CES - Aksys launches PBX-less VOIP system for SMB

New server-less 'Konnect' business phone system aimed at offices with 30 or fewer workers

Aksys Networks , a maker of small-office VOIP gear, announced a server-less VOIP phone system this week aimed at offices with 30 or fewer workers.

The Konnect business phone system consists of IP phones with dual Ethernet and RJ-11 telephone connections, which allow the devices to connect internally over a LAN and place/receive calls over a plain old telephone system (POTS) line. Aksys says the system, which requires no other equipment except the phones, allows small businesses to integrate VOIP and advanced IP telephony features without relying on an outsourced or hosted VOIP service.

Aksys is expected to debut the Konnect system at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week and begin shipping the system in the second quarter.

The Konnect VOIP phones, which cost around US$300 (AUD$381) each, include an embedded Linux-based operating system and provide standard business phone features, such as voice mail, auto attendant, conferencing and paging. Users also can configure the phones to trigger an e-mail alert if a new voice mail message is waiting. The Konnect phones automatically recognize each other when plugged into a LAN, according to Aksys. Extension numbers and phone names can be set up within five minutes, the company says.

The Session Initiation Protocol-based IP phones plug into a standard Ethernet switch via a RJ-45 cable, as well as a two-pair telephone connection. Outbound and in-coming calls travel over the Konnect phone's POTS link. Phones on the LAN can ring each other internally via three-digit dialing. Konnect phones in separate offices can contact each other over an IP WAN by three-digit dialing as well, which avoids long-distance phone charges.

Aksys is among a few Canadian vendors offering server-less VOIP systems for smaller shops. Aastra Technologies makes a similar peer-to-peer IP phone system called the VentureIP. Another is Nimcat Networks; Avaya bought that company in 2005 and today sells the Nimcat one-X Quick Edition phone for small offices.

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