You don't have to go to a startup anymore to buy a PBX replacement system that runs on a Windows NT server.
Veteran PBX war horse Lucent Technologies rec-ently jumped into the movement to replace proprietary PBXs with open call-processing servers that share LANs and WANs with data applications.
Lucent has introduced IP Exchange Systems (IPES), a family of products that moves phone calls and faxes over a single IP enterprise network.
Lucent's initial entry in the IPES product line is for relatively small offices, leaving larger sites in the hands of traditional voice switch vendors.
New line's flagship
The flagship of the new line is IP ExchangeComm, a system designed for sites with up to 96 phones and fax machines. The system includes call-routing software for a Windows NT server, plus the Lucent IP Exchange Adapter, which converts phones and fax machines into IP clients. Exchange Adapters, small boxes that can sit on the desktop or in wiring closets, come in versions that support two, four or eight telephony devices.
By placing IP ExchangeComm servers in multiple corporate locations, users can route intracompany calls over an IP WAN, cutting out carrier tolls. For users who want to originate calls from the system to locations outside their company, Lucent is offering an optional IP telephony gateway to connect the system to the public switched telephone network.
The gateway is basically a reverse of Lucent's current telephony gateways, which take ordinary PBX traffic and convert it into packets for transit over intranets or the Internet. Most of the IPES systems are expected to be sold through indirect channels and IP ExchangeComm is due early next year.