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Convergence still risky

Library Systems Newsletter [December 1998]

For the last several years, network vendors have been touting "convergence," the integration of data, video, and voice onto a single network. Libraries should continue to be cautious about accepting these claims.

It is our experience that most vendors, and the equipment manufacturers which supply them, have little expertise outside their historic market niches. For example, Cisco and 3Com vendors, and the companies themselves, have demonstrated little knowledge about the special problems of video and voice. Northern Telecom and Lucent Technologies vendors rarely are familiar with both data and voice, even though the two equipment companies are. All of the equipment companies and their vendors seem to have difficulty fielding complex questions about video.

A recent experience of the Contributing Editor involved a school district which had selected a reputable vendor and a highly-respected company to provide a district-wide network that would support data, video, and voice. For months the district experienced contention among the applications because the network could not handle the complex traffic prioritization required. When ISCI was called in to advise the district, we had little choice but to recommend that the three applications be separated once again. Fortunately, the telephone wiring and coaxial cabling used previously were still in place.

Our general advice is, leave the telephone system in place, implement a separate data network using vendors and companies with expertise in that field, and-if required-implement a video network using vendors and companies with the required expertise.

View Citation
Publication Year:1998
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Library Systems Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 18 Number 12
Issue:December 1998
Publisher:American Library Association
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Notes:Howard S. White, Editor-in-Chief; Richard W. Boss, Contributing Editor
Subject: Local area networks
Record Number:5842
Last Update:2024-05-24 08:20:43
Date Created:0000-00-00 00:00:00