Siemens Tunes IP Telephony with Phones, Communications System

A new codec in its optiPoint 410 line of IP phones will provide 7KHz of bandwidth, compared with 3.3KHz in traditional PBX phones.

Siemens Information and Communication Networks Inc. on Monday will seek to raise the bar for sound quality and features in IP telephony offerings when it introduces a new line of IP phones and the latest release of its HiPath 4000 Real-Time IP System.

The new optiPoint 410 line of IP phones bring even greater sound quality than traditional Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phones, thanks to a new codec that delivers 7KHz of bandwidth, compared to the traditional 3.3KHz provided in PBX phones.

Siemens said it expects the improved sound quality will make for more productive phone calls—especially conference calls with multiple parties. Thats because listeners wont have to work as hard determining who said what and whether a consonant sound was a P or an T. "With the new codec, we think we can significantly decrease the complexity of listening to business calls—especially conference calls. People can spend more time thinking about the context of the conversation instead of who said what," said Joan Vandermate, vice president of product management for platforms and desktops in San Jose, Calif.

The optiPoint line includes four models ranging from basic to high-end phones and a series of snap-in and snap-on modules that add features such as a large, pixelated grayscale touch-screen display for directory dialing, integrating a Web browser or other functions.

"They are very modular phones—like Legos. You can add new modules to extend their functions," Vandermate said.

Version 2.0 of the IP communications system ups the ante for resiliency—even compared with traditional Time Division Multiplexing PBXes—by exploiting the dynamic rerouting capabilities in IP-based networks.

"It is as reliable and has all the things the PBX had—self-diagnostics, self-monitoring, graceful shutdown of processes, hardened Unix and so on—but unlike the traditional PBX, it can do dynamic rerouting," Vandermate said. "You can make it more impervious to attack. You can distribute the elements of it so that if you have a failure at the main site (from a natural disaster), the system can continue to function. You can put redundancy options and failover servers at other locations."

Version 2.0 was also re-architected to operate in a more modular fashion, allowing it to scale more easily and less expensively to accommodate growth. A system initially designed to support 20 users can scale to support up to 100,000 users in a single administrative domain.

The HiPath 4000 system is aimed at medium to large enterprises. Version 2.0 is also due in January.

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