While large IP PBX vendors continue to build on server-based platforms, some international firms are taking different approaches to small-business VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone systems. Among the distinctive small-business VoIP products emerging is an embedded IP PBX appliance for small offices that fits in a briefcase. For customers not interested in any extra hardware, another VoIP system uses peer-to-peer technology in IP phones, eliminating the need for an IP PBX. Users of these types of products say the gear is more focused on the needs of small-office phone systems and provides a good cost-saving alternative to expensive server-based IP PBXs from larger vendors.
One company, German VoIP vendor Snom Technology, has crunched down an IP PBX into a device smaller than a home answering machine. The Snom Box is an IP PBX for companies with 50 or fewer users. The device runs Snom's 4S IP PBX and voice-mail system software on top of an embedded Linux operating system. (Snom offers this software on a server-based IP PBX for larger businesses and for carriers offering IP Centrex services.) Conferencing and auto-attendant features also are supported. The Snom Box is tiny: 3.5 inches tall by 3 inches wide and 1.5 inches deep. This is smaller than the IP phones the system supports. The IP PBX software uses Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) for transport, so it is compatible with any standard SIP phone.
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News source: PCWorld