Voice-over-Net Product Shown at CeBIT’97

Posted on July 1, 1997 
Filed Under Julian, Nikkei Electronics Asia

By Julian Matthews

Local networking company Computer Protocol (M) Sdn Bhd has designed an Internet telephony product that greatly reduces long-distance telephone charges for intra-company communications.

Unveiled at CeBIT ‘97 in Hanover, Germany, in March, the new product called CpIP Voice, enables voice and facsimile communication over existing Internet Protocol (IP) networks.

Computer Protocol managing director M C Yong claims CpIP Voice is the first and only voice-over-Internet product of its kind in the world that complies to the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) H.323 and G.723.1 standards.

The H.323 standard defines protocols for transmission of voice, data and video over an IP network, while G.723.1 is a coding method that compresses voice down to 5.3/6.3 kbps.

The ITU standards are endorsed by the Voice Over IP Forum, an influential vendor group founded in May 1996, which is now part of the International Multimedia Teleconferencing Consortium Inc.

Intel Corp, Microsoft Corp and Netscape Communications Corp, all of the US, also support the standards as a baseline platform for PC-based Internet telephony.

“Effectively, CpIP Voice enables companies to create remote extensions of their current phone systems. Users can save thousands of dollars per year in phone charges by using the CpIP Voice gateways,” said Yong.

Also, companies can add voice and fax capabilities to their existing IP networks without having to purchase or lease costly multimedia PCs or separate equipment for such traffic, he added.

The CpIP Voice gateway comprises an interface card and software package which can be installed into a standard 486 PC or workstation running Windows 95 or Windows NT and linked to a company’s local area network (LAN).

The CpIP Voice-enabled PC can then be connected to a single line phone or fax machine, key telephone system or private branch exchange (PBX).

During a fax transmission or voice conversation, the signals will be digitized, compressed and encapsulated into IP packets by the CpIP Voice card, and sent over the LAN to the router.

The router then routes the IP packets as high priority traffic over the wide area network (WAN) to the destination router where the reverse process takes place.

Yong says users of its gateway system have “satisfactory” phone conversations, which may be marred by delays of up to 500ms or more depending on congestion on the Internet.

The CpIP Voice package is presently priced at about US$2,000 for the interface card, software and PC, and supports single or dual channel analog lines with E&M, FXS or FXO telephone interfaces.

“We already have 20 companies who are beta testing the product for use in their networks,” he said.

30 Channels Per Port Planned

Yong says the company was in the process of designing a digital upgrade with T1 and E1 capability that can support up to 30 channels on one physical port. The new version is set to be ready within a year and will be targeted at large, multisited enterprises.

Computer Protocol began initial production of its CpIP Voice cards in April 1997 and hopes to ramp up production to 500 units per month as soon as sales build momentum.

Yong says the company is concentrating on both local and foreign government and corporate markets, where it already has an established presence for its other data communication and networking products.

Although the US and Europe are the biggest market potential for the new product, Yong says the company needs to get type-approval from regulators within those markets.

“We have just started to investigate the approval process within those markets for such products and hope to get certification by October 1997. But our strategy is to first concentrate on those countries that do not need such approval,” he said.

The company is targeting its product for the Asia-Pacific market including Japan and other less developed markets such as Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and South American countries.

Published in Nikkei Electronics Asia, Jly 01, 1997

by Julian Matthews, Malaysian correspondent

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