SUNNYVALE, CALIF. (04/14/2000) - If you want to connect branch offices to voice and data networks via a single access pipe, Vertical Networks Inc. has just increased your options.
Vertical is adding four integrated access devices to its InstantOffice product line that the company claims can perform the functions of a branch office's PBX, voice mail system, automated attendant, hub, router and remote access server.
The new devices are based on two different chassis, one for offices with up to 36 people, the InstantOffice 3000, and one for offices with up to 84 people, the InstantOffice 5000.
Both can be fitted with extra processing power to handle additional applications. These models, the 3500 and 5500, support a Check Point firewall and a Xios call accounting program for tracking use of wide-area links.
The devices have analog ports for plugging in phones and 10/100M-bps Ethernet ports for connecting to the office LAN. On the WAN side, the boxes can be fitted with cards that support T-1, Primary Rate Interface ISDN, 56K-bps digital data service, frame relay or analog phone lines.
So, for example, an InstantOffice could be connected to a corporate frame relay network and make it possible to dial voice calls from office to office using packet voice over the frame relay links.
That is the case with Crown Services, a San Jose roofing contractor that is buying up smaller roofing firms. The company installs InstantOffices at the firms it buys to tie them in to Crown's corporate frame relay network, says IT Director Michael Dyer.
Employees can call office-to-office via voice over IP that is wrapped in frame relay frames, saving on the cost of office-to-office calls on the public phone network. Each box is fitted with two regular phone lines for calls that must travel over the public phone network, he says.
While the boxes represent a single point of failure for all office communications, Dyer says he has been satisfied with their reliability. Also, individual functions within a box could fail without affecting others, says Pete Daily, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan.
The devices range in price from $5,600 to $17,180.
Vertical is also reselling a line of digital phones to go with InstantOffice.