Intel Licenses Telephony Technology

SAN MATEO (05/25/2000) - In one of the first moves by Intel Corp. into what the company is calling its Internet Building Block Initiative, the chip giant on Tuesday announced it has licensed patented telephony software to Internet telephony exchange carrier ITXC Corp., which will integrate the technology into its global services.

The Intel technology is a combination of acoustic echo canceling and advanced buffering that improves sound quality and reduces latency when making calls from a PC to a phone or to another PC, giving the user more of a traditional circuit-switched phone experience.

"We have a patented technology that allows us to measure the latency introduced into the network, then modulate the size of the buffer to compensate for the network latency," said Rabi Bedanayagam, capabilities manager at Intel IT Telephony.

Bedanayagam said buffering problems with other Web telephony offerings, such as NetMeeting, interrupt users with clicks and pops during conversation. However, the Intel technology prioritizes speech packets over all other data, spacing out the latency so the user hears a more natural sound pattern.

ITXC provides the Internet infrastructure for Web telephony companies such as DialPad.com Inc., which recently ramped up more than 6 million customers without the use of advertising, according to Mary Evslin, vice president of marketing at ITXC.

ITXC will incorporate the Intel telephony software into its ITXC webtalkNow Service.

"We became interested [in the Intel technology] because of the software points and the ease of customization," Evslin said. "[The Intel technology] disappears into the site, taking on the look and feel of the interface."

But Ed Wadbrook, the director of voice solutions at 3Com Corp., opined that Intel technology is nothing new.

"The issue about latency, buffering, and echo cancellation, those are practices that any software company developing [voice over IP] would have to address, and there are continuing advancements coming for this almost daily to allow for richer communication structures to exist," Wadbrook said.

Ron Westfall, a senior analyst at Current Analysis, in Sterling, Virginia, agrees.

"Any packetized IP service simply has to have the fundamental cueing mechanism to make sure that voice is at the front of traffic flow," Westfall said.

Internet Building Block Initiative software solutions that will follow Tuesday's announcement will include 3-D graphics and streaming media technology, according to Intel officials.

Intel Corp., in Santa Clara, California, is at www.intel.com. ITXC Corp., in Princeton, New Jersey, is at www.itxc.com. 3Com Corp., in Santa Clara, California, is at www.3com.com.

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