Mitels Upgraded IP PBX Boosts Scale, SIP Compliance

With Release 5 of its 3300 Integrated Communications Platform IP PBX, Mitel also aims for better network management, security and remote-site survivability.

Mitel has announced Release 5 of its 3300 Integrated Communications Platform IP PBX, advancing on a published roadmap aimed at higher scale, increased SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) compliance, network management, security and remote-site survivability.

"Mitel clearly wants to break out of its traditional, midsize niche to increase its addressable market," said Ronald Gruia, a Toronto-based telecom analyst with Frost & Sullivan. Customer wins of the past year–including the French retailer Auchand and CompUSA–give the vendor claims on this segment, he said.

Release 5.0 of Mitel Networks Corp.s IP PBX ups the platforms scale from 30,000 to 65,000 users, and takes its maximum distributed network from 60 to 250 separate 3300 servers, which can be small enough to serve small branch offices or retail stores. These nodes include their own gateway for local PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) access, and perform switching for on-prem extensions. They also can run Mitels suite of contact center and presence-enabled tools.

A less expensive option for branch offices is a newly announced 3300 Gateway, aimed at sites whose switching is performed elsewhere, at the central server. Although the gateway will not ordinarily perform on-site call control, it will do so in failover mode, in addition to providing pooled access to–and local-number access from—the PSTN. Starting price, for six to eight phones, is $2,000.

Mitel is also addressing economy in adding SIP compliance to two of its IP phones. The Mitel 5215 and 5220 run Mitels proprietary MiNET protocol for operation with the ICP 330 but also will run SIP, allowing users to point them at such SIP-based PBXes as Asterisks or Snoms, or to another SIP proxy server.

A previously released extension, the 5207, runs MiNet packets only but has been upgraded to function more like a key system phone, with more buttons; these let office workers pick up any visible incoming line from the same desktop.

The 5215 will retail for about $235, the 5220 for $310, and the 5207–with only half-duplex speaker phone capability–for $199, according to Kevin Johnson, Mitels director of product marketing. The ICP 3300 is due to be SIPified some time next year.

For soho or very small offices, Mitel is also offering a line interface gateway module that plugs directly into IP phones. This would let teleworkers fall back to PSTN connectivity for WAN failure or 911 calls, and is invoked by selecting the line with one key press.

And just as Mitel is making IP phones that can work with other IP PBXes, it is allowing its ICP 3300 to work–at least wirelessly—with phones of other makes.

Following Symbol Technologies Inc.s exit from the handset market, Release 5.0 replaces it with support for SpectraLink Corp.s 802.11 wireless phone. It also supports the European DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephone) standard for wireless phones, announcing compatibility with DECT phones from German manufacturer DeTeWe AG & Co.

According to Gruia, DECT technology is fated to be equaled in price and replaced by 802.11, but it still shows legs in the European market, where it was part of Mitels deployment deal with Auchan.

Next Page: Hot desking, encryption and voice mail with e-mail.