Siemens Boosts IP Telephony Offerings

The vendor is touting its optiPoint 410 phones as low-cost, full-featured handsets that offer better voice quality than traditional phones.

The improvements in voice quality stem from Siemens ICN's use of the G.722 codec, which provides 7KHz of wideband voice transmission, compared with 3.3KHz delivered by traditional handsets, said Keith Kettell, director of enterprise line management at Siemens ICN, Boca Raton, Fla.

The product family includes five new phones with feature sets ranging from entry level to advanced. The line supports Session Initiation Protocol, an emerging call control standard, and can work with any non-Siemens system that also supports the protocol.

The new family of phones also includes snap-in modules that give users the flexibility of adding voice dialing, touch screens or larger displays, Kettell said.

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"Since they are add-on attachments, you only buy them if you have a use for them," he said.

Priced lower than Siemens ICN's current omniPoint 400 IP handsets, the new phones will help the vendor's partners put together more competitive IP telephony solutions, said Jim Gatt, president of Business Communications Systems, a communications integrator in Detroit.

"These are more cost-effective, and that's one area we had a disadvantage with the 400s," Gatt said.

The phones are slated for a January release with prices starting at $140.

The vendor also introduced version 2.0 of its HiPath 4000 IP communications system, which adds improved resiliency and survivability features, Kettell said

The system includes a modular, redundant architecture that scales to support up to 12,000 traditional and IP phone users per server and up to 100,000 users across multiple servers.

Like its predecessor, version 2.0, which is based on Unix, provides alternative network routing that can send traffic over the public network if there is performance degradation or failure on the WAN.

The new version also offers options that enable phones connected to a failing system to continue operations through an IP Distirbuted Access Point located at another site. In addition, the new version supports the vendor's HiPath 3000 Survivable Media Gateway, which assumes control of local phones if there's a problem with the WAN that prevents them from connecting to the central system.

Version 2.0 is scheduled to ship in March for about $400 per port.