3Com Gets Branch Offices Dialed In To VCX IP Telephony

Unlike competitive offerings, 3Com&'s VCX V6000 Integrated Branch Communications platform provides an affordable way to keep its enterprise customers&' branch office VoIP systems up and running locally without scaling back features if they lose their WAN connection, solution providers said.

“Almost every other [competitive] solution has centralized voice mail, so you lose your voice mail if the WAN connection goes down. … Here, [it] is replicated on both systems, so you never lose your voice mail,” said Sean Kelley, vice president of IP communications at CBE Technologies, Boston. Conversely, if the local box fails, remote users can run off the central system, he said.

The V6000 is 3Com&'s latest hardware platform to support its VCX Linux-based softswitch. 3Com this week is also launching release 7.0 of its VCX software, which adds support for the vendor&'s 3103 Manager Phone, a SIP-based Gigabit phone with Power over Ethernet that previously could only be used with 3Com&'s SMB-focused NBX VoIP platform.

The new, 1U V6000 box supports the VCX call control, call center and IP messaging software, said Mike Leo, director of marketing for the convergence business unit at 3Com, Marlborough, Mass. Available now at a list price of $3,500, the V6000 box costs approximately 50 percent less than 3Com&'s V7005, its other VCX hardware option, Leo said. The VCX software license costs $1,000.

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In many cases, VCX represents a longer, riskier sales cycle than 3Com&'s traditionally SMB-focused VoIP partners care to deal with, and 3Com is still in the midst of recruiting large systems integrators, said Don Gulling, president of Verteks Consulting, an Ocala, Fla., solution provider. Verteks is not yet VCX-authorized but is in the exploratory stages of a potential VCX deal, he said.

“I&'ve seen it live at two customer sites. It does work, and it&'s very cool, but the challenge is one of maybe not having enough partners with enterprise experience and background selling into the enterprise to represent VCX,” Gulling said.