The Multiservice Switching Forum (MSF) said it was on track to produce a "formal agreement" on how telecoms operators could integrate ATM and IP services into one network by the first quarter of 2000.
The Forum, which has members such as Cisco, Siemens, Lucent and BT, was formed last November to thrash out ways in which carriers could run ATM and IP services on one network rather than two separate ones.
Morgan Littlewood, MSF’s president, said this would reduce the time that they took to deliver new ATM and IP services to between three and six months from up to three years now.
MSF’s aim is to marry the different ATM and IP standards coming out of organisations such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Internet Engineering Taskforce (IETF), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ESTI).
Littlewood said: "One of the reasons the computer industry has surged forward so rapidly is that there are very well defined interoperability standards for interfaces and protocols. Each company can focus on developing the hardware and software pieces that they do best, without having to reengineer large parts of the network with each new product. This improves time to market."
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