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Security fears put wrench in VoIP networks

Fears surrounding viruses are holding up adoption of Internet phone calling in companies, according to the CEO of Avaya.

Worries over viruses and network downtime are keeping chief information officers from going for purely IP networks--and that's why Avaya uses Linux, according to Don Peterson, CEO of the networking company.

Peterson said that call centers in particular have fielded security as a reason to avoid switching to an IP network. "They don't want two devices with virus exposure on their desk," he said on Wednesday.

"(Security) is something CIOs think about along with their IP telephony decision--many of our customers say it's why they don't deploy IP influence," he added. "It is why we have chosen to deliver our IP telephony solution on Linux rather than on Windows."

The theory that Linux is inherently no more secure than Windows, just less of a target due to its smaller installed base, cuts no ice with Peterson.

"A lot of people tell you Linux is no more safe than Windows, it's just got less people shooting at it...I don't know whether that's true," Peterson said. "If that's the only protection I can get, at least in the short term, I'll take it."

Despite the woes over disaster recovery, the market for IP is still booming. Analyst house The Radcati Group predicts that 44 percent of corporate telephone lines will be using voice over Internet Protocol technology by 2008.

However, Peterson believes it will be some time before old-school time-division multiplexing, or TDM, communications disappear completely.

"I don't expect TDM to zero out for a long time. The installed base of TDM technology will remain significant for a decade and will be a big number for longer than that," he said.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.