Convergence Technology Boosts Enterprise Appeal

SAN MATEO (05/01/2000) - In an effort to hasten the trend toward voice and data convergence on enterprise networks, Siemens AG, General Bandwidth Inc., and others will use next week's NetWorld+Interop in Las Vegas to showcase solutions enabling different traffic types to travel on a single network.

Bringing IP functionality to legacy equipment, Siemens will unveil an IP adapter for its Optiset line of desktop office telephones. Dubbed Hipath IPWay, the adapter will IP-enable circuit-switched desktop phones, according to Siemens. By transferring the switching fabric from the line card on the PBX to an Ethernet port, the adapter will allow enterprise users to convert to IP calls without buying new phone equipment, officials said. The Hipath IPWay will ship in the fall, with pricing yet to be released.

Siemens will also take the wraps off its Hipath 5300 IP PBX, which is aimed at companies that have fewer than 300 users and no investment in legacy phone equipment, and the Hipath 1Serve 150, which allows small and midsize businesses to network multiple voice systems into a single system using IP. The HiPath 5300 will ship in September, priced from $650 per seat, while 1Serve will be available in the first quarter of 2001, with pricing yet to be announced.

Also at the show, General Bandwidth will demonstrate voice calls over multiple types of broadband-access networks. Simulating a service provider's point of presence, General Bandwidth's G6 voice gateway will terminate voice calls over both DSL and cable lines, while at the same time providing interoperability between ATM and IP. The demonstration illustrates how to overcome problems with sending packetized voice calls via different broadband networks.

Meanwhile, 3Com Corp. will be at the show, unveiling multiple enhancements to the company's NBX LAN telephony solution, which allows voice traffic to be transmitted via Ethernet. 3Com officials said the company will be expanding the NBX system to include a broader range of customers and business requirements.

Also at the show, Mitel Corp. will showcase its Smart-1 I2AD VODSL (voice over DSL) access device, which will allow carriers to offer multiple voice channels and high-speed data transmission via a single copper phone line. According to Mitel officials, by connecting to analog PSTN (public switched telephone network) trunks as well as the primary VODSL connection, the device gives carriers more control over services.

Siemens AG, in Munich, Germany, is at www.siemens.com. General Bandwidth Inc., in Austin, Texas, is at www.generalbandwidth.com. 3Com Corp., in Santa Clara, California, is at www.3com.com. Mitel Corp., in Ottawa, is at www.mitel.com.

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