Office Systems in a Box

Huntsville, Ala.-based ADTRAN Inc. sees a big opportunity in the ‘underserved’ small and medium size business market for VoIP. One research organization (IDC) pegs its value at $3.5 billion, but notes a current adoption rate of only about 5 percent.

ADTRAN’s bid to fill this gap—the just-announced NetVanta 7100—embodies 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 ADTRAN vice president of product management, Tim Saunders. “ADTRAN designed the NetVanta 7100 specifically for SMBs who 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—including voicemail and auto attendant—that 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 user interface for handling adds and changes, as well as a Web-based personal phone manager that lets users 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 no additional licenses are required to do things like activate phones or voicemail 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 enterprises with multiple branch locations: By placing a unit at each location, an integrated network is created, allowing all locations to share three- or four-digit dialing. Telecommuters, or 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 list price for the NetVanta 7100 is $5,195—which the company says can cost out as low 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.

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