3Com appears to be back on track, according to solution providers at the 3Com Live partner conference in Las Vegas last week. After a surprise overhaul of sales volume requirements for partners last fall, 3Com is moving its partner program toward a model that rewards partners for building expertise and adding value.
President and CEO Bruce Claflin pledged to "do whatever it takes" to build 3Com's brand in the marketplace, bring solution providers more leads and help them challenge market leader Cisco Systems. Claflin
spoke about how the Marlborough, Mass.-based company is better poised to win business and gain market share.
Moving back to February where the industry's first VoIP Security Alliance was launched in conjunction with leading VoIP vendors, providers, security researchers, and thought leaders to discover and reduce VoIP security risks. Some of the charter members include 3Com, Alcatel, Avaya, Codenomicon, Columbia University, Ernst and Youngs Guiliani Advanced Security Center, Insightix, NetCentrex, Qualys, SecureLogix, Siemens, Sourcefire, Southern Methodist University, Spirent, Symantec, the SANS Institute, Tenable Network Security, and TippingPoint.
The growing convergence of voice and data networks only serves to exacerbate and magnify the security risks of todays traditional prevalent cyber attacks. Successful attacks against a combined voice and data network can cripple an enterprise, halt communications required for productivity, and result in irate customers and lost revenue. As VoIP deployments become more widespread, the technology becomes a more attractive target for hackers, increasing the potential for harm from cyber attacks. The emergence of VoIP application-level attacks will likely occur as attackers become more familiar with the technology through exposure and easy access.
Later in February, 3Com Corporation and Research In Motion
(RIM) announced that the companies are working together to deliver a new wave of mobility in enterprise communications. By combining 3Coms Internet Protocol (IP)-private branch exchange (PBX) and wireless local area network (WLAN) switch with RIMs BlackBerry wireless solution for WLAN networks, the companies plan to offer a rich set of voice and data applications to on-campus enterprise users.
The joint 3Com RIM WLAN solution will provide corporate and government organizations with the flexibility of a session initiation protocol (SIP)-based BlackBerry handheld that is tied into their existing PBX telephony. The solution will enable on-campus employees to use always-on BlackBerry applications such as email, VoIP, browser and organizer in conjunction with the BlackBerry platforms unique connectivity features including push-based services, advanced security and back-end integration.
As businesses seek to migrate to IP-based telephony solutions, introductions of pure IP and converged systems are on the rise, according to the latest research. Database publisher and analyst group TelecomTactics finds that pure IP systems and converged systems represent a combined 70 percent of new system introductions in 2004 compared to only 35 percent in 2000. Traditional telephone systems that can be IP-enabled or those with no support for VoIP are on the decline.
Businesses are moving to take advantage of IP-based solutions, but protection of their current equipment investment remains a priority. The goal is to avoid high costs by retaining and reusing existing line and station cards and telephones on a new IP system. Converged systems that support both packet and circuit switching are a good fit since these systems accommodate connection to analog and digital telephones, as well as newer IP devices. In 2002, the enterprise telephony market experienced a surge in introductions of converged systems by Avaya, Mitel Networks, NEC, Siemens and other manufacturers.
Pure IP platforms utilize IP peer-to-peer switching, connecting stations directly to each other through the IP network, but can incorporate optional gateways or interfaces for traditional analog and digital connections.
IP networking benefits businesses with distributed locations and makes it more cost-effective to include small branch offices in a network. In 2004, a number of manufacturers introduced pure IP platforms, including 3Com, Comdial
and Toshiba with small and mid-sized offerings, and Cisco, NEC and Nortel
Networks with platforms for larger enterprises.
By transmitting voice over a companys data network, IP telephones can reduce costs and easily extend office telephone features to a remote location such as a home or branch office. Corporate directory access, call-history logging, conversation record, large pixel-based displays, color touch-screens and even interoperability with a PDA are among the many popular IP telephone features.