Vendor Network Architectures�Part XXIX: Altigen Communications

This ten-year-old company produces all-in-one, call-center-capable phone systems for smaller enterprises.

By Mark A. Miller | Posted Jun 13, 2006
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Altigen Communications, Inc., of Fremont, Calif., was founded in 1994, and shipped its first products in 1996. The company designs, manufactures, and markets Internet Protocol-based Private Branch Exchange (IP-PBX) systems and IP call centers that leverage the capabilities of both the Internet and the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). These systems are targeted at small to medium size businesses with 10 to 1,000 users per location.

Altigen also has a business philosophy that is a refreshing departure from the standard "our goal is to generate a maximum return for our investors" that you often read, in that the Altigen objective is "to be a significant company." And this "significance" is stated in four areas:

  • Significant in the way our products help independent, growth-focused companies drive forward.
  • Significant in the way we treat and support our customers.
  • Significant in the way we treat our Authorized Partners, who represent us to our customers.
  • Significant in the way we treat our employees. On average, our employees have worked at AltiGen more than five years.
The Altigen VoIP system consists of a hardware platform called the AltiServ, and a number of software modules that provide application-specific functions. The AltiServ has been shipping since 1996, and is marketed as an "all-in-one" phone system that includes the licensing for the operator, telephone extensions, and call control software. The system includes all standard PBX features, plus a comprehensive voicemail system, call detail recording function, and an advanced automatic attendant. It is capable of supporting VoIP, analog, or a combination of connections, and is compatible with the ITU-T H.323 protocol, which allows interoperability with other H.323-compliant systems.

Altigen has also developed a number of software products that complement and enhance the operation of the AltiServ. These include:

  • AltiAdmin: is an administrative console that facilitates the management of switching, extension, workgroup, and messaging functions through a graphical interface. The console communicates with the phone system using TCP/IP, which therefore allows remote management via an IP network connection. Configuration functions include all trunk and extension features, outbound and inbound call routing, automatic attendants, call center workgroups and agent configurations, voice messaging, IP phone configuration, configuration backup/restoral functions, and system performance reporting and monitoring.
  • AltiConsole: an application that enables an operator attendant to handle a high volume of calls while viewing the real time status of any local extension, performing corporate directory lookups, and placing outside calls, plus conference calls to both internal and external numbers—as well as other typical console operations, such as voicemail transfer and overhead paging.
  • AltiView: a Windows PC-based client application that provides desktop control to the end user. Functions include: Caller ID for incoming calls, the ability to handle multiple calls, placing calls on hold, transferring calls to voicemail, other extensions, or automatic attendants, conference calling, speed dial lists, and call histories.
  • AltiReport: a web-based reporting application that can generate up to 40 Call Detail Record (CDR) reports, including reports that are personalized according to the workgroup, agent, or other sorting requirements. The reports include information detailing an agent's call activity, call details, contribution to the workgroup, and call handling time. The Workgroup report analyzes the inbound answered call waiting time, inbound abandoned call waiting time, outbound call handling time, daily call queuing statistics, and other call center-specific metrics.
  • AltiAgent and AltiSupervisor: AltiAgent is a Windows desktop application designed to improve agent performance in a workgroup or call center environment. Agents can view the queue, monitor workgroup status, and measure their own performance. AltiSupervisor is allows the group supervisor to view the real time status of any workgroup or extension, view statistics of agent and workgroup performance, and read the real time queue status.

Altigen has also developed two IP telephones, the Models IP510 and IP710, and a softphone, called IP Talk, which turns a PC into a full featured IP telephone. Further details on the Altigen products can be found at www.altigen.com. Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors' architectures.

Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2006 DigiNet ® Corporation, All Rights Reserved


Author's Biography
Mark A. Miller, P.E. is President of DigiNet ® Corporation, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.

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