HP targets small business with latest product rollout

The company says IP phones and fast wireless LANs can save time and money

HP expanded its IP phone and wireless LAN offerings for small and medium-size businesses on Wednesday as part of a broad set of product introductions for those customers.

The company's primary aims with the array of new SMB products, which includes a "microServer" and extends to storage-area networks, are to simplify IT and lower costs for small businesses while increasing their productivity. Wireless LANs have drawn increasing attention as relatively easy networks to deploy and maintain in lieu of wired Ethernet for every employee's workspace. IP phones are advancing into many enterprises and offer the possibility of simplifying communications into one network that carries both voice and data.

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On Wednesday, HP brought high-speed, dual-band IEEE 802.11n Wi-Fi technology to SMBs with the HP V-M200 802.11n Wi-Fi Access Point. The V-M200 can operate in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands at the same time and allows 64 simultaneous users on the wireless LAN. The access point can be managed via a Web browser interface. An access point can present four different SSIDs (Service Set Identifiers) for different groups of users, as well as support four virtual LANs for security between workgroups. Administrators can prioritize traffic from specific wireless communities, according to HP.

The V-M200 access point is available now worldwide and priced starting at $219, depending on the configuration chosen.

HP also upgraded its IP desk phones with the HP 350x Series IP Phones, designed for organizations of all sizes. Most of the new phone models come with wideband audio technology that can take advantage of the high capacity of Ethernet LANs to deliver higher audio quality than is possible on traditional circuit-switched phones. All but one model has a Gigabit Ethernet port, and the phones can be powered via Ethernet using the IEEE 802.3af standard. The units come with a power-saving mode that can cut energy consumption by 50 percent from the level at peak usage, according to HP.

The new phones work with HP VCX IP Communications servers or servers from other vendors, according to the company. A server at a remote facility can be backed up with one at the central site to maintain reliable communication. IT administrators can deploy and manage the 350x Series phones from a Web browser.

The 350x Series phones are available now in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Japan, and the Asia-Pacific region. The phones are priced starting at $119.

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