DiVitas Offers a Solid Unified Communications Option

By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2008-11-24 Print this article Print

DiVitas Networks' newest mobile UC platform moves beyond the usual fixed mobile convergence features to include secured instant messaging, presence and visual voicemail. Such features made up for a disappointing setup experience.

With an excellent client experience on certain platforms and next-generation communications features overriding a few management shortcomings, DiVitas Network's mobile unified communication solution provides a fine alternative for businesses looking to fully integrate their smartphones with the corporate telephony server. 

With its second-generation platform, DiVitas Networks successfully expands beyond FMC (fixed mobile convergence) staple features like one-number portability across cellular and Wi-Fi networks and complete integration of mobile phones into the corporate PBX. With the latest iteration of its Mobile Unified Communications solution, DiVitas now features unified communications features like secured instant messaging, presence, and visual voicemail.

Pricing for the DiVitas solution is based on the number of users licensed within the system, with licenses sold in packages of 10, 25, 100 or 500.  With a list price of between $400 and $420 per user, the DiVitas solution would cost around $40,000 to $42,000 for 100 users, or $200,000 to $210,000 for 500 users. The license is all-inclusive for DiVitas features, as one-number portability, roaming between networks, presence and Visual Voicemail are all included in the base price.

However, system implementers should be aware that the DiVitas solution is sold as a software appliance for customers to install on their own equipment. Therefore, companies will need to factor in the need for server hardware into the upfront cost assessment. On its Web site, DiVitas lists four different hardware solutions prequalified for installation (including three Dell machines and one from Hewlett-Packard).     

DiVitas representatives claim a single server can handle up to 500 mobile users, depending on configuration.

On the Web site, DiVitas lists IP PBX systems from 11 different vendors among those supported (including Cisco Systems, Mitel Networks, Nortel Networks and Avaya), but because DiVitas proxies all call management and media traffic from the DiVitas client to the rest of the network via a SIP trunk, I'd expect DiVitas to work with just about any PBX that support SIP trunks. I tested the DiVitas solution in conjunction with a Trixbox/Asterisk deployment.

I was underwhelmed by the DiVitas' setup process, as I did not find the management interface intuitive, and it lacked any integrated help resources to guide me. This is an unfortunate shortcoming, because managing the DiVitas Server is really like managing a distinct second PBX-I had to make sure dial plans matched up on Trixbox and the DiVitas Server, and to configure extensions on the PBX and DiVitas Server, as well as both inbound and outbound rules. Adding to the confusion, the DiVitas Server also offered many services that may duplicate existing features on the existing telephony platform-the DiVitas Server runs its own voicemail service to deliver Visual Voicemail, and can be used to host conferences as well. 

I also found myself wanting some kind of directory integration, allowing me to pull user data via LDAP or Active Directory from an existing store where user contact data and group affiliations might already be defined. The administration page would let me import this data from a CSV file for large deployments, however.  

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for eWEEK.com, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at agarcia@eweek.com.

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