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Voice IP networks gather momentum

IDC’s 2003 European WAN manager survey revealed that 12% of respondents had integrated their voice and data traffic. An additional 33% planned to do so in the next three years.

Voice over IP networks are at long last moving from hype to reality in the European market. IDC’s 2003 European WAN manager survey revealed that 12% of respondents had integrated their voice and data traffic.

An additional 33% planned to do so in the next two or three years.

The survey also showed a slight increase in the deployment of hybrid IP PBXs to 7.8%. A 0.6% climb on last year.

The availability of cheaper bandwidth in local access connections, due to broadband rollout and declines in leased line prices, is one of the key drivers of European WAN managers' interest in new applications such as VoIP.

Growth in deployment of IP virtual private networks is also another major factor — 53% of companies surveyed said they used an IP VAN service, an increase of 30% on the previous year.

Other trends highlighted in the survey, include the growing awareness to new technologies, such as metro Ethernet, broadband access, wireless local area networks and desktop video conferencing. More respondents indicated that they were either using these technologies or planned to in the future.

Also, more companies are looking to outsource WAN functions, such as IP VAN management, voice/data integration and equipment management.

In contrast to the frugal investment environment of the last two years, the report highlighted that cost control and/or reduction is less important to survey respondents than they were in 2002.

Instead, there appears to be a renewed focus on improving WAN performance and security, while simultaneously maintaining sufficient control of the network.

“While it has been another grim year in the European telecoms sector, this survey shows some encouraging signs that recovery may be on the horizon,” says Jill Finger Gibson, program manager, IDC’s European Telecommunications Services group.

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