3Com Teams With AudioCodes To Offer VoIP Gateways, Media Servers

The AudioCodes products will carry 3Com's brand name and complement the networking vendor's recently launched VCX 7000 IP telephony softswitch, said David Hattey, vice president and general manager of enterprise voice solutions at 3Com, Marlborough, Mass.

The companies are still developing plans to bring the AudioCodes product line together with 3Com's lower-end NBX IP-PBXes, which currently include built-in gateway capabilities, Hattey said.

3Com is developing a strategy to unify the two platforms, he said. The NBX line runs on the Wind River VxWorks operating system, while the VCX 7000 runs on Sun's Solaris operating system.

AudioCodes is supplying 3Com with three product lines: its Mediant 2000 digital gateways, IPmedia 2000 media servers and MediaPack analog gateways.

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"This really brings us into a new market," said David Sullivan, vice president of North American sales at AudioCodes, San Jose, Calif. "The enterprise is an area we just haven't had much of a presence in," he said.

AudioCodes' heritage lies in the carrier market, where it has OEMed products to vendors such as Alcatel, Nortel Networks and Siemens, Sullivan said.

3Com has been selling AudioCodes-branded products, along with early VCX implementations, through its direct-sales force and select channel partners for the past seven months, Hattey said.

The networking vendor is preparing the launch of a channel program around the VCX product line, which will open sales of the softswitch to a broader number of solution providers.

The program launch, which Hattey described as "imminent," has required 3Com to renegotiate licensing contracts for some of the third-party technology included in the VCX 7000.

"Some of the licenses did not contemplate going through two-tier distribution, so we've had to go back and renegotiate," Hattey said. "There are a few signatures left to get," he said.

3Com had said the program would likely launch by the end of this month.

The vendor has been selling the VCX 7000 primarily through its direct-sales force since the product's North American launch at the end of April. The switch comes from CommWorks, the service provider business unit 3Com sold to telecom gear maker UTStarcom in March.