Computer connections Featured

9:58am EDT July 22, 2002

Lucent Technologies has announced a family of next-generation communications systems that makes it easy for small and mid-sized businesses to converge voice, data and fax traffic over their local and wide area networks and the Internet.

Called Lucent IP Exchange Systems, the open, software-based systems integrate an advanced telephone system with industry-standard computers and networking equipment. They give businesses a simple way to move all voice, data and fax communications over a single Internet Protocol network, eliminating the need for separate voice and data networks. Developed by Bell Laboratories, the scalable systems are easy to use, install, service and maintain. They can be used by enterprises as an alternative to a key system or PBX, in conjunction with a PBX and by service providers to offer advanced network IP services.

The IP Exchange System’s family includes the IP ExchangeComm system, which is designed for mid-sized businesses with single or multiple locations, and service providers, and IP ExchangeLink system, designed for small businesses as a turnkey solution.

“IP Exchange Systems are the next step in the evolution of communications,” says Angie McGuire, Lucent vice president of General Business Systems and Services. “By making it easy for businesses to manage sophisticated voice and data communications over one network, the IP Exchange Systems deliver on Lucent’s promise to help customers reduce the cost and complexity of their networks while giving them the flexibility and power of an open systems platform.”

The IP Exchange Systems are based on a distributed software platform developed by Bell Labs called Mantra. The Mantra call model provides a high level of interoperability, creating a media—and operating system—independent platform that can connect directly to IP networks. The software also makes it easier and faster for programmers to develop new applications and add software supporting new protocols.

“By creating this open environment, the IP Exchange Systems architecture frees businesses from dependency on single vendor, proprietary equipment and software, enabling them to choose the data, telephony and CTI applications and devices that best meet their needs,” McGuire said.

The initial system release will support analog telephones, Lucent’s PARTNER systems, cordless phones, fax machines and Microsoft NetMeeting clients. Lucent will be building the interfaces needed to support other feature phones. Support for IP phones will be available in 1999.

The IP Exchange systems support traditional key system calling features and functions such as conference, transfer, hold, drop, call forwarding, call waiting and voice mail, as well as more advanced applications such as interactive voice response and call centers. Future software releases and upgrades will support capabilities that take advantage of voice and data convergence, including unified messaging, personal assistants and text-to-speech capabilities.

The IP Exchange Systems are simple to maintain and administer. Lucent has built remote diagnostics and maintenance capabilities into the systems, giving businesses the option of having a third party handle routine adds, moves and changes, system upgrades and system management from a remote location. The system’s management platform is designed with an intuitive Web-based user interface, allowing IP Exchange Systems to become part of a business’s total data networking management solution.

The IP ExchangeComm system will be available this month. The IP ExchangeLink system will be available in the second quarter this year. For more information visit the IP Exchange Systems Web site at