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PToN
Premium
join:2001-10-04
Houston, TX

VoIP system

Hello,

After a very long month out of the country, i am back at work. With that comes the catch up game.

One of the things i am looking at replacing is the phone system, currently we have an Inter-Tel axxes 9.something. Although this works, i am trying to ease manageability and support.

I am looking at a VoIP solution for a small company of around 200 employees. I know there are plenty, Cisco, MS, Asterisk, Avaya, etc; but maybe you guys can recommend something based on our size.

Thanks for any tips.



BBBanditRuR
Dingbits

join:2009-06-02
Parachute, CO

»www.shoretel.com/

Worth a look.


lorennerol
Premium
join:2003-10-29
Seattle, WA
reply to PToN

I think you can find a good system that doesn't use proprietary phones (like Avaya does). Something based on Asterisk. If you are a CLI person, raw Asterisk might do the trick. There are a number of GUI add-ons for it. FreePBX offers a distro.

If you want something more polished, Digium offers a GUI for Asterisk. It's more expensive, but looks to offer an enhanced end-user experience.

I wouldn't bother with SIP trunks- we tried for over a year to get acceptable audio quality and never could.



PToN
Premium
join:2001-10-04
Houston, TX
reply to PToN

Cool, i ll check them out.

I just dont wanna over kill it with a cisco purchase.

Thanks



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

Cisco phones are great just get them and use an Asterisk server to save cost, then down the road you could move to a full cisco system.
--
»Death Star Petition


lorennerol
Premium
join:2003-10-29
Seattle, WA

said by DarkLogix:

Cisco phones are great just get them and use an Asterisk server to save cost, then down the road you could move to a full cisco system.

Yeah, we've had no issue with the Cisco SPA phones. I'm just not sure where the Sipura stuff falls in Cisco's exit from consumer products.


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

Well I think their IP phones (like the 7945g) are considered enterprise and not consumer
--
»Death Star Petition



acehyde
Tired.
Premium
join:2001-08-14
reply to PToN

Elastix (front end for Asterisk) using Polycom phones with HP POE switches works really well for my three sites with ~100 people spanning the state of Alabama.



LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to PToN

Cisco is a solid choice... Pricey, but just works. Avaya's in the same category.

I've got some experience with both (we use Cisco VoIP for our enterprise phones - about 20,000 sets nationwide) and Avaya for our call centres (5 locations, between 200-500 seats each).

Cisco handsets are top notch; even if you go with a different back-end, consider the Cisco hardware for the desktop. Great feel and sound.

An Asterisk based solution would also work, but there's support issues - if you go "roll-your-own" you can set it up for peanuts; if you want a commercial, out of the box, with support, product - it can get pricey.

Talk to your local interconnect company - they probably have a VoIP platform they prefer, sell, and support - they'll be able to talk pros and con's for your particular application...

My first choice would be a Cisco Business Edition box - like a 3000 or 5000...



fcisler
Premium
join:2004-06-14
Riverhead, NY
reply to PToN

Couple quick notes:

Original Cisco phones used a proprietary PoE scheme (original 7940's come to mind).

Every Dlink/Linksys PoE switch I have used has burnt up - no exceptions. I'm not talking one or two either, i'm talking on the magnitude of 20-30.

I do like the Cisco IP Phones. I find that they work well with Cisco switches. No experience with them and HP switches, or HP switches in general.

Used Cisco phones can be had cheap online (ebay). In newer (version 6, IIRC) you will require a license for each phone - something NOT included with the purchase of CUCM (Cisco Unified Call Manager).

Cisco is expensive. Very expensive. I use it daily. I like it but I am also fond of asterix.

I will modify lorennerol's quote: SIP trunks will only work, reliably, with less than 4 trunk channels at any given time. I had a client with around 14 and a 100MB internet connection. They always had problems when they had 6+ people on the line. We switched to a provider based SIP trunk from the ISP. Problems solved.

You say 200 employees....how many phones? Smaller deployments may work with CUCMX (Cisco Unified Call Manager Express), which is hosted entirely within an ISR router.

Here's the problem with Cisco: You need a Cisco company to give you a quote. You are NEVER going to figure out the acronyms or this version that or licensing by yourself.

The VERSIONING and what is compatible with what is ABSOLUTELY ridiculousness. You also have upgrade paths. 4.x and 5.x can go to 8.X., 7.1 cannot but 7.1.3b can, etc.

And lastly: Asterix and Cisco (two I have used) are all "piecemeal". They have MANY MANY products which were separate crammed into one "solution". Cisco's used to be horrible. To add an extension for voicemail in 4.x (very old now), was two programs and three (different) websites.



PToN
Premium
join:2001-10-04
Houston, TX
reply to PToN

Well technically the company is 400 people. I am only counting the employees that use or may use phones and that's just above 150. However, i know for a fact that since we only pay for the xxx-xxx-50xx, we are using less than 100 extensions.

200 would be an absolute max that we may never reach.

I like the idea of using something like Digium Asterisk with cisco desk phones.

But if i can get a full cisco solution for a decent price, i'd go with it. Next monday i ll be making some calls to see what the pricing would be. We are also getting Mitel trying to upsale upgrades for our current system (inter-tel axxess 9.something ).

Thanks.


guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:2

Cisco for sure, they have built in Vlan abilities so QOS is simple, something allot may not think about if they not really network knowledgeable. I assume you have the switches / routers and bandwidth to properly support 200 VOIP users?


snowsam

join:2001-04-11
Signal Mountain, TN
reply to PToN

3CX

I was in your shoes two years ago in May.
I went with 3CX ( »www.3cx.com/ ), which is a sip VOIP system that runs on a windows server. It is developed in Europe, but has a good community of USA users. It is not free, but is priced reasonably (see more below).

I had previous experience with Asterisk (command line and with a GUI) and chose 3CX because of:
1. the overall long term maintainability, upgrade-ability, and useability.
2. It works with almost any SIP device (though stick to the large supported list for premade functionality templates). These include common phones from Cisco, Snom, Yealink, Polycom, Grandstream and more.
3. ***Licensed per concurrent calls**, instead of per handset. For us, that was a big savings.
4. I could implement and support it myself and save **big** money.
5. There is a nice windows client that runs on your desktop and allows you to transfer calls, view status, etc.
6. There is an android and iphone client for making phone calls.

We have a single PRI coming in and I did a Patton PRI to SIP device. 3CX is running on a window server VM, and I've got a mix of yealink t26P, t22p, and grandstream phones and one or two Polycoms. I bought the call center version of 3cx so that I had the call queue functionality.

I hope that helps!



smunro622
Premium
join:2006-02-15
Madison Heights, MI
reply to PToN

Re: VoIP system

i used a pansonic system and bought SIP lines from level 3. We later switched to broadvox and they are still there...


HELLFIRE
Premium
join:2009-11-25
kudos:18
reply to PToN

You mention 200 users and ~100 extensions in the xxx-xxx-50xx range PToN, any other details you can share?

Off the top of my head :
- LAN-only calling, or will this be going out via a WAN connection / PSTN?
- what type of connection for the above? Dedicated T1? MPLS? Cable / DSL internet connection?
- required features of the call system itself -- call hold, call transfer, hunt / skill group, is this for a call center
or more for individual user use?
- what longdistance dialing features are needed (if any)
- are user located in a single office, or multiple offices? Same city? Spread over the country? International?

Not a voip expert myself, but watching this thread with some interest for some pointers myself.

Regards



liht
Acryllicht

join:2000-07-11
Paradise Valley, AZ
reply to PToN

Avaya IP Office is certainly something to look at. They have a full server solution that is all IP now, and you can mix in some hardware to do digital or analog/pri. I have the 500V2 sitting in my home office using SIP trunks and 9621 IP phones, works great. I've deployed maaaaaany full ip, and mixed tech solutions using the ip office and they all tend to work fine, granted you don't run into some lame software issue, and your voice network works well. The IP office does no QOS, so it's up to your network. Sadly we run into a lot of "network" guys that just don't know crap about QoS and Vlans. They are generally "cisco" guys...just sayin.

The system is extremely flexible, but yes, it is proprietary. If you're more interested in learning/playing, get an asterisk based system.
--
werd



PToN
Premium
join:2001-10-04
Houston, TX
reply to PToN

Well,

- We have 99 direct dial in extensions (xxx-xxx-50-xx)
- There is 1 location only so we wont be connecting to another building in any way.
- We have a T1 and a Fiber circuit.
- We have a toll free number customers can call in.
- We currently have an automated answering system that it is menu driven (not sure of the technical name).
- We can have call a single extension and have it ring N number of extensions
- We use a lot of call forwarding
- We would like to be able to have N number of internal extensions and keep the 99 direct dial in extensions.
- We have about 10 fax lines.
- We make a fair amount of international calls.

Other than that i cant think of anything else at the moment.

Currently i am looking at Avaya, 3CX, Asterisk Digium, Mitel, Cisco and Shoretel.

Thanks for the input.


guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:2

You should post your specs over at the voip tech chat forum

»VOIP Tech Chat

Some very knowledgeable people over there that could offer some guidance


snowsam

join:2001-04-11
Signal Mountain, TN
reply to PToN

I'm glad you mentioned faxing.

If you are looking at VOIP, faxing is a mixed bag. If you are getting your lines via SIP, you usually need T38 support on the provider side and on your ATA.

I have it working with my PRI-->Internal SIP (3cx)-->ATA hooked to the fax machine, but there are some fax numbers that we have problems with even after having slowed down how fast the fax machine talks.

I have considered going back to a fully analog line or doing something like FaxxBochs: »www.rockbochs.com/component/cont···axxbochs

However, our setup works well enough that so far we have not changed. But this is a potential area of pain for you that you should be careful about.



twizlar
I dont think so.
Premium
join:2003-12-24
Brantford, ON
kudos:3
reply to PToN

We have around 400 employees and use shoretel at 6 different sites. I have implemented shoretel, mitel, cisco, asterisk and avaya. From a management side, shoretel is rock solid and incredibly easy to work with and I personally have had a great experience with it.

Handsets, the cisco are about the best out there but I dont mind the shoretel for this as well either.

If your budget is paramount, asterisk is the way to go and will also give you the most flexibility and features for the money.
--
Broadline Networks Inc.



fcisler
Premium
join:2004-06-14
Riverhead, NY
reply to PToN

said by PToN:

But if i can get a full cisco solution for a decent price, i'd go with it. Next monday i ll be making some calls to see what the pricing would be.

hahahaha. hahaha. No seriously, I'm chuckling that that. Please post the price when you get it. If you can't for one reason or another, post how much more expensive it is versus a comparable solution. Nothing (new) Cisco is cheap. It also requires an AVVID (I believe) design it and "Cisco" sign off on it.

While this does have the advantage of removing "shady bob" from selling you the sun and delivering a desk lamp, it is time consuming. You also said that you had an IVR. That adds to the cost a bit.


Bryon
This space for rent
Premium
join:2001-07-23
Speedway, IN
reply to PToN

We're a similar size and have been happy with Shoretel.
It's flexible and easy to manage.


Delco24

join:2004-02-15
Cary, NC
reply to PToN

said by PToN:

Well,

- We have 99 direct dial in extensions (xxx-xxx-50-xx)
- There is 1 location only so we wont be connecting to another building in any way.
- We have a T1 and a Fiber circuit.
- We have a toll free number customers can call in.
- We currently have an automated answering system that it is menu driven (not sure of the technical name).
- We can have call a single extension and have it ring N number of extensions
- We use a lot of call forwarding
- We would like to be able to have N number of internal extensions and keep the 99 direct dial in extensions.
- We have about 10 fax lines.
- We make a fair amount of international calls.

Other than that i cant think of anything else at the moment.

Currently i am looking at Avaya, 3CX, Asterisk Digium, Mitel, Cisco and Shoretel.

Thanks for the input.

As far as Cisco goes, you might want to consider CUCM Business Edition 3000 for your needs. It would be quite a bit cheaper than full blown CUCM (although you still would need to purchase phones). It runs a simpler/more restricted version of CUCM, but it might be enough for your needs.


zong
Premium
join:2005-07-21
Scarborough, ON
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·mycybernet.net
·Switchworks

1 edit

1 recommendation

reply to PToN

Agreed re Shoretel.

We looked at Cisco and Shoretel. Went with Shoretel in the fall of 2012. Dead easy to manage and configure ona day to day basis. Excellent reporting. Super configurable. We even installed the Call Accounting add on. Very handy in a law firm.

just under 100 users here. One site. Phone runs off a traditional PRI / T1 (ISDN) and we have fibre for the data side.

I would recommend them in a heartbeat. Not the cheapest, but way cheaper than Cisco.

Edit: One thing I wanted to add - the handsets. They are solid. Heavy and feel like real phones and definitely do not feel cheap.



PToN
Premium
join:2001-10-04
Houston, TX
reply to PToN

Well, I m being quoted around $80K for a full Cisco solution CBE 6000. Around $66K for Mitel 5000 full IP, around $35K for a hybrid digital/IP Mitel 5000 and still waiting for the Shoretel and Avaya quotes.

Now, if i was to add Unified Communications Advanced to the Mitel 5000 offering - which is included in the Cisco solution - i am sure that Mitel would get around $76k-$80K.

So apples to apples, they seem to be coming up to the same $$$.

Just thought i would give an idea for any future questions.


rugby
I think I know it all.
VIP
join:2000-09-26
Plainfield, IN
reply to PToN

Look at Kerio Operator if you want a nice looking easy to configure system that you can potentially virtualize or run on your own hardware.



Nightfall
My Goal Is To Deny Yours
Premium,MVM
join:2001-08-03
Grand Rapids, MI
Reviews:
·ooma
·Comcast
·Callcentric
·Site5.com
reply to PToN

said by PToN:

Well, I m being quoted around $80K for a full Cisco solution CBE 6000. Around $66K for Mitel 5000 full IP, around $35K for a hybrid digital/IP Mitel 5000 and still waiting for the Shoretel and Avaya quotes.

Now, if i was to add Unified Communications Advanced to the Mitel 5000 offering - which is included in the Cisco solution - i am sure that Mitel would get around $76k-$80K.

So apples to apples, they seem to be coming up to the same $$$.

Just thought i would give an idea for any future questions.

I have admined both Cisco and Shoretel and both are great systems. I love the Cisco solution a bit better, but thats because I have used it longer and had zero issues with it. Shoretel I have had a few issues in the past, but for the most part it works great.

As you said, unified communications does add a bit more to the price, but I think its worth it.

Good luck in your choice! Sounds like you have plenty of information.
--
My domain - Nightfall.net


PToN
Premium
join:2001-10-04
Houston, TX
reply to PToN

Well, i believe i am buying Shoretel.

After long 2 weeks full of demos and meetings, based on price and feature set i am almost sold on Shoretel.

Looked at Avaya, Cisco, Mitel and they all offer pretty much the same. However, when it comes down to configuration and management none of them can beat Shoretel. Looking at the config interfaces for those systems it was like looking into Inter-tel DB studio, you pretty much had to really know your telephony crap in order to setup an endpoint.

Avaya's dialing rules..? Jesus, it was confusing as nothing ive seen before.

And i doubt any of them can beat the $60K price tag shoretel is giving me.


lorennerol
Premium
join:2003-10-29
Seattle, WA

said by PToN:

Avaya's dialing rules..? Jesus, it was confusing as nothing ive seen before.

This is, at least in part, due to how screwed up we've made phone numbers in the U.S. since the expanded area codes went into effect.

Around Seattle, we have no less that three quasi-local area codes. Depending on where a call originates along very vague and cryptic boundaries, some 'local' area code calls are long distance and some non-local area code calls are not, but other calls to those area codes are flip-flopped. So we have folks trying to seven-digit dial calls that need an area code and upset that their calls don't go through, and trying to capture and manage all the area code/prefix combos is...challenging. Having lived on the system management side of things for a while now, I've changed my tune about requiring ten-digit dialing for all calls. It would certainly make dial plans easier.


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

Wouldn't it be easier to say if is not an internal ext then make it go ext, and let the user figure if it needs a 1 or not?

or maybe my view off off as we have 10digit dialing for all numbers here (just add a 1 if its really long distance or a 00 code if its int)

or are you setting it up so anyone in the company would get routed to the pbx that's able to make it local?

In the Houston area you always dial the area code (its been like that for over a decade, and we have 4+ area codes some tend to mostly be cell phones but others are a mix of different cities and cell phones) if it needs a 1 you get an error message
--
»www.change.org/petitions/create-···imcity-4