Boeing's Jumbo Phone-System OverhaulBy Baselinemag Print
Boeing will scrap 125 old phone switches as part of one the world's biggest IP telephony projects. Will the new system fly right?In July 2004, the Boeing Co. Announced a 747-sized project: The aircraft maker said it would replace its entire telephone infrastructure with Internet-based equipment from Cisco Systems.
With 160,000 employees in 70 countries, the $52 billion company is now building what looms as one of the world's largest Internet-protocol telephone networks.
Boeing expects it will save money by having to manage only a single, converged network infrastructure for both voice and data, and offer flexibility to mobile workers who consistently need to connect from different locations.
"Cisco's family of products will be the foundation of the next-generation network required to replace Boeing's aging voice infrastructure," said Christopher Kent, head of Boeing's computing and network operations, in a press release issued when the two companies announced the deal.
But how well will the system stand up to real-world issues? Will Boeing actually see the trumpeted benefits?
On the big questions, the jury's still out: Boeing doesn't expect to complete the project until 2011.
But with more than a year of experience and thousands of IP phones now dropped on workers' desks, the company already has learned lessons about what worksand what doesn't.
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