Toshiba Taps Vendors To Support VoIP System

To support the new Toshiba Strata CIX IP-PBX, Toshiba last week secured partnerships to resell equipment and services from SMC Networks, SonicWall and Peak Technologies via its channel of 450 VARs, integrators and interconnects.

Toshiba will act as a one-stop shop for solution providers working with its VoIP platform, offering managed Ethernet switches and WLAN infrastructure products from SMC, Irvine, Calif.; VPN firewalls and security services from SonicWall, Sunnyvale, Calif.; and network assessment and installation services from Peak Technologies, Columbia, Md.

"As a dealer, this is an easier way to bring all of these resources to bear, knowing that they've all been tested [for interoperability]," said John Zeller, president of ATS Communications, an interconnect based in Concord, Calif.

For some partners, the ability to offer Peak Technologies' services will help bridge gaps as they build their own convergence capabilities, said Don Frank, president of Digital and Analog Design, Cincinnati. "Toshiba has done a pretty good job figuring out ways to defray [up-front] costs," he said.

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The Strata CIX, which began shipping March 1, is Toshiba's first pure-IP VoIP system. It is aimed at the SMB market and competes with pure-IP platforms from Cisco Systems, San Jose, Calif., and 3Com, Marlborough, Mass. Until now, Toshiba's voice portfolio has consisted of TDM and hybrid VoIP/TDM systems.

Toshiba plans to continue offering its full range of voice products. "We can show the advantages of all the technologies and let the customers decide which is best for them," said Chris Labrador, vice president of product technology at Irvine-based Toshiba's Digital Solutions Division