Office Network Systems in a Box


VoIP continues to be one of the most talked-about technologies for small business and AdTran, a Huntsville, Ala.-based company, sees a big opportunity in the ‘underserved’ small-and-medium sized business market. It’s not alone, either. IDC, a tech research firm, pegs VoIP’s value at $3.5 billion, but notes a current adoption rate of only about five percent.

AdTran’s bid to fill this gap&#151the just-announced NetVanta 7100&#151embodies the company’s philosophy of providing high value and big-system features without the complexity normally associated with operating a sophisticated, converged network platform.

“High costs and network complexity have limited the adoption of VoIP by small and medium business in the past,” said Tim Saunders, AdTran’s vice president of product management. “AdTran designed the NetVanta 710 specifically for SMBs that want the features but don’t have the IT staff or budget to support a large, complex system.”

The NetVanta 7100 is a SIP -based PBX &#151 including voice-mail and auto attendant&#151that will support up to 50 voice stations. It is also a 24-port PoE switch, IP router, IPSec -based VPN, with a stateful packet -inspection firewall and QoS to prioritize voice traffic.

Supporting the system’s feature richness is a set of management interfaces that sit on top of the AdTran Operating System (AOS): There’s a simple graphical interface for handling adds and changes, as well as a Web-based personal phone manager that lets you change the configuration of their phones. An optional ‘network productivity’ software package called n-Command lets authorized partners perform remote system backups and firmware updates.

AdTran does not sell directly, but works with certified reseller-partners or VARs, according to NetVanta 7100 product manager Paul Smelser. “These VARs also handle support contracts, and AdTran provides firmware updates for free,” Smelser said. “A key selling point,” he continued, “is that you don’t need additional licenses to do things like activate phones or voice-mail boxes. If you grow from 10 to 20 employees, you need to buy phones but there are no other charges.”

In addition to being ideal for single-site businesses, the NetVanta 7100 also serves the needs of companies with multiple branch locations: Placing a unit at each location, creates an integrated network, allowing all locations to share three- or four-digit dialing. Telecommuters, other personnel who need to work from home or other satellite offices can connect with a VPN appliance (AdTran offers one, the NetVanta 2054) for transparent voice and data access to the main network.

The NetVanta 7100 lists for $5,195 &#151 which the company says can work out to as little as $220 per port. It is available as of this month, exclusively in North America. AdTran also offers a line of IP (SIP) phones, as well as a PC-based softphone.

Adapted from voipplanet.com.

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