Firms opt for hybrid rather than full IP networks

22 Oct 2007

Belief in the telecoms industry that businesses would energetically seise the opportunity to move towards full internet protocol (IP) networking have proven unfounded, a senior Ericsson executive told Instead cost-conscious firms are deploying hybrid IP networks as part of upgrades.

“Going back to 1999 we expected people to swiftly migrate to an all-IP world. But instead customers have gone for a more hybrid approach, combining traditional network infrastructure with elements of IP,” explained Stephen Hobson, sales director for western Europe at Swedish telecoms equipment manufacturer Ericsson.

“The only evidence we see of people moving to full IP networking are businesses moving to Greenfield sites or those integrating home working. We feel that businesses still need to find a compelling reason to go for full IP at present,” Hobson added.

He said that Ericsson has aligned its products to meet this hybrid approach and the aim is to be ready when the customer wants to make a move to IP.

“Other players in the market are aligning their products to go 100pc IP but that could prove to be a waste of money for companies. The truth is businesses don’t need to spend as much as they expected.”

Hobson said that looking back over the last three years of telecoms spending, the push towards IP didn’t happen as fast as analysts had predicted.

“Our view is the industry shouldn’t be expecting to sell more pure IP than hybrid over the next few years. The reality is why should you rip out existing handsets and infrastructure when you can just build stuff on top of it. By targeting a hybrid approach businesses can keep the majority of their infrastructure and still enjoy the benefits of IP networking.”

John McCabe, managing director of Damovo Ireland, a partner company of Ericsson, said: “Some of our competitors believe you have to rip out everything but really, if you look at hybrid you can have most, if not all of the features of IP.

“Some of our customers are making a point that they are looking to maintain as much infrastructure as possible. However, brand new sites will look at IP.”

Ericsson’s hybrid IP technology, the MX1 3.1 is the latest version of its IP-PBX technology that businesses could use to move from a telephony switch scenario to a telephony server.

“Businesses want to future proof their investment. They want some of the applications and take the switch rather than server route in order to sweat their assets as much as possible,” McCabe added.

By John Kennedy