3Com Rolls Out DSL Voice/Data Gateways

3Com announced the rollout of their voice and data gateway service offering
Monday, expanding on its current product line of routers using digital
subscriber line (DSL) technology.

The OfficeConnect gateway service, available worldwide, lets businesses as
small as the small office, home office (SOHO) to the multi-facility
corporations, and Internet service providers (ISPs) bundle their voice
(called voice over DSL or VoDSL) and data traffic over an existing phone line.

Interoperable with any machine using the Alcatel 20140 chipset for DSL
Access Multiplexers (DSLAMs), the routers are expected to bring the next
generation of network services to the business. Because there are many
standards out there for DSLAM compatibility, 3Com will only let businesses
order the router through their DSL provider, not on its Web site.

Pricing depends on whether the customer wants data-only traffic or wants to
incorporate both voice and data traffic on their DSL network. Its
Asymmetric DSL (ADSL) data/voice gateway is going for $799 and is available
today, while the Symmetric DSL (SDSL) product will go for $899 when it is
released sometime in early October, 2001. Pricing for a data-only router
is about $200 cheaper.

Businesses already using OfficeConnect ADSL/SDSL routers in their networks
can upgrade their machines to provide voice services with the purchase of a
voice expansion unit, which costs $799.

Teresa Mastrangelo, an analyst with RHK, a communications research and
consulting firm, predicts a steady increase in the amount of business the
new technology will create.

“The market for VoDSL services will begin a new state of growth over the
next several months,” Mastrangelo said. “The technology has matured and
vendors are beginning to prove they can deliver the right mix of solutions
and price points to help service providers accelerate the adoption of VoDSL
services by business customers.”

With built-in virtual private networking (VPN) capabilities with data
security levels of 40-, 56- or 128-bit encryption, the new OfficeConnect
product line lets businesses support up to 12 toll-quality telephone lines
and the scalability it needs when growing. Using 3Com’s current product
line, like its 3Com NBX which can connect up to 100 users, businesses can
easily make their networks scalable.

Roger Sands, 3Com business line manager for its business access solutions
division, said the new routers provide an opportunity for businesses to
consolidate their network.

“The new value proposition that we have developed for service providers to
offer to businesses is outstanding, creating new business growth
opportunities and cost savings for all parties involved,” Sands said. “We
have developed a unique set of business class data and voice routers that
are expected to help speed up the adoption of voice and data services based
on DSL, which is the most cost-effective way for businesses to connect to
the Internet and make phone calls.”

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