Mitel releases integrated voice/data box

Mitel Networks Corp. this week released an “all-in-one” box for hooking up small branch offices with traditional/IP phone, LAN and Internet connections.

The 3100 Integrated Communications Platform (ICP) could be deployed in a small business or enterprise branch office with between eight and 34 users. The device could help a company save money when building out new branch offices, or upgrading old sites by combining three network devices – a LAN switch, IP router and small-office phone system – into a single box.

The devices house an integrated eight-port Layer 2 LAN switch and an IP router for WAN connectivity. Up to 10 analog device ports can connect legacy phones and fax machines to the system, while a maximum of eight external voice trunks can be hooked into to the box for plain old telephone service. Two ISDN BRI (basic rate interface) ports or a T-1 interface are available for physical WAN links. The box also supports network address translation for limited network security.

Call control on the 3100 ICP is run on the VxWorks real-time operating system to offer features including call forwarding, extension paging, caller ID, and last number redial. A voicemail system also runs on the box with its own hard drive for message storage. Voicemail features include message forwarding, multiple greeting settings, and message indication lights on Mitel phones.

For voice-over-IP support, the box is compatible with Mitel’s 5010 and 5020 IP phones, and the 5882 Softphone (phone software for a PC). The 3100 ICP runs a proprietary VoIP protocol, but the company says it will add support for IETF and ITU voice-over-IP standard such as the Session Initiation Protocol and Megaco/H.248 later in 2002.

For adding quality of service to voice-over-IP traffic, integrated LAN switch supports 802.1p traffic prioritization, and the IP router can prioritize voice traffic with Differentiated Services (Diff-Serv) and Layer 3 Type of Service prioritization.

The ICP 3100 will compete with products such as Vertical Networks Inc.’s Instant Office, Nortel Networks Corp.’s Business Communication Manager, Alcatel SA’s Media Gateway, Avaya Inc.’s R300 and the Catalyst 4224 Access Gateway Switch from Cisco Systems Inc. The 3100 ICP is available now at US$560 per port, with phones included.

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