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Texas Instruments enhances VoIP chips

The company is adding new features to some of its chipsets that will allow equipment makers to more easily add capabilities and cut the cost of building new products.

Texas Instruments is adding new features to some of its chipsets that will allow equipment makers to more easily add capabilities and cut the cost of building new products.

The changes are being made to chips used in inexpensive voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) gateways, which route calls among numerous telephone lines, among other functions. The upgrade is mainly the addition of VLYNQ, which is TI's own method for connecting different devices.

Manufacturers that use VLYNQ-enabled chips can create new products or add capabilities more cheaply than "building them from scratch," a TI representative said. For example, gear makers building VLYNQ-capable VoIP phones from chips TI released in May can more easily enhance security, the representative said.

TI's upgrades are indicative of a relatively new focus for VoIP, a technology that routes phone calls over the Internet rather than across a telephone company's privately owned network. The chips announced Monday are meant for gateways that small businesses or home offices would buy.

With many larger businesses still on the fence about whether to use Internet telephony, smaller businesses have become an increasingly important target for VoIP equipment makers.

Because TI dominates the market for chips used to make both VoIP phones and gateways, it has wide influence on the market. The company said it now sells about 80 percent of the chips used inside VoIP phones and gateways.

TI chose to include VLYNQ into it's line of chips used in what it describes as broadband products, such as modems and wireless local area networks (WLANs). Of that product line, VoIP gateways were the last to get the upgrade. The next stop for VLYNQ is TI's cell phone chips, a representative said.