Nortel Networks revealed Tuesday that gear based on VoIP (voice over IP) technology will begin the first North American trials this month with Bell Canada's largest business customers. Nortel says its equipment, called the interactive multimedia server, will provide services like instant video calling, which allows users to make a video call without having to arrange it beforehand, and so-called "hot desking," an option that lets employees take phone numbers and calling preferences with them if they relocate to another office.
VoIP splits voice data into many packets, and sends them over a telecom network in separate chunks to their destination, where they are reassembled into a regular voice call. The technology uses bandwidth more efficiently and reduces cost, compared with a traditional circuit-switch call, which delivers voice data in its entirety using a continuous connection. VoIP also allows carriers to bill based on the number of services a customer wants, which could generate more revenue instead of charging a flat fee for a connection.