Alcatel unveiling SIP support for communications server

Networking vendor Alcatel SA plans to begin shipping an enterprise-class voice and data communications server and related products later this month based on the Internet Protocol and supporting the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), company officials said last Friday.

The Alcatel OmniPCX Enterprise software and hardware line is designed with disaster protection features to aid branch offices in surviving outages, officials at Paris-based Alcatel said.

The OmniPCX will be the first in the industry to incorporate enterprisewide usage of SIP, which is an emerging protocol of IP-based networking that literally defines how an IP session starts and stops, whether the session is voice, instant messaging, video or something else, Alcatel said.

The communications manager software will also be Linux-based, meaning it will operate on Linux-based server hardware widely available or on Alcatel blade servers and media gateways.

"Linux is robust and communications-grade, open and secure -- and by secure, we mean it can be hardened by turning certain undesired features off," said Jeanne Bareyl, director of North America call server marketing. "Linux gives independence to customers."

Several products related to the communication server engine will begin shipping as well, starting on Feb. 25. Those products include a phone terminal based on SIP, an appliance server and two media gateways, Alcatel said. Software features will include Web-based management offering the ability to dial directly from a PC soft phone or IP phone by clicking on a name in a directory.

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