Early Version Of Linksys VoIP Service Comes Up Short

Cisco Systems??? Linksys division says it???s still on track for a nationwide rollout this fall of the Linksys One hosted VoIP offering for small businesses, but several partners who recently

February 4, 2006

2 Min Read
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Cisco Systems’ Linksys division says it’s still on track for a nationwide rollout this fall of the Linksys One hosted VoIP offering for small businesses, but several partners who recently saw live demonstrations of the product said the current version falls short of their expectations.

Linksys and Airband Communications, a Dallas-based regional broadband service provider that Linksys tapped to handle the first test deployments of Linksys One, recently kicked off a six-city road show to recruit VARs to sell the offering. Sources who attended the first two events in Houston and Richardson, Texas, told CRN the product lacks essential VoIP features.

For example, they said Linksys One doesn’t currently include four-digit dialing, auto attendant or find me/follow me, which allows calls to be routed to office, home or cell phones. Another limitation is that phones can only be used at the site where the all-in-one service router is deployed, according to sources, counter to VoIP’s promise of linking multiple sites.

“We’re not going to be marketing the product until it works like it’s supposed to,” said one solution provider, who will delay his commitment to the line until he is confident these features are included.

“Why would anyone buy Linksys One if it costs as much as traditional key systems or PBX and doesn’t have similar features?” asked another partner.Richard Platt, vice president and general manager of the Small Business Solutions business unit at Linksys, Irvine, Calif., said what Linksys and Airband are showing is a stripped-down, 1.0 version that’s not intended to showcase the ultimate features but rather to highlight the ease of installing, upgrading and configuring the product. “We frankly [focused on] that to the exclusion of some of the new voice features initially,” Platt said.

Auto attendant, find/follow, voice mail and the ability to use phones at multiple sites will be supported in the nationwide rollout of Linksys One this fall, he said.

Channel sources also expressed concern over the anticipated equipment cost of Linksys One. Nigel Williams, vice president of channel and service provider operations, said the company might consider a leasing component at some point. “At the end of the day, we want to make it as simple as possible for VARs to procure product,” he said.

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