Telecom operators' appraisals of convergence are vastly different to those of their users, according to the latest market surveys.
Respondents to reseller Black Box's research gave voice/data integration a definite thumbs down because they are confused about the technology. However, integrator Sema Telecoms claims most telecoms operators believe that IP will be the global telecoms standard by 2004.
Black Box's survey, of 100 IT and network staff in top companies, highlights little knowledge and enthusiasm for voice and data integration.
More than 95 per cent of companies have not yet integrated. Most say full integration will take about four years and almost 10 per cent believe this will never change, the survey said.
One third did not know what integration is. More than half could not name a single manufacturer or supplier of voice/data integration products.
Patrick Hudgell, Black Box's technical director, said: "With voice over Frame Relay, voice over IP, time division multiplexing, ATM and various other technologies all being promoted as voice/data integration, it's not surprising users are confused."
But while many network managers moaned about suffering from a lack of bandwidth, many said that voice and data integration is not the answer.
On the other hand, Sema's Vision Report, which included responses from 75 mobile and fixed line telcos, found that 25 per cent of carriers predicted that the majority of their voice traffic will be carried over IP by 2004. More than 40 per cent believe that more than half their data traffic will be carried by IP within five years.
In the UK itself, however, the figures were lower. Only 41 per cent said their data traffic will be carried by IP and 20 per cent said IP would carry their voice traffic.
Operators also believe that the demand for Internet services will grow more rapidly than demand for other services.
For more stories see this week's issue of Network News UK
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