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Rollout: Avaya Distributed Office

Avaya's Distributed Office is an easy and cost effective way to roll voice over IP out to branch and remote offices.

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Distributed Office starts with Avaya's SIP Enablement Services Edge Switch, which handles incoming SIP connections at the corporate headquarters, routes calls among branches, and provides a management workstation to remotely administer the i40 and i120 gateways (see diagram at right). Next are the gateways. The i40 is a 2U rack-mount unit that supports as many as 40 users. It has 10 PoE ports to power phones directly. The 4U rack-mount i120, which supports as many as 120 users, comes with 40 PoE ports. Need to support additional phones on either gateway? Simply add a PoE switch, from either Avaya or a third-party.

Voice mail is stored locally on the gateway on a 1 Gigabyte (i40) or 2 Gigabyte (i120) compact flash drive. Voice mail can be sent to an FTP or SCP server to move it into your long-term storage system. If you have Avaya's centralized IMDO (Integrated Management for Distributed Office), server backups can be automated, scheduled and saved there via the network configuration manager application.

The i40 is appropriate for as few as five or 10 users at the branch, because pricing is based on seats, not on a flat hardware cost; the system starts at $350 per user, with volume discounts available. Distributed Office includes Avaya's One-X VoIP phones in the per-seat price. One-X phones include basic features, such as forwarding, conference calling and speed dial, as well as such niceties as auto-attendant, announcements and routing. The i40 and i120 also include fax ports.

If you want to bump your phones up a notch or two, this system supports the Avaya 9600 series, which can be branded with your logo, and the Avaya 4600 and 4610 phones. We also tested the wireless Avaya IP DECT devices, which are useful for employees roaming the sales floor or throughout the office. DECT shouldn't interfere with standard Wi-Fi. Avaya also supports any brand of analog phone, as well as various models of Cisco SIP phones. Additional models are being tested and added, so you should be able to find a handset to your liking.

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