Siemens to Launch Next-Gen IP PBX

The company's HiPath 8000 RealTime IP System, meant to bring VOIP technology to large enterprises, emphasizes centralized systems deployment, lower total cost of ownership, standard hardware and protocols.

Siemens Information and Communication Networks Inc. on Monday will launch its next-generation IP PBX in an effort to change the rules of engagement for providing large enterprises with voice-over-IP (VOIP) technology.

Siemens ICN is targeting its new HiPath 8000 RealTime IP System at the data center of large-scale enterprises with as many as 100,000 users. Its second-generation architecture emphasizes centralized, rather than distributed, systems deployment; lower total cost of ownership; standard hardware; and protocols.

"Were seeing a trend to combine data applications and centralize them into data centers to deliver IT services in a much more efficient and consistent way," said Nigel Trueman, director of product management for the HiPath 8000 in Boca Raton, Fla.

"The HiPath 8000 builds on that IT strategy and making real-time communications—with associated applications—a service that can be delivered to the whole end-user community," Trueman said. "The result is a common set of services that can be delivered anywhere and no matter what access method you are using."

The HiPath 8000 software was architected for scalability and resilience. On its own, the software in the system provides fully redundant 99.9999 percent reliability. It runs on Linux-based IBM servers. "The middleware that runs on top of the OS and hardware platform hardens the underlying software and hardware layers," Trueman said.

The software implements the IETF standard Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), allowing it to work with Siemens products and a range of third-party SIP devices. Siemens has already tested it with SIP devices from Cisco Systems Inc., Polycom Inc. and Pingtel Corp.

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For remote branch offices, the HiPath 8000 also works with a new survivable media gateway, dubbed the hiG 1000. The hiG 1000 option links to local time-division multiplexing (TDM) trunks to provide resiliency should the WAN link fail.

"If the WAN connection is lost, it provides survivability," Trueman said. "Sites can still call each other, make PSTN calls and function as they would if the WAN was up." The gateway can support as many as 2,000 users per site.

The second-generation IP PBX supports the HiPath line of IP applications from Siemens and third-party developers. Those include the desktop call control application HiPath ComAssistant 8000, which allows users to manage incoming voice calls, voice mail and e-mail. The Web-based application also allows users to filter and route incoming calls.

The HiPath 8000 also works with applications from IP Unity that provide Web conferencing, audio conferencing, voice and unified messaging.

It is due in the fourth quarter, and a minimum configuration supporting 5,000 users starts at $305 per user. The gateway is priced at $20,000 for a two-port version or $50,000 for a 16-port version.

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