Alcatel offers integrated voice/data networking

French telecommunications company Alcatel on Tuesday unveiled a product

designed to act as a nerve center for networks that carry voice and data

traffic.

OmniPCX 4400 and other products like it stand to displace private branch

exchange (PBX) — the traditional hardware that organizations use to

route telephone calls.

As an organization moves to develop one network for carrying its voice

and its data traffic, it will need hardware more sophisticated than the

traditional PBX, said Mike Paluzzi, director of federal sales for

Alcatel's internetworking division.

Enter Alcatel's PCX, or private communication exchange. "Everybody knows

that they have to move to this technology," Paluzzi said.

Alcatel, which stands to see PCX competition from Nortel Networks Corp.

and Lucent Technologies, has started to pursue federal customers for the

new product.

Paluzzi said he is targeting clients such as the Defense Department, the

Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services. NATO

probably will beta test the OmniPCX 4400 in coming months, he said.

Alcatel officials said the product enhances mobility and supports many

applications by using Internet protocols to identify users on a combined

voice/data network. The solution, according to company officials,

amounts to a fluid or "virtual" network not bounded by the physical

location of phones or computers.

Alcatel officials also said the product will aid applications that work

on converged voice/data networks, such as translation of e-mail messages

into computer-generated voice-mail messages, and "onscreen" telephone

calls that can connect a computer user with a help desk.

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