StarVox touts VoIP VPN plaftorm

StarVox Inc., a 3-year-old company that started life making gear to extend PBX functions to remote sites, is focused now on bringing voice over IP to public phone networks.

The company is announcing StarVox VoIP Trunking with VPN, software that enables IP service providers to sell traditional corporate voice VPN services that imitate the features of a corporate phone network supported by a mesh of private lines.

When a corporate customer buys such a service, calls between corporate sites would be routed over the service provider's IP network, avoiding the traditional public phone network. IP infrastructure is less expensive than traditional switched phone gear, so carriers would be able to compete with traditional voice VPN prices, StarVox President and CEO Al Wokas says. Because customer sites would be fed by an IP access line, these providers could also offer bundled voice and data services over a single link, he says.

Later, StarVox plans to deliver software that mimics today's Centrex services that use network-based equipment to deliver PBX features such as call forwarding and three-digit dialing.

StarVox software runs on a Hewlett-Packard Co. server and controls calls as they are carried through the IP network via Cisco Systems Inc. voice gateways. The StarVox software routes IP phone calls to the appropriate customer VPN if the calls are destined for other corporate sites. If the calls are bound for sites off the VPN, they are directed through a gateway to the public switched telephone network.

StarVox VoIP Trunking with VPN software supports H.323 signaling for IP calls as well as SS7 signaling for calls headed to the PSTN.

The software and the Unix platform it runs on are available now. Starting price is US$75,000, which buys a platform that supports 500 simultaneous calls.

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