PBX server protects legacy phones

Also visit our blog pages to read: Your Future Phone

In the past three years, Vertical Communications has merged four companies into a firm specializing in IP phone systems for small and medium businesses.

But this month it will take a step up by releasing the Wave IP 2500, a rack-mounted all-in-one system PBX that can handle up to 500 users on a single server and comes with a suite of unified communications applications, plus additional apps that can be turned on for a fee.

But while bundled applications may be attractive to some buyers, Walter Kenrich, Vertical’s vice-president of product management, made it clear in an interview that a key goal of the new system is also assure users of its Comdial and Vodavi digital phone systems — acquisitions it made in 2005 and 2006 respectively — that there’s a path to IP telephony.

Many of those customers have an investment in phones and may not be ready to switch to IP systems all at once, Kenrich said. The IP Wave can handle analogue, digital and IP phones. Call processing in the IP Wave 2500 is powered by an Intel XScale processor, while a Pentium 1.8Ghz CPU runs the applications.

The applications that come with all models include Vertical’s well-known ViewPoint desktop call management tool, unified communications, presence management, visual voicemail and call recording.

“It’s pretty powerful in the utility it brings to bear in terms of managing your calls through a desktop application,” Kenrich said.

Bundled with the server and ready to be turned on for a fee are a contact centre which Kendrich said “is as strong as any large enterprise contact centre application,” a conference manager for up to 60 participants, voice server and fax manager. A module called the Global Reporter collects reporting data. Buyers can try these apps for free for 30 days.

“Our feeling is one you get in and try it, you’re going to be totally sold on what the solution can provide.”

While competitors such as Nortel Networks, Cisco Systems and Mitel offer systems with bundles, Kenrich claimed separate servers have to be bought for additional applications.

“They’ve done a good job of making it competitive on an applications basis,” said Rob Arnold, a senior analyst for enterprise communications with Current Analysis of Sterling, Va. “In terms of capabilities, it helps them level the playing field a bit” with competitors.

“They’re basically providing a migration path to newer technology while allowing customers to re-use their endpoints, applications and some of their server hardware,” he said.

The system includes native support for IP, SIP-based IP telephony, TDM and PSTN via integrated gateway resources. The server, which has four FXS and four FXO ports, can handle up to 10 T1 lines and up to 240 SIP trunk channels.

Optional expansion units can each handle an additional 48 users or more trunk capacity. A system including 60 phones would cost between US$400 and $450 a user.

Also visit our blog pages to read: Your future phone

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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