Comdial lowers the cost of the first incremental steps toward VOIP for its small and medium-sized customers.
I saw some high-end, feature-rich, browser-directable SIP phones at Supercomm last week, those exploiting the favored Session Initiation Protocol for VOIP. They all made use of presence awareness, and integrated with IM, conferencing, and other applications. Ill get around to describing them, seen at Siemens Information and Communication Networks Inc.s and Alcatels exhibits.
First, though, Im a little more tickled at the SIP product announcements from little Comdial Corporation, Sarasota, Fla.-based makers of PBXs for small to mid-sized businesses. They sell strictly through channel partners, have been particularly popular with hotels and hospitals, and have now come out with a SIP-based product line that combines PBX with SIP soft phone, hard phones, instant messaging and video calling. Theyve dubbed it the CONVERSip MP5000 Media Platform.
Mindful of its resellers CAPEX-resistant customers, Comdial has devised a component sales strategy that preserves existing Comdial investment wherever possible: in digital phone sets, the line cards they tie into, preexisting H.323 gateways, and even cabinet.
The MP5000 can be implemented in the FX II late-model Comdial PBX with as little an upgrade as a new processor blade. The MP5000 SIP Server Blade replaces the processor blade in the FX II platform and will sell for about $1,500, says Mark Lindsay, marketing VP at Comdial. The MP5000 SIP Server License, required to turn up SIP features, runs another $500.
Lindsay notes that if all a customer wants to do is let remote or traveling workers talk to each other or video PC-to-PC over broadband data links, this blade, plus Comdials EP200 Windows XP client (image at right), will set up the peer-to-peer connection. (Theyll have to VPN into the enterprise network first, he adds, to get behind the firewall.)
Theres also a hardware SIP phone, the EP300. Street price, with software license: $400.
Next Page: SIPping VOIP From The Road
Ellen Muraskin is editor of eWEEK.com's VOIP & Telephony Center. She has worked on the editorial staff at Computer Telephony, since renamed Communications Convergence, including three years as executive editor. Muraskin's work has also appeared in Popular Science magazine and other publications.