3Com parades new VOIP telephony kit

New IP telephony offerings targeted at small and medium sized businesses.

The impending acquisition of 3Com by Huawei Technologies and Bain Capital, overshadowed its US unveiling of new IP telephony offerings targeted at small and medium sized businesses (SMBs).

According to the network giant, it will deliver Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) software-based IP telephony call control and unified messaging in a single-server package. The new VCX Platform "brings enterprise-calibre IP telephony to SMBs seeking to unify communications and applications on an open platform."

The VCX Platform comes in two guises, namely VCX Connect 100 which offers voice capabilities for organizations with 30 to 100 users. Meanwhile, the VCX Connect 200 is more suited for organizations with up to 250 users.

The new products sit alongside 3Com's existing portfolio of voice products, including the 3Com NBX IP telephony platforms for SMBs, and the 3Com VCX IP telephony platforms for mid-sized and large enterprises.

"VCX is based on same software architecture as our enterprise line and is SIP based," said Mike Valiant, voice solution marketing manager at 3Com. "This allows us to interoperate with many other products going forward, and for example it also supports full redundancy."

"NBX does have a SIP approach, but it does not have full redundancy processes," said Valiant.

The VCX Connect platform will allow users to access telephony applications remotely without dialling in to a company server, as well as self-administrate via the Web, use IP conferencing and remote collaboration tools, and call from multimedia devices.

VCX Connect is available now but only in the United States. Prices start from US$7,000. Valiant confirmed that the new products are not expected in the EMEA region until early next year.

3Com has also launched the 3Com Asterisk Appliance, an open source voice-over-IP (VOIP) system based on Digium's Asterisk Appliance, intended for up to 30 phone users. It offers a small-footprint, open source VOIP system for a single site and works with 3Com's full line of telephone handsets.

"We have made no secret it is based on a Digium product," said Valiant, "but 3Com has global channels and a global support operation."

"There is a proportion of the market looking at open source," believes Valiant. "Asterisk Appliance allows customers to buy with confidence due to 3Com's global support capabilities."

Prices of 3Com Asterisk Appliance start from US$1,595 and it too is only available in EMEA in the new year.

Computerworld Australia is waiting on confirmation of local availability.

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