How do you define convergence? It seems each vendor has a different way to describe converged networks whether it be all information carried on a single network, or all applications on one network. I've also seen converged networks defined as public pared with private networks or wireless combined with wired networks.

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It depends on the context. But from my perspective, convergence is when you are able to use the same reference model to explain how to carry and integrate disparate contents like voice, video, data, asynchronous communications with synchronous conversations (store and forward, real time, near real time, etc) under a the same set of rules, attributes and protocols.. There is a "how" and there is a "result." The how is the way in which you implement convergence at every ISO layer. Same cable, same protocol, etc., and the results are, simplicity, interoperability, media independence, end-device independence, process integration, among others.

This was first published in October 2005

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