IP phone vendors push towards SIP support

Pingtel and Polycom this week announced new voice-over-IP software and hardware aimed at enterprises interested in adopting the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standard for VoIP applications.

At the Voice on the Net show here this week, Pingtel released the SIP-based Instant Xpressa Enterprise, a software-based version of its Xpressa IP phone for Microsoft Windows clients. The "softphone" is billed as a tool for letting mobile users or home office users to access a corporate phone system over an IP network connection from a PC or laptop.

The softphone mimics all the features of Pingtel's Xpressa phone, and includes features such as integration with Microsoft Outlook for making phone calls and compatibility with corporate directories based on the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP).

PolyCom said its recently announced SoundPoint IP 500 IP phone and SoundStation IP 3000 IP conference station will also support SIP by the third quarter.

Some observers have dubbed SIP as the protocol of the future for VoIP, saying it is more Web-centric and can support a wider range of voice and communication programs than other IP telephony protocols such as H.323 and media gateway control protocol (MGCP). Microsoft Corp. last fall introduced SIP support with the release of the Windows Messenger application on Windows XP. Microsoft has said the approximately 17 million Windows XP clients on the Internet today are ready to be used as SIP-based IP phones.

Pingtel's Instant Xpressa Enterprise software is available now for US$80. PolyCom's SoundStation IP 500 costs $400, and the SoundStation IP 3000 costs $1,000. Both devices are available now without SIP support.

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