3Com boosts LAN telephony wares

3Com has announced a plan to scale its LAN telephony platform to support larger enterprises, and unveiled a broad strategy to extend voice capabilities across its portfolio of data networking products.

The plans are centered around 3Com's NBX network PBX, which is currently a standalone device targeted at small and midsize enterprises, typically with less than 1000 employees. 3Com will extend NBX technology and applications to its workgroup and core network switches to support thousands of users in multiple locations.

NBX capabilities will be added to 3Com's SuperStack II switches in the second half of 2000, and to the company's CoreBuilder 9000 data center switches in early 2001.

On the WAN side, 3Com's PathBuilder WAN switches will support Voice-over-xDSL in the second half of 2000. PathBuilder switches currently support voice over ATM, voice over frame relay and voice over IP for enterprises looking to replace traditional voice-only trunking with converged voice/data networks.

3Com also plans to add voice gateway capabilities to the NBX and SuperStack II products based on the H.323, Session Initiation Protocol and MEGACO standards. These enhancements are slated for late 2000.

In early 2001, 3Com will add these gateway capabilities to the CoreBuilder 9000.

For converged voice/data applications, 3Com plans to release customer relationship management, multilocation call center processing and mixed media service - voice/fax, voice/video - application in mid-2000. 3Com also plans to deliver an application developer program in first half of 2000 to bring additional third-party applications to the 3Com voice portfolio.

In the second half of 2000, 3Com plans to deliver telephony applications that let customers interact personal digital assistants - such as the company's Palm handheld device - with infrared-enabled telephones. This will allow mobile users to personalise and manage telephony communications.

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