Extreme and Avaya have put together a converged standards-based voice and data network for small businesses, which both companies will distribute.

The SIP-based package uses Avaya's IP Office as the comms hub, and Extreme Summit edge switches. It will be sold by both companies' reseller partners.

"We are strong proponents of open standards, as most companies' networks include elements from a mix of vendors," declared Pat Hume, Avaya's EMEA VP. "Open standards provide businesses of all sizes with the choice and flexibility they need to build the network that is right for their company."

Avaya upgraded its IP Office suite last month to include remote diagnostics and SIP support, which Hume says makes it suitable for both single and multi-site deployments.

The IP telephony bundles will allow both companies' resellers to offer SMBs a cut-price Extreme 24 or 48-port managed switch when they also buy an IP Office. Extreme claimed that the Summit switches' bandwidth management capabilities would help to improve the quality of IP voice calls.

"This allows us to offer a genuinely different and highly competitive convergence package," said Spencer Bradshaw, of Avaya business partner Central Telecom. "SMBs may not have the same budgets as large enterprises, but that doesn't mean that they are happy to compromise on performance, particularly when it comes to IP telephony where network problems are very obvious to users."

Bradshaw noted that the "strong Extreme and Avaya alliance" means that his company can get both elements of the converged network from a single supplier – in his case, Avaya.

Extreme added that it has also successfully tested its LLDP-based Universal Port provisioning platform with Avaya's IP telephony systems. Universal Port can discover and authenticate devices on a converged network, including IP phones, automatically provisioning them with network services such as VLAN assignment and power-over-Ethernet.

"Universal Port is available to help customers with network edge automation," said Scott Lucas, Extreme's senior director of solutions marketing. He claimed it could "ease the deployment and management of users and devices, by making tasks automatic, accurate and simple."