bridging enterprise and service provider networks," said Seamus Hourihan, vice president of marketing and product management for Acme Packet. "This specification will bring service providers and their enterprise customers the benefits of reduced costs, better call quality and the feature richness of VoIP connections."

"SIPconnect is a natural extension to Avaya's SIP trunking offer," said Anwar Siddiqui, technical manager at Avaya's office of the CTO. "We support SIPconnect's capability to help enterprise customers peer with enterprises, and VoIP service providers to provide additional cost savings."

"At BroadSoft, we see SIP trunking making significant gains as enterprises adopt this avenue to IP communications," said Scott Wharton, vice president of marketing for BroadSoft. "Our commitment to this standards-based approach is evident in our deployment with numerous IP PBXs."

"We are huge proponents of the new SIP Forum recommendation as it ensures a consistent, high quality-of-service that is cost-effective for our customers," said Chris Gatch, chief technology officer at Cbeyond. "Additionally, we have already begun to see the benefits of the SIP Forum's work through the increased compatibility of IP PBXs with our BeyondVoice(TM) with SIPconnect service, an integrated package of voice, mobile and broadband services that we offer to our small business customers."

About The SIP Forum

The SIP Forum is leading numerous industry activities that promote SIP technology, such as industry recommendations for development of a SIP Phone, SIPit interoperability events and general promotion of SIP in the industry. For more information visit: http://www.sipforum.org and http://www.sipconnect.info.

About Acme Packet

Acme Packet, the leader in session border control solutions, enables service providers to deliver trusted, first class interactive communications--voice, video and multimedia sessions--across IP network borders. Our Net-Net family has been selected by over 295 service providers, including 21 of the top 25 wireline and wireless providers in the world, to satisfy critical security, service assurance and regulatory requirements in wireline, cable and wireless networks. These deployments support multiple applications--from VoIP trunking to hosted enterprise and residential services; multiple protocols--SIP, H.323, MGCP/NCS and H.248; and multiple border points--interconnect, access network and data center. For more information, contact us at +1 781.328.4400, or visit: www.acmepacket.com.

About Avaya

Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than one million businesses worldwide, including over 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500(R). Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is a world leader in secure and reliable Internet protocol (IP) telephony systems and communications software applications and services. Driving the convergence of voice and data communications with business applications and distinguished by comprehensive worldwide services, Avaya helps customers leverage existing and new networks to achieve superior business results. For more information, visit: www.avaya.com.

About BroadSoft

BroadSoft's VoIP application software is revolutionizing the delivery of hosted telephony and multimedia services. Its flagship BroadWorks technology empowers wireless, wireline and cable carriers to deliver next-generation voice and multimedia applications and advanced features that increase revenue, enhance competitive differentiation and elevate customer satisfaction. BroadSoft's family of carrier-class software products delivers the scale, open architecture and reliability that the world's leading telecommunications companies demand to serve mission-critical enterprise and residential broadband customers. BroadSoft provides VoIP applications to six of the top 10, and 11 of the top 25 largest carriers worldwide, including BellSouth, Korea Telecom, Singtel, Telefonica de Espana, Telstra, T-Systems, Verizon and XO Communications. For more information, visit: www.broadsoft.com

About Cbeyond

Cbeyond (NASDAQ: CBEY) is an Atlanta-based managed services provider that delivers integrated packages of voice, mobile and broadband services to small businesses in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston and Los Angeles. Cbeyond offers core communications services such as local and long-distance voice, mobile and broadband Internet access along with enhanced applications, including voicemail, email, Web hosting, fax-to-email, data backup, file-sharing, VPN and more. Cbeyond manages these services over a private, 100-percent Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) facilities-based network. For more information on Cbeyond, visit: www.cbeyond.net.

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