Racal Telecom this week became the first UK telco to launch a commercial integrated IP service.
It said that by using its Onelink service to send and receive voice and data services over a single pipe medium and large corporates will be able to cut between 24 per cent and 40 per cent off wide area communication bills.
However, Bhwani Shankar, senior analyst at Gartner Group said: "Corporates have become sceptical of carriers and vendors. They've put a lot of money into technologies like ATM and Frame Relay over the years so they would need to be sure of the operational benefits before they go ripping out their networks."
Although Racal insists that companies would just need to put a router onto the edge of the Lan, Shankar argued: "It's not going to be as simple as that because it relies on proprietary systems. Companies will have to slave over interoperability themselves. They'd need a convincing migration path before they go for it."
Keith Dewar, Racel's director of products and services, said: "You need more justification for using IP than following fashion. As well as reducing the phonebill you'll also need fewer resources to manage the network. Also, on the security side we'll be able to offer PKI certifications."
Martin Lea, Racal's manging director, added: "IP strategy will be fundamental in the future for the success of telecoms companies because it's overtaking circuit switched voice as we speak."
The service uses Cisco's IP routers in its network and at the customer premises it will offer integrated product bundles including voice, data, fax, Internet and multimedia at fixed tariffs. To do this it is upgrading its existing nationwide SDH banckbone by using dense wave division multiplexing and implementing IP at the core of the network.
The service will be based on Ipv4 which provides six classes of service enabling the network to prioritise voice over data in order to maintain voice quality.
Racal was also able to announce its first customer for the service. Electrical retailers Miller Brothers will use Onelink to connect its 27 stores and its headquarters.
It is currently using on-net voice and on-net fax and it will eventually link to the Internet and the PSTN network through Onelink. One of the applications it will use will be audio multi-cast of sales promotions for in store playback.
John Sad, Miller Brothers' executive director, said that he'd cut 20 per cent of the total telecom bill by going to IP.
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