Microsoft is backing Interactivity Connectivity Establishment (ICE) technology, which the company said will facilitate secure VoIP and other realtime communications over the Web.
Microsoft is building ICE into upcoming versions of its MSN Messenger instant-messaging client and the fuller Communicator client, slated to arrive in the Office 12 time frame next fall. The ICE component also will flow into the stack of Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online gaming console.
All of the deliverables will come at the application layer. No modifications will be needed for the current or future operating system, said Russell Bennett, program manager for Microsoft’s Real Time Collaboration Group.
Currently, the lack of sufficient IP addresses for devices in various networks means that some devices within firewalls communicate using addresses that may not indicate their “real-world” address, Bennett said. Network Address Translations (NATs) arbitrarily assign IP addresses to the devices inside a company’s firewall.
ICE, which Microsoft said is backed by Cisco Systems and a half-dozen as-yet-unnamed technology companies, launches in parallel with the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which typically kicks off any realtime messaging or VoIP communication.