Direction needed on road to convergence

Networking is being driven down a path towards convergence and, like it or not, enterprise business is going along for the ride.

Vendors have pretty much ensured that network convergence will happen, since all have bet their businesses on its eventual adoption by both carriers and the enterprise.

As purveyors of network equipment, Cisco and Nortel are already deep into the convergence morphing process, while others such as 3Com (partnering with Siemens), Siemens (recently formed a data and IP networking company in the United States) and Alcatel (purchased data equipment maker Xylan earlier this month) aren’t far behind.

Too many network companies are too committed to transforming themselves from builders of separate voice and data gear to manufacturers of equipment that transports all traffic types for network convergence not to succeed.

So there’s no turning back now. Convergence will be the way to build future networks in a few short years — bet on it.

Telephone and other communications companies have already made the commitment and, as a result, consumers will soon see a multitude of voice, video and data services coming their way.

Swedish telecom company Ericsson last month announced its e-services system that will let network operators offer Internet access and telephony services, as well as security, entertainment and other network-based services using a combination server and communications device.

American telecommunications giant AT&T Corp.’s network unit recently announced that, by the end of this year, it wants to stop buying traditional telephone switches for the core of its network and will instead retool around more versatile technologies.

Closer to home, look for Bell Canada to transition from its “bread and butter” voice services in the next two or three years to a set of converged network offerings. Others are farther ahead. Quebec cable TV provider Le Groupe Vid