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Aastra Telecom Offers Options for SMBs

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May 11, 2009

Aastra Telecom Offers Options for SMBs

By Sandra M. Gustavsen, Analyst, T3i Group LLC

Aastra (News - Alert) Telecom, the North American business unit of Aastra Technologies Limited, addresses smaller businesses in North America with two IP PBX options: the AastraLink Pro 160 IP PBX (News - Alert), a Linux-based appliance, running Asterisk open source PBX software, and AastraLink RP, a version of Microsoft’s Response Point phone system. Each system is affordable and simple to configure, but also delivers some important productivity features for smaller businesses, as well as SIP trunking support and a selection of Aastra SIP telephones to meet varying employee needs.

AastraLink Pro 160 ($999 MSRP for base unit only) is a standards-based IP PBX (based on Asterisk open source PBX software from Digium (News - Alert)) that is specifically designed for small businesses in North America. AastraLink Pro 160 targets businesses with 25 users or less, though it can handle up to 50 users with SIP trunking. For multi-site configurations, up to 10 systems can be networked via IP. Voicemail is included with system software, and customers can choose from Aastra’s portfolio of SIP telephones with varying feature sets.
Aastra CT models with associated cordless handset enable the user to roam away from their desk throughout a coverage area of up to 300,000 square feet. For mobility needs, the system can also integrate with the Aastra Mobility Base Unit (MBU) 400 DECT (News - Alert) mobility solution and associated 420d DECT handsets; up to eight handsets can be registered with each MBU (three simultaneous SIP calls). Other notable features include Find-Me, Follow-Me with ‘Parallel’ mode, automatic configuration, visual voicemail, SIP trunking, a Web Graphical User Interface and remote teleworker support.
Alternatively, smaller businesses can choose the AastraLink RP phone system which comes pre-loaded with Microsoft (News - Alert) Response Point software ($1,799.99 MSRP for new AastraLink RP SIP Trunking Bundle*). Response Point systems offer some functionality not typically found on smaller systems, including speech recognition that lets users speak commands (i.e. ‘transfer to Mary’) rather than using the keypad and entering an extension number. AastraLink RP promises simple installation and management, using familiar Microsoft interfaces. Phones are plugged into a local area network (LAN), automatically discovered by the system, and a wizard is available for easy setup.
Customers can choose from three Aastra Response Point IP telephones: the entry level 6751i RP, the full-featured 6753i RP and the advanced 6757i CT RP with cordless handset, as well as expansion modules for additional keys. (The RP-specific telephones are similar to Aastra’s 5i Series, but add a blue key for a voice recognition function.)
*Aastra’s recently announced SIP Trunking Bundle (U.S. market only) includes the AastraLink RP base unit with Microsoft Response Point software, three Aastra RP phones and a SIP trunking service.
Visit to learn more about Aastra systems and other IP PBXs on the market.

Sandra M. Gustavsen, senior analyst for T3i Group, contributes her TelecomTactics column to TMCnet. To read more of Sandra’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erik Linask

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