Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Aastra also Jumps Into IP-PBX Game

IP-phone vendor introduces Asterisk appliances to sell with its SIP phones.
Many IP-PBX vendors use Aastra Telecom SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) phones as part of the turnkey telephony systems they sell to small businesses. But those vendors often provide other phones in their packages as well, which means they do not offer customers the full range of Aastra phones. Aastra has devised a solution to that problem by developing its own IP PBX to sell with its phones.
he new product, which Aastra is introducing at the Spring 2008 VON.x Conference and Expo in San Jose, Calif., is called AastraLink Pro Model 160. Described as a"fanless appliance" by Astra Telecom executive vice president Yves Laliberte, the new product is built around DSP (digital signal processing) chips and solid-state electronics instead of conventional servers. It uses the Linux operating system and Asterisk call-control software. Aastra added its own user interface on top of the Asterisk program to make Pro Model 160 easier to set up and operate.

The PBX benefits from tight integration with the Aastra phones. A particular advantage is ease of use, according to Laliberte. After opening the box, a card instructs the user to plug a phone into a color-coded port. A few questions appear on the phone's LCD screen, asking for preferred language, time zone, and other features. Then the PBX gives the phone an extension number and it is ready to make calls. When other phones are plugged in, they also get automatic extensions. Wizard-based software allows the administrator to override the default choices and give phones different extension numbers.

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