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A do-it-all remote office IP handset: The Zultys Zip 4x5

The Zip 4x5 has a lot to offer for remote office/home office users in need of a do-it all IP phone.

At first glance, it's hard to distinguish the Zultys Zip 4x5 VoIP handset telephone from an ordinary two-line desktop phone. Only a glance at the back, where 4 RJ-45 ports and the handset connector are located, and the underside, where you'll find an RJ-11 and an external power supply jack-in, start to convince you that something more interesting than usual is built into this otherwise unremarkable package.

Conventional looks aside, the Zip 4x5 has a lot to offer for remote office/home office users in need of a do-it all IP phone. Here's an abbreviated list of what comes as part of this package:

  • Firewall, NAT, VPN, and DHCP server enable this phone to act as a boundary device for remote users
  • Support for four call appearances enable up to four simultaneous ongoing calls
  • Four RJ-45s support up to three additional Ethernet devices, plus a link to an Internet access devices like a cable or DSL modem
  • RJ-11 enables the phone to handle PSTN calls as well
  • All Ethernet ports and the phone itself integrate into a built-in 5-port 10/100 Ethernet switch, and the device also acts as an IP router.

    The 4x5 designator for this phone indicates its ability to handle four concurrent calls, and its support for 5 circuits (4 Ethernet, 1 PSTN).

Beyond its networking capabilities, the Zip 4x5 is also a pretty advanced telephone. The base unit includes a speakerphone and a headphone jack for hands-free operation. The base product includes a good-quality, over-the-head wired headset with dual earphones and an adjustable boom microphone. The company also offers an added-cost Bluetooth option that replaces the wired headset with its wireless equivalent. The phone can draw power from the external power supply that's included with the unit, or from an Ethernet connection (if power over Ethernet is available). The phone also includes support for most standard business telephone features including hold, transfer, conference (up to all four lines), do not disturb, call forward, call park and call pickup.

The phone is easy to configure, install and deploy. It can be managed locally or remotely across the Internet (ideal for companies seeking to manage remote office/home office equipment from a centralized location). It can be provisioned in situ or beforehand, at a business office or a management location before sending it to its designated end-user. If properly provisioned, the phone creates a total "plug-and-call" solution for users.

Product Description: Advanced IP telephone with built-in Ethernet switch, routing, and security functions (built-in DHCP server, NAT, VPN, and firewall)

Class: Enterprise-level communications, suitable for home office, remote office, satellite office use (supports centralized management and provisioning)

Company: Zultys

Cost: Retail pricing is $300-350 for plain version, $340-425 for Bluetooth version, volume discounts available

You'll love this product if: you need a compact, do-it-all IP telephony and networking solution that's centrally manageable and configurable. Also appealing to small and medium sized business users as well.

You won't if: remote or home workers already have Internet access/security devices in place, because cheaper "pure IP phone" solutions are readily available.

About the author:
Ed Tittel is a regular contributor to numerous TechTarget Web sites, and the author of over 100 books on a wide range of computing subjects from markup languages to information security. He's also a contributing editor for Certification Magazine, and edits Que Publishing's Exam Cram 2 and Training Guide series of cert prep books. E-mail Ed at etittel@techtarget.com.

This was last published in October 2005

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