Sure, ATAs are a pain, but here's good news: they won't be around much longer

As many of you already know, ATAs, or Analog Telephone Adapters, are devices that connect regular telephones to a broadband network for VoIP services. ATAs do this by converting analog voice signals to IP packets and vice versa, as well as by delivering the dial tone and facilitating call setup.

As many of you already know, ATAs, or Analog Telephone Adapters, are devices that connect regular telephones to a broadband network for VoIP services. ATAs do this by converting analog voice signals to IP packets and vice versa, as well as by delivering the dial tone and facilitating call setup.

Capable devices, but because they represent an extra step, one without a lengthy future in the enterprise. That's not the ravings of a futurist, but of no less a major force in the VoIP world than Cisco Systems chief technology officer Charles Giancarlo.

Giancarlo, who is also president of Cisco's Linksys division, tells vnunet.com's Tom Sanders today that ATAs will "soon" begin to be replaced by a new generation of "hard IP phones" that will be plugged directly into an Ethernet cable, as well as WiFi VoIP phones for small business, and then for the consumer market.

Giancarlo's timetable: expect Cisco's first enterprise-themed WiFi VoIP handsets in the next few months, and consumer models to show up within the next year.

I, too, believe that ATAs are just a temporary hardware workaround, representing a soon-to-be-obsolete extra step in making VoIP calls happen.

Do you agree with me? Post a TalkBack and let us know what you think.