Lucent Adds Wireless Capabilities To PBXs, Centrex

It may be getting easier to wander around the office. Lucent Technologies is rolling out its Definity Wireless Business System, which provides wireless access to most PBX phone systems or telephone-company-based Centrex services.

Lucent rolled out the Mobility Server last month, and yesterday unveiled interfaces with switches from Ericsson, Hitachi, Nortel Networks, Panasonic, Rolm, and Siemens. The Definity pocket phones handle three phone lines and screen, forward, transfer, and place calls on hold. Users can also access and forward voice mail, and have access to most of the features they use at their desks.

"The Lucent Mobility Server allowed us to give wireless communications to the staff immediately without having to worry about replacing any of our hospitals' existing PBXs," says Pamela Jacobus, director of telecommunications and advanced networks for Allina Health System, a network of 18 Minnesota hospitals and 56 clinics with PBXs from multiple vendors. Allina has installed the Lucent Mobility Server at two of its hospitals--the 275-bed Unity Hospital and the 271-bed Mercy Hospital--both of which have Rolm switches.

Enterprises can connect to the Lucent Mobility Server via a bridged analog connection on the station side; on the trunk side, the PBX connects via tie trunks such as ISDN PRI. The system has a transmission range of 2.4 million square feet and can support 1,500 pocket phones. The system operates at a low power level in the 1.9-GHz frequency.

In other networking news, Cable & Wireless USA will be offering its customers, by the end of this quarter, high-speed access to its frame relay, asynchronous transfer mode, and voice services network via NorthPoint Communications Inc.'s high-speed Digital Subscriber Line service. The Vienna, Va., carrier also revealed yesterday that it is investing $5 million in NorthPoint.

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