-and-Coming Rivals"> While its network advantages are considerable, Covad does not have its end-to-end marketor the PBX gatewaying ideato itself. M5 Networks, based in New York, is another VOIP Centrex contender geared to enterprises in the T1 bandwidth category. It also manages the last mile and sells both voice and data services. It doesnt publish an offer to gateway out from corporate PBXes, though. VeriSign is about to launch a similar service in the fourth quarter, with VOIP firewall management. It may be geared entirely toward the on-prem PBX side. Covads SIP-speaking softswitch is from Sylantro Systems, its application server from Broadsoft, and its IP phones can come from Cisco Systems, Polycom or Swissvoice.One T1 or SDSL connection can support as many as 32 simultaneous calls, depending on the volume of data that also may be running through the router. Check out eWEEK.coms VOIP & Telephony Center at http://voip.eweek.com for the latest news, views and analysis on voice over IP and telephony.
The service can be purchased on a flat-rate basis with unlimited local and long distance ranging from $36.95 to $59.95 per DID line/extension per month, depending on volume. The per-minute plan goes for $26 to $32 per station, plus three to five cents a minute.