Alcatel upgrades its small office IP PBX

Alcatel upgrades its small office IP PBX

Alcatel says it wants to bring corporate IP telephony and messaging features to small offices, with the latest release of its OmniPCX Office product.

The OmniPCX Office 5.0 wraps IP PBX features, messaging and message storage and other applications into a single device for offices with as many as 250 users. The device also embeds basic network and security features into the appliance, including firewall, routing, DHCP server and server. New features in 5.0 include centralized call routing for multisite small businesses, as well as support for site-to-site Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) connections.

The release includes a new personal call handling application called PIMphony, which lets users set up personalized call-handing features, such as forwarding calls to voice mail, a cell phone or to other locations. The application also can be used by multisite small businesses to configure centralized call routing. This configuration sends incoming calls at multiple sites to a single site or extension.

OmniPCX Office's compact design -- one rack unit in size -- and advanced call-handling features are some of the benefits of the device, users say.

"It's one box that does just about everything, which helps cut down on maintenance and equipment costs," says Bill Dugay, telecommunications manager at Coreflex, a New Hampshire-based manufacturer of medical supplies. He says the company's salespeople extensively use one call-handing feature, which calls out to a cell phone when a new voice mail has been left on a system extension. "This device will actually call the users when they have a voice mail, which the salespeople like," he says. "There's no more calling into your extension all of the time to get your messages."

OmniPCX Office's support for both IP and digital phones is another useful feature, Dugan says. For simple phone connections, such as phones on the factory floor or in a conference room, Alcatel digital sets are used.

Another new feature is support for SIP trunking and intersite SIP connections. Multiple sites can now connect OmniPCX Office devices over a WAN using the SIP protocol, which enables messaging and multimedia features supported in the box to translate across the links. SIP support also lets an OmniPCX office connect directly to a carrier's SIP trunk service, instead of a traditional voice T-1 circuit.

OmniPCX Office competes with small office IP PBXs such as Nortel's BMC 50, Cisco's CallManager Express and Avaya's IP Office product. OmniPCX Office starts at around US$1,500 without phones.

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