NetPhone Announces NT-Based Intranet Telephony Product
- By Scott Bekker
- September 14, 1998
NetPhone Inc. (Marlborough, Mass., www.netphone.com
) today announced the NetPhone Connect IP telephony gateway and NetPhone Connect IPBX, two products designed for corporate users to place long-distance calls between offices over their company’s intranet.
The NetPhone Connect Windows NT-based product is designed to be interoperable with legacy PBXs, allowing customers to continue using their digital or analog telephones. NetPhone Connect integrates with PBXs using T1 or E1 digital trunks or analog four-wire E&M interface.
The PBX routes calls from within the office to the NetPhone Connect gateway, which converts voice signals into a stream of packets to be sent over the intranet. Users do not need to dial additional digits to reach the IP network; they simply dial the extension of any employee in the company, regardless of location. The gateway automatically sends all interoffice calls to the intranet.
Remote offices that do not already have a PBX in place can use the NetPhone Connect IPBX, which includes full PBX and NetPhone Connect functionality. The NetPhone Connect IPBX provides a voice and data connection to the corporate data center of an NT server, where the NetPhone Connect gateway handles traffic from branch offices and routes calls to other offices as necessary. Callers can use the software provided by NetPhone, or they can use Microsoft Corp.'s NetMeeting.
There are two main reasons that users might choose this technology. The first one, as NetPhone vice president of marketing and business development Mike Katz says, is cost. "You are able to remove that cost [long distance] from the equation and put that call onto your data network," says Katz. "Having a solution that comes to market that allows you to have this sort of connection actually pays for itself."
The other reason, which can be extrapolated from NetPhone’s motto, "Always up," is reliability. PBXs aren’t likely to fail or crash. NT Server, however, isn’t exactly invulnerable. By having the two together, the phone services stay up, even when the server goes down.
Bern Elliot, an independent telephony consultant working in Philadelphia, says the segment of customers most likely to use this technology is companies who have to stay in constant contact with their branch offices.
NetPhone’s Katz says other possibilities could include mobile salespeople and employees working from home. They could use the intranet to call their home office and vice versa.
Consultant Elliot also stated that what makes this solution most appealing to IT managers is that they don’t have to go looking for a way to pay for a new connection. "[Managers] already did that with getting dedicated data connections. This isn’t a new connection; it’s just adding a functionality," says Elliot. -- Brian Ploskina, Assistant Editor
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.