LONDON , United Kingdom , July 25, 2002 - Cisco Systems today announced that it is providing the key technology behind a new voice-over-IP (VoIP) service from British Telecommunications plc (BT) that will allow Microsoft Network (MSN) users to make telephone calls from their computers.
The new service, called PC 2 UK, will strengthen BT's position as a leader in the emerging Internet telephony market while providing Microsoft with a significant value-add for MSN. Users will access the service via MSN's Passport secure server and have unmetered access to BT's Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) for a fixed monthly fee. Microsoft Messenger, the PC client, enables the user to integrate instant messaging, multi-media services and telephony under Microsoft's Windows environment, and is delivered as part of Microsoft XP.
"The increasing number of computers in homes has brought a growing demand for the ability to cost-effectively make calls whilst surfing the Web. PC 2 UK addresses this need. Working with Cisco was an obvious choice for this project because they have strong existing relationships with BT and Microsoft, and because their PGW 2200 and AS5000 Series Gateways are tailor-made for this type of application," said John Blake, head of VoIP for BT Ignite, BT's business services and solutions division.
PC 2 UK relies on a PGW 2200 PSTN Gateway which provides intelligent call routing between traditional telephony networks which use SS7, and new technology VoIP networks which use Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and H.323. Also supported on the PGW2200 is the BT NetChat service, which is H.323 based and operates with Microsoft NetMeeting. The PGW2200 uses MGCP to control the Cisco AS5000 Series Gateways, which provide the speech path connection between TDM and IP environments. The security of the service is assured by a Cisco PIX firewall.
Michael Ansley, Head of Voice Technologies, Cisco Systems EMEA said: "The project between BT, Microsoft and Cisco is a clear example of how all the parties are using the capabilities of new technology to bring benefits and services to their customers. This is a very exciting project for the UK market, and we are delighted they saw us as the right choice."