Alcatel upgrades IP PBX

FRAMINGHAM (10/10/2003) - Alcatel this week is scheduled to unveil several features of its Internet Protocol private branch exchange (IP PBX) for large corporations that will tie cell phones to corporate IP telephony systems.

Software upgrades to the OmniPCX Enterprise will let cell phones be integrated into the IP PBX. Other upgrades include message integration and virtual LAN (VLAN) management features.

New software running on the OmniPCX lets it integrate cell phones into a corporate dial plan. To deploy the service, a user's cell phone is configured into the OmniPCX, which lets the cell phone act as an extension on the box. Features such as four-digit dialing, call forwarding and conference calling are extended to the cell phone user.

The feature also lets a user have one number that rings both his desk IP phone and a mobile phone. Calls to a cell phone also can be directed to a corporate voice mail system, letting a user have one mailbox for message retrieval.

For converged network management, Alcatel also has added an automatic VLAN registration feature to the OmniPCX. Previously, Alcatel IP phones could register themselves on a network through Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, but segmenting the phone into a VLAN had to be performed by a technician. The new feature lets IP phones be moved around a network and configured into a pre-defined VLAN.

Experts say running IP voice over a VLAN is a good practice because packetized voice running on its own dedicated subnetwork is less susceptible to traffic congestion and network attacks.

Internet Message Access Protocol 4 support also has been added to the OmniPCX's unified messaging platform. This can let users of Microsoft Corp. Outlook, IBM Lotus Corp. Notes or Novell Inc. GroupWise Web clients access fax and voice mail messages from a browser, in addition to e-mail. Deploying fax and voice mail access from a Web client requires no extra client-side software, Alcatel says.

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