SMB - Linksys unveils SIP-based VOIP gear

Cisco division Linksys launched a package of SIP-based VOIP gear this week, aimed at small businesses and home-office power users.

The Linksys Voice System (LVS) 9000 series of products includes a small IP PBX with support for up to 16 end users, as well as IP phones, power-over-Ethernet adapters, and a gateway for connecting to the public phone network. Linksys can also hook small businesses up with selected IP telephony service partners that can tie this equipment into a SIP-based VOIP service, the company says.

The new small-office VOIP gear follows Linksys' 2005 launch of its LinksysOne product/service offering targeted at businesses with five to 50 end users -- a market Cisco sees as a potential billion-dollar revenue source. Like the LinksysOne products, the LVS gear will only be available through resellers and service providers certified by Linksys.

The SPA 9000 IP PBX is an appliance that includes fax server, conferencing, music on hold, auto-attendant and more than two dozen other features that mimic traditional small-office key telephony systems. The box includes a SIP proxy server, an application server for developing computer/telephony applications and a Web-based management interface.

The corresponding phones come in a no-frills version and versions with LCD interfaces, multiple line support and power-over-Ethernet capabilities. A power-over-Ethernet dongle can plug into a standard LAN switch and provide power to PoE-capable SPA900 series phones over the same Category 5/6 cable used for data. Another adapter for the phones allows for wireless LAN bridging of the desktop handsets - but it requires power at the end-user desktop for the phone and bridge device.

The SPA3000 PSTN gateway can also be installed to connect a SPA 9000 IP PBX to local phone carriers. The SPA 9000 can be linked to a VOIP service provider via a SIP-based virtual T-1 trunk. (However, PSTN gateways are recommended in addition to SIP trunks for redundancy). Service providers offering support for the LVS products include: Cbeyond, InPhonex, Primus Telecommunications, Race Technologies, RNKVOIP, VoicePulse and Zingotel. Estimated pricing for the LVS gear is:

SPA9000: US$400 for four phones, US$700 for 16-phone support SPA900 series phones: US$90 to US$170 SPA3000: US$90 WBP54G WLAN IP phone bridge: US$40 PS100 IP phone power supply: US$15 POE5S PoE dongle: US$30

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