Business/E-Business
Commentary
8/24/2010
10:48 AM
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AT&T VPN Service Gains Its Voice

Increasingly, companies are building applications that mix data, voice, and video communications. In response, AT&T has enhanced its virtual private network (VPN) service, so it now works with the firm's voice services as well as data offerings.

Increasingly, companies are building applications that mix data, voice, and video communications. In response, AT&T has enhanced its virtual private network (VPN) service, so it now works with the firm's voice services as well as data offerings.The service providerintegrated its VPN services with AT&T IP Flexible Reach, a SIP trunking service that works small and medium business's IP-PBX and AT&T Voice DNA, a hosted network-based service with voice advanced features, applications and management tools. The change enables customers to consolidate their separate voice and data networks, which theoretically should reduce equipment and maintenance costs. Customers can also their networks via AT&T BusinessDirect, a Web-based suite of tools supporting network monitoring, performance optimization, customer service and bill management functions.

Because of its broad reach and well known name, AT&T has been a popular supplier of voice services to small and medium businesses. Recently, the company has been facing significant competition from traditional cable companies. Adding VPN security features to its voice services was a step that AT&T needed to take in order to assuage customers' security concerns.

However, more work is needed. Ideally, businesses want to take advantage of their consolidated data, voice and video by tapping into unified communications applications. AT&T does not currently offer such services but is moving in that direction -- like many other vendors. The VPN enhancement provides them with a necessary security piece for such applications, but the company now needs to layer additional functionality on top of it in order to meet customers' unified communications needs.

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