Avaya and Juniper have promised to work together on improved security for VoIP.

Avaya will resell Juniper security products alongside its own IP telephony gear and offer integration and support for both.

Large companies are phasing in IP telephony, but security is the number one concern of sysadmins, according to Frank Dzubeck, president of consultancy Communications Network Architects.

The Juniper-Avaya partnership is a competitive move against Cisco, which provides integrated security and IP telephony capabilities in its popular ISR (Integrated Services Router) platform for small and medium-sized businesses, Dzubeck said.

The partners have not announced any new products but did talk about the fruits of their co-operation and integration work, which began last May. Avaya IP telephony gear will now work smoothly with Juniper capabilities such as security and WAN optimisation, said Lawrence Byrd, director of IP telephony and mobility at Avaya.

"A lot of early firewall products did a lot of damage to voice," Byrd said. In the process of protecting networks from harmful data packets, firewalls sometimes degraded call quality, he said.

Specifically, the companies want to help enterprises set up distributed IP voice capabilities throughout their facilities worldwide, including branch offices. Using the Juniper products, Avaya can provide for firewalls, VPNs and intrusion detection tools to secure the network while supporting IP calls.

Also with the combined offerings, enterprises can help employees work at home and on the road, as well as distributing call-centre capabilities to multiple offices and even home-based workers, Byrd said.