Siemens: Hybrid Path Is the Right Call

By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2005-01-24 Print this article Print

Siemens Communications responded to the desire of many customers to maintain conventional TDM PBXes alongside VOIP switches when the communications equipment vendor rolled out the HiPath 4000 series in 2002.

Siemens Communications Inc. responded to the desire of many customers to maintain conventional TDM PBXes alongside VOIP switches when the communications equipment vendor rolled out the HiPath 4000 series in 2002.

The HiPath 4000 was followed by the HiPath 4300 and 4500 and the HiPath 5000, a pure-IP switch. However, the 5000 failed to connect with many users because it required a full cutover to IP, said Steve Blood, an analyst at Gartner Inc., of Stamford, Conn.

But Blood has praise for the 4000 line. "The 4000 is a great hybrid, and its very scalable depending on the number of your endpoints."

Key to the hybrid strategy is Siemens CorNet and CorNet IP proprietary software, which supports both TDM (time-division multiplexing) and IP switches. With CorNet implemented, enterprises can support their circuit-switched telephony infrastructures as they move to greater IP deployment. Gradually, users can implement applications that take advantage of CorNets IP capabilities and what some are calling "second-generation VOIP."

"Once companies have a natural evolution of their infrastructure in place, theyre in a position to support VOIP," said Blood. "In new offices, theres no reason to go to TDM at all," he added.

Some companies are learning the hard way that hosted VOIP is not always enterprise-ready. Click here to read more. One benefit of this more sophisticated VOIP (voice over IP) is so-called presence, in which a users presence, including the users phone number, can be recognized wherever the user might be on the network.

Siemens Information and Communication Networks Director of Marketing Mark Straton emphasizes the role of telephony across WLANs (wireless LANs) in the mix. "Second-generation VOIP is wireless-focused and communications portal-based," Straton said.

The communications portal Siemens is offering is OpenScape, which supports presence. "It tells the system where you are," said Straton.

Blood noted that Siemens worked with Microsoft to develop OpenScape and its presence capabilities, which he said will be most attractive to mobile users, particularly in combination with instant messaging, conferencing and collaboration. "If someone is sitting at a desk, somewhere in the world, the system knows where you are."

Straton said that Nissan North America Inc., based in Gardena, Calif., this year will evaluate OpenScape for one-number service, conferencing and collaboration.

As a future platform, Siemens is promoting its HiPath 8000, a carrier-class switch that might be suitable for some large enterprises.

"The 8000 is a managed-service-provider product. I think there is a value in that product for large distributed companies, although it will take some time for somebody to transition to it," said Elizabeth Herrell, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., in Cambridge, Mass.

Nissan will evaluate the 8000 for use in its Denver data center to manage as many as 100,000 users globally, said Maura Cotter, Siemens global account manager for Nissan, in Los Angeles.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on voice over IP and telephony.
Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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