Unix client-server can replace that old PBX

Unix client-server can replace that old PBX

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

Alcatel S.A. of Paris has a Unix client-server telecommunications system that can take the place of an analog private branch exchange.

The OmniPCX 4400 voice over IP system claims 99.999 percent availability for PBX features such as least-cost routing and carrier selection. It integrates with existing data networks.

'The real benefits are not in voice over IP, but in what you can get by integrating voice and data,' said Douglas Hill, vice president of communications. 'The bigger issue is what you do at the application level.'

OmniPCX offers unified access to voice and e-mail in a common interface; digital handsets that dial by voice prompts or through a PC; and number mobility, which lets a user set a routing policy for calls. A calendar sends calls to follow the user's location.

OmniPCX integrates with a network directory for dialing.

Although voice over IP service eliminates a separate voice network, the OmniPCX can switch calls to a circuit-switched network if packet loss and delay become too high. Quality of voice traffic depends on how well the IP network is managed, Hill said.

Race is on

He said nascent voice over IP services are developing rapidly and will overtake PBXes within five years.

The government so far has held back on adopting voice over IP. Alcatel's director of federal sales, Mike Paluzzi, said federal officials like the phone number mobility and the possibility of integrating call centers with Web sites, but they are still defining their needs.

'Will they move to voice over IP in a big way in 2000? Probably not,' Paluzzi said.

The OmniPCX 4400, which scales up to 50,000 users, starts at $40,000 for a 100-user system.

Contact Alcatel at 800-995-2612.

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