• United States
by Steve Taylor and Larry Hettick

AT&T’s certification of IP PBXs adds credibility

May 07, 20032 mins

* By certifying IP PBX gear, AT&T lends weight to the technology

In the last newsletter we discussed a few of the details of AT&T’s certification of Cisco and Avaya IP PBXs for interoperability with AT&T’s IP services. This time, we want to examine the impact of this announcement.

To us, the major impact is bringing additional credibility to this market. Some of you may remember that back in the early 1990s when AT&T introduced its frame relay service, it wasn’t first to the market. Frame relay was already readily available from CompuServe and WilTel.

But the market really took off after AT&T announced its service, because this gave legitimacy to the concept – and all of a sudden frame relay was on the way to becoming a mainstream service.

Even though it’s arguable whether AT&T still holds such influence as it did 12 years ago, there’s no question that this announcement is important. It’s probably more important for “voice people” than for “data people,” since the more traditional voice administrators tend to be more skeptical about whether voice over IP (VoIP) is ready for prime time.

The bottom line? From a technical perspective, this is not a major milestone. It also doesn’t mean that you’ll save 90% on off-net toll charges. And it doesn’t even start to address full interoperability among VoIP networks. But it’s quite significant in the integration of IP PBXs with WAN voice services – and in the evolution of VoIP from a cool niche technology to a mainstream service.