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November 10, 2005

Microsoft and Cisco agree ICE is cool for VoIP

Microsoft Corp and Cisco Systems Inc yesterday said they support the emerging ICE methodology, which promises to remove a key barrier to the broader adoption of enterprise VoIP.

By CBR Staff Writer

Interactive Connectivity Establishment, or ICE, methodology is a way for VoIP calls to communicate across network-address translators, or NATs, which can otherwise be problematic.

NATs are often used as a basic security measure, but can block IP voice and video streams. And while many proprietary media services traverse NATs by tunneling using HTTP or Port 80, this approach is not as security-enhanced, robust or scalable as the ICE methodology, said the companies.

Finding a way for VoIP to work better across NATs and firewalls is a problem that is faced across the industry, said Gurdeep Singh Pall, a Microsoft Office VP, in a statement. Microsoft and Cisco are encouraging our industry partners to utilize the ICE methodology to ensure more consistent, reliable experiences for our customers, and to improve SIP-based VoIP interoperability across networks.

The choice by Microsoft and Cisco to support ICE is important because the VoIP industry has, for the most part, embraced SIP-based VOIP. Skype Technologies SA is one notable exception.

With service providers increasingly deploying converged voice-and-data services based on SIP, Microsoft’s and Cisco’s endorsement of ICE standards bodes well for our mutual customers, said Don Proctor, SVP of Cisco’s voice technology group.

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