Lucent cuts cost of Web phone

Lucent cuts cost of Web phoneRichard Ball Lucent Technologies is planning a single chip solution for Internet telephones which it claims will reduce the cost of the phones and so stimulate demand for the technology, writes Melanie Reynolds.
Internet telephones connect to a single Ethernet outlet and send data and voice through the same cable. This allows voice to be sent more cheaply as packets over the Internet. The telephone works with Internet Protocol (IP)enabled private branch exchange switches and voice-enabled local area network routers.
Lucent’s chip will combine 13 electronic functions and reduce the number of chips typically needed from five to one. Besides costing less than separate chips, any problems with interfacing between the chips will obviously be eliminated.
A two chip solution will be available by the end of this year to meet immediate demand. One chip will contain the digital signal processor which handles speakerphone echo cancellation and voice compression. The second chip is a microprocessor for voice over IP signalling and network management.
Chris Jolly, manager of narrowband at Lucent, said integration into a single chip solution would follow “very quickly behind”.
According to USanalyst Dataquest, the market for Internet telephones is expected to see an average annual growth of over 250 per cent for the next three years. This will mean 8.8 million Internet telephones being sold by 2002.
“The different services that the Internet offers means you’ll see a lot more of this type of device and this kind of thing,” predicted Jolly.

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