Parallel efforts to create a standard for voice-over-IP, or Internet Protocol, championed by Level 3 Communications and Bellcore, have been merged in order to gain greater consensus. The move comes as initiatives for the embryonic IP voice technology inch closer to formal standards bodies, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force.
The respective standards provided technology bridges that allow typical circuit-based phone networks to communicate with an emerging set of "green field" networks and layout upgrades based on IP, the transmissions protocol of the Net.
Several carriers are moving toward increased use of IP as more and more data transmissions flood their networks, and voice is viewed as just another "packet" to be sent across a high-speed link.
Level 3, a nascent telco building a network based on IP, worked with a consortium of companies to develop the Internet protocol device control (IPDC), while Bellcore--in conjunction with data giant Cisco Systems--combined to offer the simple gateway control protocol (SGCP).
This work has been merged into a media gateway control protocol (MGCP) effort--a specification currently available to carriers, service providers, and hardware and software manufacturers.
A draft of the standard has also been sent to a mailing list within the IETF and floated to a European standards body.
Level 3 previously had organized an advisory council, made of a wide variety of network-oriented companies such as Cisco, Ascend Communications, Ericsson, and Alcatel to supervise its standards efforts.