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Cisco Network Cards Allow Gradual Shift To Voice Over IP

Cisco Systems yesterday unveiled a number of network cardsdesigned to allow voice communication over existing Cisco equipment. The Digital T1/E1 Voice Trunk Network Modules lets Cisco 2600 routers support up to 48 simultaneous voice calls and the 3600 Series support up to 288 simultaneous voice calls. The Digital T1/E1 High-Capacity Voice Port Adapter lets the 7200 Series and 7500 Series support up to 720 simultaneous voice calls.

In addition to voice over IP, the cards let 2600 Series and 3600 Series routers support voice over frame relay and standard nonpacketized voice transmissions, letting IT shops gradually migrate from one technology to the other. Prices for both products range from $7,400 to $23,000. The units are expected to ship next month.

Products that let companies start carrying voice traffic on their data networks often require investments in new networking equipment, according to industry analysts. "VoIP deployment often involves an 'out with the old, in with the new' approach to equipment upgrades," says Peter Daily, managing partner at Frost & Sullivan.

However, Cisco customers with 2600, 3600, 7200, and 7500 Series routers in their networks can start converging the voice and data network without completely replacing their network infrastructure. "This lets companies get their toes wet before they jump into a VoIP deployment," Daily says. "As they become comfortable with voice running on their data network in a small scale, they can scale up."

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