IP Telephony Runs On Legacy Phones

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2002-06-01 Print this article Print

CITEL's new gateway lets companies use legacy phone handsets with newer IP PBX technologies that provide telephony over a LAN.

For enterprises leery of making the switch to voice over IP, IP telephony vendor CITEL Technologies has a proposition: Begin making the move to IP voice without replacing the legacy handsets throughout a company. CITEL this week introduced its CITELlink IP Handset Gateway that allows companies to use legacy telephone handsets along with newer IP PBX technologies. The gateway simultaneously communicates in proprietary PBX protocols to the handsets of multiple vendors and in IP to the IP PBX serving the telephony features on the LAN, officials said. "Over the past two years, there has been a tremendous amount of interest in IP telephony applications but some of the biggest stumbling blocks for adoption were the lack of clear migration paths for customers utilizing legacy telephone systems as well as the daunting investment necessary to support these forklift implementations," said CITEL Chief Executive Officer Alan Law in a statement.
CITEL, of Seattle, estimates that there are more than 300 million legacy telephone handsets in the market. With such a large installed base, officials said, enterprises need an alternative to a complete replacement of those phones when they move toward the next-generation IP PBXes on the market. Customers also want to take advantage of newer features on IP PBXes such as computer-telephony integration (CTI) and unified messaging.
So far, CITEL has announced support for Nortel Networks Corp.s phones on its traditional Norstar telephone system. But CITEL is working on interoperability with the five vendors with a leading share of the installed base of legacy phones, a spokeswoman said. She said the company also plans to interoperate with multiple IP PBX vendors, the first of which will be with equipment from 3Com Corp. The CITELlink IP Handset Gateway, which will ship this month, has 16 ports per device. Each device has a retail price of $2,000, and the device can be linked together to support larger capacities, officials said.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for eWEEK.com, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for eWEEK.com. Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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