Avaya IP phones to support Cisco, Juniper gateways

* Avaya exptends VPN support of its IP phones

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Avaya is expanding the VPN support it puts in its IP phones, making it possible to connect from a remote site to a corporate network and have access to all the features of a PBX extension.

Previously, the phones supported Avaya's own VPN gateways, but the company has expanded this support to gateways made by Cisco and Juniper, making the functionality available to a sizeable number of end users.

Typically, a customer would connect one of the phones to a broadband Internet connection, and connect to a corporate VPN gateway to establish a protected link to an Avaya IP PBX. That network-layer VPN connection gives the phone access as if it were on the LAN and enables the PBX to extend its services to the remote phone, such as four-digit dialing, hold, voice mail, etc.

There are no ports on the phone through which another device might gain access, so the phone does not represent a security threat. And because the VPN tunnel is encrypted, it protects the actual voice stream from eavesdroppers.

As a side benefit, running VoIP through a VPN tunnel enables configuring firewalls to open an unchanging set of ports for the VPN. Without a VPN tunnel to run through, VoIP would open a variety of ports that would change from call to call and introduce a much more complicated configuration process and potentially leave more vulnerabilities because of it.

Theoretically, if the phones use IPSec compliant VPN software they should be compatible with any vendor's IPSec-compliant gateway, but in practice that is not always true. So it is useful for Avaya to have checked out how to make the phones work with Cisco and Juniper gateways and to guarantee it.

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