Cisco, BT launch VoIP service for MSN users

Cisco Systems Inc. and British Telecommunications PLC (BT), through its Internet services arm BT Ignite, are joining to offer a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service for U.K. users of MSN, Microsoft Corp.'s Internet services provider, the companies announced Thursday.

The service, called PC 2 UK, is designed as a value-add service for MSN users, and allows customers to make telephone calls from their computers, BT and Cisco said in a statement.

The service will use MSN's Passport secure server, unmetered access to BT's telephone network, for which users pay a fixed monthly fee, and Cisco's PGW 2200 and AS5000 Series Gateways for call routing between traditional telephony networks and VoIP networks, the companies said. The VoIP networks use Cisco's Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and H.323 products and the San Jose, California, company will also provide security for the service with its Cisco PIX firewall product, the companies said.

Customers using Microsoft XP as their operating system will also be able to integrate instant messaging, multimedia services and telephony services with Microsoft Messenger as the PC client, BT and Cisco said.

Cisco's gateway will also support the BT NetChat service, which is based on the standard H.323 protocol and operates with Microsoft's NetMeeting, the companies said.

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