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Server uses Net for telephony

Lucent's Internet Telephony Server lets users send and receive voice and fax messages over the Internet.

    Lucent Technologies announced the availability of its Internet Telephony Server (ITS), based on Compaq hardware. The server enables users to send and receive voice and fax messages over the Internet.

    The enterprise version of the ITS, currently available in a turnkey package, includes a Compaq ProLiant 2500 Pentium server, Microsoft's Windows NT operating system, ITS software, and telephony interface cards from Natural Microsystems. The enterprise ITS ranges from $2,500 to $4,000 per port.

    According to Stephen Loudermilk, spokesman for Lucent, the company chose Compaq servers because "It's part of our strategy to basically put our Internet communications on open platforms. Compaq gave us that platform. This brings IP telephony to the masses."

    The enterprise ITS works with the existing network to convert voice and packet data over the LAN, connecting to a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) that allows communication between a business and the public network.

    ITS uses Bell Labs' voice compression technology, which compresses voice to 10 to 12 kbps, thus accounting for only 16 percent of a T-1 line. "Voice compression software has a tremendous affect on the voice quality, and gives you more bandwidth," Loudermilk said.

    According to Lucent, ITS can reduce the cost of long distance calls from 22 cents per minute to 3 cents per minute--costs fall because Internet phones always use local rates--while offering the voice quality of a cellular phone. Users dissatisfied with the voice quality have the option of falling back to the public-switched telephone network.

    Users must have a PC equipped with an Internet phone to take advantage of ITS. Loudermilk quotes research done by Probe which estimates that 16 percent of PC users have the capability to move to Internet telephony in the next three years.

    Lucent also announced that Transfer Technologies, a prepaid calling card company, is the first customer to sign up for the ITS on a commercial basis.