Questions about VoIP and VoIP-PBX

Discussion in 'VOIP' started by Sam Kong, May 28, 2004.

  1. Sam Kong

    Sam Kong Guest

    Hello!

    [Situation]

    I am working for a small company (about 15 employees).
    We take calls for sales and technical supports.
    We have an old PBX with minimal basic functions (transfer, hold, 3
    person talk, etc.).
    Our president is considering changing our phone system into VoIP +
    VoIP PBX.

    [Questions]

    1. Is VoIP mature(stable) enough now?

    I visited artisoft.com and found the following article which is
    negative about VoIP.
    Src: http://www.artisoft.com/pdf/SoftwarePBXWP.pdf

    <snip>
    Internet Protocol (IP) PBXs
    As Voice-Over-IP technologies improved, several vendors introduced IP
    PBX products that managed all
    communications over a business IP network. Because IP standards were
    still evolving, each vendor interpreted
    them differently or ignored them completely, creating telephones and
    routers that were incompatible
    with those of competing vendors. This resulted in proprietary and
    sometimes very expensive telephones,
    routers and hubs. In addition, the vendors provided only very basic
    application sets and their proprietary
    architectures provided little incentive for 3rd-party developers to
    create add-on applications. Essentially,
    the IP PBX merely replicated the limited features and high cost of
    ownership of traditional proprietary
    PBXs within a data-centric environment.
    </snip>

    2. Do we keep the current phone number after changing into VoIP?

    I have no idea how the IP phone is assigned a phone number.

    3. Is it easy to maintain the VoIP system?

    Our current phone system causes no trouble.
    I fear that VoIP system may give lots of pains.
    What can we do if the Internet is down?

    4. Can we use the current old PBX with VoIP?

    If VoIP-PBX is not good or is not worth going for, we might keep the
    current PBX and just go for VoIP.

    5. Which vendor is worth checking out and how much will it cost?

    6. How much money can we save with VoIP and what benefit else can we
    get?


    I would appreciate any help.

    Sam
     
    Sam Kong, May 28, 2004
    #1
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  2. Sam Kong

    Soren Rathje Guest

    Well, back in 2001 one of the customers of the company I worked for then
    thought so, they implemented a nation wide VoIP backbone network with
    6,500 Cisco AS5300's.

    Question is, stable enough to do what ??
    What do you have in mind?

    Skip TDM and go for VoIP only or keep TDM and supplement with VoIP?

    Here's (not a complete) list of VoIP providers..
    http://www.voip-info.org/wiki-VOIP+Service+Providers
    A VoIP system is no different than a traditional PBX, and regarding the
    internet connection I would recommend getting one with a SLA and QoS
    agreement.
    Yes, there is no problem interconnecting the two. I have done that on a
    Nortel M1 using E&M ports and a Cisco 2600 in a Call Manager network.
    Cisco, Lucent etc.... But they will cost you "real money"..

    www.asterisk.org is an Open-Source IP PBX and will cost you nothing but
    a PC and a couple of linecards pending your configuration.
    I guess the cost savings compared to a "Brand Name" could cover 1
    full-time technician for up to 6 months... ;-)

    I use Asterisk at home and I've spend around USD 500 on it. In
    comparison a Cisco Call Manager with the same features and "size" is
    around USD 50K.

    Anyway, there are heaps of information regarding Asterisk here:
    http://www.voip-info.org/tiki-index.php?page=Asterisk

    These companies will sell you a complete system (TurnKey) based on
    Asterisk:
    http://www.voip-info.org/tiki-index.php?page=Asterisk+system+vendors

    If you want a DIY solution, here is a list of consultants that will help
    you for a fee...
    http://www.voip-info.org/wiki-Asterisk+consultants
    Good question, check with interconnect partners like Nufone, VoicePulse
    and others what their termination charges are and compare to your phone
    bills...

    With respect to benefits... wooa... It's a whole new world... ACD, IVR,
    Agent Queues, VoiceMail Conferencing etc....
    -- Soren
     
    Soren Rathje, May 28, 2004
    #2
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  3. Sam Kong

    Guest Guest

    A good VoIP PBX (or Key System) will always cost more. It can be stable but
    this is highly dependent on implementation. If the seller does not have many
    years in both voice and data expect trouble. What's you network like? Do you
    have a QoS capable switch? Think about what you want it to do.
    Voice mail-yes
    Unified messaging-?
    Conference calls-yes
    IP trunks-?
    PSTN trunks-probably
    Fax routing (in and out)-?
    ACD (Automated Call Distribution)-probably
    A good system (sticking to major names) that can do all this and both VoIP
    and legacy is the Nortel BCM. I might be biases because we sell them, but we
    did look into many others when we were choosing a small/medium business VoIP
    system. Even got completely certified on the Cisco and had a 3Com on-site
    for over a month (what a piece of garbage).

    Number one thing, don't go VoIP just because it is the in thing.
    --
    Randall Cohen
    Sr. Systems Engineer
    Alternative Communication Systems, Inc.
    www.acsvoicedata.com
    Email: rcohen_at_acsvoicedata_dot_com.no-spam

    The only thing I guaranty about my free advice is that it's mine and it's
    free.


     
    Guest, May 28, 2004
    #3
  4. Sam Kong

    shope Guest

    given that you have 15 users, you could just install a separate ethernet
    switch for the IP Telephony system.

    Just because it is VoIP based doesnt mean you have to mix the voice and data
    traffic - although there are some good things you can do that may be
    worthwhile if you do.

    Most of the advantages of converging voice and data are about integration on
    PCs, in call centres and so on, or mixing the 2 traffic types across
    expensive links, such as a WAN.
    BCM is a Norstar PBX on a blade in a specialised PC (appliance) - good
    reliable kit, and mature stable software from the PBX side.

    I might be biases because we sell them, but we
    There are lots of other systems - 1 suggestion is to look at the PBX style
    systems that also support Voip - that way you can mix and match to some
    extent - Mitel seems popular.
    Agreed - but before that decide what you want the system to do...
     
    shope, May 28, 2004
    #4
  5. Sam Kong

    Guest Guest

    We've done that as well, only drawback is that you end up needing a router
    between the LANs if you want the advanced integration. Since IP phones need
    power, and using a brick is a pain (expecially if the power goes out), you
    end up with a in-line power unit for the ethernet or a PoE switch. PoE
    switches always support QoS. In the end it's just plain easier to get the
    PoE/QoS switch.
    Yup, and with WAN links you need to make sure you are using G729a otherwise
    it tend to use too much bandwidth. And now you need QoS routers (no an issue
    for me, I use Cisco and they all have it)
    I agree Mitel is great, we sell them too ;-). They fit into larger
    businesses, even a small sx200ICP would be more then a BCM200 or BCM400, but
    the features!!! Mitel has a feature set that goes on for pages. But do you
    need them?
     
    Guest, May 28, 2004
    #5
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