ITEXPO begins in:   New Coverage :  Asterisk  |  Fax Software  |  SIP Phones  |  Small Cells
June 2007
Volume 10 / Number 6
Feature Articles


IP-PBXs: What to Look for in a Bestof- Breed Solution

By Nimrod Borovsky, Feature Articles

Legacy PBXs Foil Enterprise Attempts to Reduce OpEx

Until recently, legacy PBX vendors based their legacy product on proprietary extensions, locking enterprises in for peripherals and added features/ capabilities, and charging excessively in the bargain.

Many legacy PBXs were available in a fragmented market. Enterprise integration and maintenance was difficult and costly. Each legacy product had its own quirks and eccentricities that required attention. This situation was troublesome to enterprises trying to reduce their operational expenses (OpEx).


Vendors commit to interoperability, freeing enterprises to choose from options

With SIP becoming the de-facto standard protocol for interoperable IP telephony equipment, no longer must the enterprise fall hostage to a single PBX vendor. In contrast to yesteryear, vendors are now committed to interoperability. Enterprises are therefore now free to choose a standards-based, best-of-breed solution. Enterprises can mix and match IP PBX software, media gateways, PC hardware platforms, applications (voicemail, unified messaging [Microsoft entering the Unified Messaging and Unified Communications world marks a turning point], IVR, recording, billing, etc.) and IP phones from different leading vendors. Enterprises can now choose - from multiple options - the best of each component's breed in the solution. An IP phone can be taken from one shelf, IP software from another, a messaging platform can be selected from a third vendor and a media gateway chosen from a fourth. The enterprise can deploy the four best-of-breed products together and they'll all interoperate successfully. Interoperability is probably the most significant factor to look for in bestof- breed solutions.

Unbundling IP PBXs, IP phones, media gateways and application servers like this has increased competition between vendors which has significantly reduced costs, support charges and upgrade fees.

Enterprises can, moreover, update their solution at will. If they're unhappy with their IP phones, for example, they can change them with IP phones from another vendor.

By hybridizing architectures, PBX vendors can offer their installed enterprise bases a non-disruptive migration from TDM to IP.

To enjoy the benefits, flexibility and cost reductions of IP telephony, an enterprise must keep the IP telephony network as standard as possible (based on SIP).


Legacy PBXs out, IP PBXs in

From 2003, sales of IP-enabled hybridized systems reportedly exceeded TDM exchanges. In 2005, sales of IP-PBXs reportedly surpassed traditional PBXs in terms of 'lines' deployed in the U.S. and Canada. According to a recent report published by the Gartner Group, PBX sales will foreseeably be completely IP by 2010, providing the basis for enterprise Unified Communications (UC) and for flexible and diverse networks which bare lower Operational Costs to manage.


Applications Galore

Software applications such as presence services, UC, business continuity and mobility are becoming increasingly important to enterprises. The IP telephony industry is therefore fast becoming driven by software applications, which are helping business increase their productivity, customer service, and operating successfully across geographically distributed locations, nationwide or internationally.

The IP PBX is essentially a server with software installed on it, so the savings in hardware is a factor. Open-source versions of IP PBX solutions are driving the price down further. Enterprises gain both in savings and flexibility from applications delivered on open source. Enterprise CIOs get guaranteed interoperability and testing of these applications, rapid development of features and a complete, fully supported core solution. Enterprises save on OpEx because it is easy for CIOs to install a fully functional office at any location that can be reached via a broadband connection. Applications such as UM can dramatically improve an enterprise's efficiency.

Management and collaboration applications significantly benefit distributed enterprises whose employees are mobile. Incoming calls can be prioritized and routed to specified locations. Employees can share their status with others. Collaboration utilities benefit mobile workers who can initiate and participate in conference calls, share documents, and conduct presentations from any location so long as there's an Internet connection.

Nimrod Borovsky is Director, Media Gateways Business Line, for AudioCodes. (news - alert) For more information visit the company online at


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