Avaya has introduced new tools to let enterprises do more with their IP telephony systems and keep them available when a network goes down.

Avaya announced Communication Manager 4.0, the latest version of its software platform for enterprise VoIP a G860 Media Gateway for large offices and call centres, and three fixed-line phones. It also said it will provide industry-standard Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) firmware for all its high-end phones.

Like other big voice vendors, Avaya is gearing up for increasing adoption of IP telephony, to replace traditional phone systems in enterprises. The Communication Manager 4.0 server software can support 12,000 standard T-1 phone trunks in a company's headquarters and other locations, said Steve Hardy, a director of product marketing at Avaya. That is one and a half times the number that the previous version could handle. The software also has features to keep enterprise calling features working and maintain call detail records in case of a WAN failure. It is set to ship this month.

The G860 Media Gateway lets enterprises consolidate multiple gateways at a large enterprise site, which are used for communication between the internal VoIP network and the public switched telephone network. It has a T-3 interface – 45 Mbit/s – versus the 1.5 Mbit/s links on Avaya's earlier gateways. The G860 also can use SIP, the emerging standard for linking IP telephony devices and integrating voice features with productivity applications. It is set to ship in the third-quarter. Also Avaya said its IG550 Integrated Gateway for branch offices, announced last year, will be available this month. It is a module that fits in Juniper Networks Inc. J-series routers.

The company fleshed out its 9600 series of high-end IP desk phones, also introduced last year. It announced the 9640 IP Telephone, with a colour display, for sales people and other employees who use the phone as a key work tool. The new 9650 is for receptionists and others who manage calls for themselves and other employees, and the 9610 is designed for common areas with simplicity in mind, according to Avaya. The new phones are already shipping and priced at $679 (£351), $525 (£271) and $215 (£111) respectively. Avaya expects to have SIP firmware available as a free software download for all the 9600 series phones beginning in May.

One Avaya customer, an IT administrator for a US transport company, said SIP was a key criterion in his company's choice of an IP telephony system. The company is rolling out Avaya's 9620 and 9630 IP phones to about 40 facilities. SIP should give the company a choice when shopping for additional devices, such as speakerphones, he said.

VoiceCon Spring, taking place in Orlando, has been a busy conference for Avaya. Also at the show, it announced the Avaya one-X Portal, a web browser-based interface for accessing voicemail, managing conference calls, and setting call forwarding to a cell phone, among other things. And the company revealed a deal with Lenovo in which Avaya's softphone client will be integrated with Lenovo's fingerprint-scanner security system for logging in to the client. The companies also discussed using the keyboard backlight feature as a message-waiting light for the softphone client in the future.

Pricing for Communication Manager starts at $200 (£103) per seat. The G860 Media Gateway costs $140,000 (£72,394) list. The IG550 gateway module starts at $3,000 (£1,551) and line cards start at $1,000 (£517).