Linksys Addresses Growing Small Business VoIP Market

The new products include the SPA-9000 IP-PBX, a line of IP desktop phones and an analog gateway that connects the system to the PSTN, all of which are deployed in conjunction with a service provider&'s hosted VoIP offering, said Sherman Scholten, director of product marketing in Linksys&' voice engineering division.

The SPA-9000, based on SIP, comes with support for up to four users and is expandable to 16 users. It comes equipped with an auto-attendant feature that automatically routes calls and configures business voice-mail settings. Other advanced features include the ability to park calls, page other users on the system and set up hold music, Scholten said.

Scott Holcomb, CEO of Holcomb Enterprises, a Mission Viejo, Calif.-based solution provider, said the market for IP-PBX equipment is growing rapidly. “Companies are moving away from unmanaged switches, and connectivity itself has become the overriding issue,” he said.

Linksys plans to train VARs with little or no VoIP experience on how to sell and install the new equipment, said Allen Powell, director of channel sales at Linksys. Linksys has signed two Internet telephony service providers (ITSPs) that are in the process of developing services around the SPA-9000: VoicePulse, North Brunswick, N.J., and RNK Telecom, Dedham, Mass., and plans to add more, he said.

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“Our goal is to drive the marketplace,” Powell said, adding that Linksys will make the products available to VARs once the ITSPs are ready to roll out services, which will likely be sometime this quarter.

The new VoIP lineup is not part of the Linksys One VoIP portfolio rolled out in November, which targets customers with five to 50 seats and teams the Irvine, Calif.-based vendor with carriers such as MCI, now part of Verizon.

Authorized partners can purchase evaluation units of the SPA-9000 IP-PBX, desktop phones and PSTN gateway from Linksys distributors now. The SPA-9000 is priced at $399.99, the phones range from $89.99 to $179.99 and the Analog PSTN Gateway is priced at $89.99.