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In the CEO Spotlight section in Internet Telephony�, we recognize the outstanding work performed by exemplary companies. Each month we bring you the opinions of the heads of companies leading the Internet telephony industry now and helping to shape the future of the industry. This month, we spoke with Vijay Kulkarni, CEO of GL Communications Inc.


GG: What is GL Communications� Mission?

VK: Our mission is to provide test and measurement equipment capable of analysis and emulation at a detailed and comprehensive level; far greater than that provided by conventional test equipment, and to provide this capability for TDM, VoIP, and wireless networks. This is easier said than done for the fast paced telecom industry, where today�s technology may be out of date tomorrow. Nevertheless, our mission is to provide test and measurement equipment that is powerful, graphical, visual, yet easy to use.

GG: What is your vision for GL and how is the company positioned in the next generation telecom market?

VK: We have seen telecom technology evolve from Analog to TDM to ATM, to Packet. We have seen access speeds increase from hundreds of bits per second to millions of bits per second, and services undergo a sea change from transporting conventional telephony to high-speed data, video, and content on demand. As a test equipment vendor, we must keep pace with this evolutionary change. Currently, our test equipment portfolio is very strong in Analog and TDM domains. Our VoIP product suite is also very strong. We are making inroads into the ATM domain and will soon be offering product mixes for higher rate interfaces and a full complement of products for 3G networks. Our recently launched protocol analyzers for CDMA, GPRS, and UMTS have met with great success. Also, in the pipeline are products that will address the burgeoning Ethernet carrier market. Another area that we have traditionally been very strong in is �voiceband and voice quality testing� and �protocol analysis� across TDM, VoIP, and Wireless domains. This continues to be core competency and we intend to extend this to the higher rate interfaces such as OC-3 and GigE.

GG: Now that it appears that growth and opportunity are the trends in the VoIP industry, what possible hurdles do you see that might upset this momentum?

VK: VoIP now has momentum, both mass and velocity. No doubt there are barriers, but these will be overcome in due course. VoIP has had a bumpy ride, primarily because it has been compared or contrasted to the quality and reliability of the traditional telephone network. Most of these issues were and are due to transport over the public Internet and consequent quality problems or due to lack of broadband access. As these growing pains are overcome and broadband access becomes prevalent, VoIP will come into its own, through features such as wideband audio and video and wireless access to VoIP. Users will become addicted to the ease of �instant connectivity� much like the simplicity of calling via mobile phones. This is only a matter of time. Along the way security issues will need to be addressed much like spam and viruses are addressed today. Regulatory and law enforcement issues will also need to be addressed such as E911 and wire tapping. None of these barriers will stop the VoIP freight train!

GG: What are some of the technology areas where GL is increasingly focusing, and why are these areas important to the future of your company?

VK: IP and wireless are attracting our greatest attention because they are becoming the dominant technologies. We are developing hardware that interfaces at higher access rates such as GigE and OC-n rates. In the IP arena, we have a new product to test IMS features and functions, called SIPGen. We are also introducing video testing capability over IP. In the wireless domain, we continue to expand on our 3G protocol suite, investing in both hardware and software.

GG: Describe your view of the future of the IP telephony industry.

VK: There is no doubt that IP is the wave of the future, whether on wired or wireless networks. Wired access speeds are increasing to broadband and ultra broadband speeds via DSL, cable, and fiber. Wireless access speeds are also increasing whether they are cellular, 3G, WiFi (News - Alert), WiMAX, or satellite. Against this backdrop, �killer apps,� such as mobility, Web, e-mail, voice, and IM have exploited communications technologies and are changing the way we communicate in our lives. The next �killer app� that will consume the bandwidth that technology has to offer could be gaming, IPTV (News - Alert), streaming video and audio, two-way video, video attachments, or wideband audio. Nobody knows for sure, but IP technology will play a significant and central role. Another driving factor is the desire for �content on demand� from anywhere and at anytime. To achieve this, users require constant connectivity or instant connectivity. This, in turn will drive ever larger repositories of content. Globalization of these trends will create demand for bandwidth and information on an unprecedented scale. The future is fantastic. IT

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