Discussion in 'VOIP' started by DLR, Nov 13, 2003.

  1. DLR

    DLR Guest

    I have sat through a number of proposals for VOIP and still no one can tell
    me why I should consider VOIP. I agree that VOIP could be the future and I
    am impressed with the technology. However, currently even the newest Cisco
    hardware and software cannot deliver the service reliability or quality that
    would motivate an investment in excess of $1 M. Especially with great risk
    to our customers and our ability to provide the response and quality that is

    In other words, what can VOIP do that the newest PBX hardware can't.....not
    to mention at a fraction of the cost. (long distance savings are minimal due
    to the type of daily business usage and the eventual tax on the internet
    will negate even more of the projected savings comparison)

    My company is 50 locations in the mid-Atlantic states providing both
    residential and commercial field services. Total annual revenue = $225 M. My
    point being.... the price is not the object....the reliability and quality
    of delivery for customer and coworker are my primary considerations with a
    good ROI. (soft and/or hard)

    I would be interested in hearing from anyone who could provide testimony of
    their specific experiences or general bullet points on the advantages of
    VOIP v/s PBX in today's market.

    DLR, Nov 13, 2003
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  2. DLR

    Hank Karl Guest

    IMO, a big advantage to VoIP is the ability to have extensions on
    your PBX appear anywhere. Remote workers in SOHO locations may have a
    VPN, and also have a VoIP connection to the company PBX, so they get
    all the PBX features (voice mail, conferencing, 800 numbers, easy
    transfer from other users, ....)

    Another advantage to VoIP is the savings in operating expenses from
    having one network, but these may not be as great as many people
    think, because now the data network will have to be ruggedized and
    brought up to the standards users expect in a telephone network.

    Advanced services that lead to efficiency improvements are possible
    with VoIP, but many of these services could (in theory) be provided
    with analog phones.
    Hank Karl, Nov 13, 2003
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  3. DLR

    DPGumby Guest

    I agree if you want the reliability you stay with a traditional PBX. There
    is no VoIP system that have the same level of reliability as a traditional
    PBX when you now consider the added layer of complexity/vulnerability you
    add by putting you telephones on your data network. Has there ever been an
    instance where a PBX was brought to its knees by a virus attack? Iv'e seen
    IP systems be effected. Not only the product themselves, but also the
    network that the IP telephones are running on.

    Cost justification always depends on the situation. I was on a site looking
    for a new telephone system. They had cat 2 cable and all the data running on
    hubs. It would have required a total re-cabling of the building + upgrading
    all the network equipment + buying the VoIP system. The PBX gave them
    superior reliability ( a requirement ) plus was much cheaper. If they had
    the cabling in place and network in place they might have been willing to
    try IP.
    It may be cheaper to have everthing on one infrastructure
    ( the network ) but most PBX's you put them in and leave them, IP you always
    have to consider them when you are working on the network ( you can easily
    make a programming change to the network that can effect all the phones).

    IP, in my mind does however give you some solutions that a PBX can't ( or
    can but it is expensive to implement ). What are some of those things? I sit
    here at home with my Mitel 5020 VoIP set plugged into my DSL router. It is
    in effect on our 3300ICP system in the office. If someone calls my business
    number, it rings here. If I go out and someone leaves me a voicemail message
    on our office voicemail, when I come back, the message waiting light is
    flashing. I can dial anyone in our corporation using the built in telephone
    directory, use any feature ( camp on call back etc ) and make use of the
    office telephone facilites to save on long distance. Try that on a PBX!
    Yeah, there are ways to do something similar on a PBX but not this easily.
    If I don't want the phone, I could use a VPN account with YA Pro and get the
    same features on my home PC.

    The other place I have seen some success with VoIP is in mixed enviroments
    ( PBX's and IP systems ). The PBX go in areas where reliability and cost
    make them the right choice. The IP systems go in smaller offices. We have
    had success in a network of Mitel SX2000's and 3300's. All the PBX's are
    joined over T1 with MSDN and are IP "trunked" to the 3300 IP systems. It
    allowed the customer to deploy the small offices very cheaply. The data
    network was already there so it was used to add the IP systems, without
    having to provision any trunks, except a few for power failure ( all calls
    come and go through the nearest PBX ).

    Anyway maybe some others have some ideas where IP shines.
    DPGumby, Nov 13, 2003
  4. DLR

    Ian Guest

    Forget looking for advantages..

    Voip is just another method of deliveing the data to the phone.

    If we start with hardware

    TDM first
    CPU---->extension card--->wire----->phone


    as you can see at their simplest its the same.

    The advantages are though.......
    You dont need special cards for softphones.

    its eaiser to remotely locate extensions

    Single infrastucture, and the cost saving that implies.

    This is where all the manufacurers are spending the R&D money, TDM is pretty
    much dead now R&D wise.

    Feature wise Most of the decent systems support all the normally reqd
    features. (I know Cisco didnt but that was some years ago now.)


    Point for point they cost about the same if not VOIP being a bit cheaper.
    If you have a greenfield site then its a no brainer. if you have a large
    network of old dataequipment including Hubs and 10baseT etc, Get your data
    network upgraded first then look at VOIP.

    From personal experiance the biggest hurdle is getting the comms dept. to
    talk to the data networks dept. and good reason for this as once VOIP is
    installed there is usally a job cut and no guess where from.

    Go back 20 years and the same argument was going on about replacing
    mechanical with electronic. Its called change.

    Ian, Nov 13, 2003
  5. DLR

    Miguel Cruz Guest

    Tell us more about this "eventual tax on the internet" for which you have
    calculated the cost and compared to your long distance rates. As the only
    person out there with hard numbers, you could be pretty popular.

    Miguel Cruz, Nov 13, 2003
  6. I notice the newest PBX systems from Nortel, Avaya, Mitel, Cisco etc seem to
    all be VOIP systems.

    The question is what can new phone systems do that your current phone does
    not do. Clearly, allowing you to have your office phone when you are in your
    home office or in a hotel in another country is popular for some people. For
    others is seem to be the advanced integration with presence and calendars so
    that the system know who to send to what phone. Some others seem to like the
    seamless way you can be on a phone call and move to video, or IM, or web

    The phone on my desk has been a VoIP phone for several years now - they work
    just fine.

    Cullen Jennings, Dec 2, 2003
  7. DLR

    Lee Guest

    Cullen et al;
    I just had VoIP rammed down my throat. I went from an orphaned digital
    key system to Cisco Call Manager 3.3.
    Pluses and minuses or Likes and dislikes...
    Old orphaned system. Manufacturer discontinued in 1993. In 13+ years
    of operation I never had to reboot any of the controllers, never had
    to install any operating patches, never had anyone "hack" into or
    disrupt the operations and nothing on the "network" ever caused any
    operating problems. I also never ever had any "virus" attacks or
    needed any "virus protection" software. I had to replace them as the
    mass storage card hard disks were failing and I couldn't obtain

    Since the Call Managers were installed this summer there have been at
    least three Application upgrades and numerous Microsoft support
    patches. (To be exact in the past 15 months there have been over 60
    Microsoft issued patches for Win 2K) The system design does allow for
    the upgrading with usually a very short "outage" for the sets as they
    fail over from one server to another.

    Orphaned system had three basic sets with the ability on two of the
    sets to answer over one hundred calls. The "largest" Cisco combination
    can manage only 34 lines and that "set" is huge and costs over $1000.
    (A "better" deal is the new Telstrat i2732. It cost less than a Cisco
    7960 and it is like having a 7960 and 7914 minus a couple of buttons)

    Orphaned system interfaced with and "enhanced" Centrex services. Cisco
    is designed to interface "digitally" with PSTN and provides what the
    "computer geeks" at Cisco "think" a telephone system should work like.

    Cost Savings??? VoIP will allow you to "dial around" to save on LD. It
    will allow you to "save" on cabling costs as you only need one station
    cable to carry both data and voice. You should be able to see a
    reduction in your monthly recurring charges as you pay for DID lines
    and trunks instead of separate station lines. (The cost difference
    here will pay for "my" system in about 18 years ;>) You can build
    "fake" numbers for calls out which means you don't have to pay the
    ILEC for every number you are actually using. Moves, Adds, Changes are
    very easy to accomplish via a WEB programming interface and the fact
    that the set programming can be pushed to the set where ever it
    happens to be on the network. (within reason). Cost savings claimed
    for unified messaging or CTI are a wash as "most" PBX/Digital Key
    systems made in the past few years can already perform these actions.
    (Specifically Nortel Norstars as I have a bunch of them) Biggest
    benefit is to the data users as their "network speed" will rise due to
    the infrastructure required to support the phones.

    Problems: Network "issues" can play havoc with the phone operations
    even though the telephones are in a different V-Lan. Since the feeds
    are "digital" (PRI ISDN) you can't (or at least I can't) get station
    billing detail from the ILEC. All outbound toll calls bill to the PRI
    Trunk the call originated from. (If anyone knows the magic word to
    tell SBC to get station details working please let me know). Voice
    compression results in "cell phone" quality on many calls. Echo
    problems can take a long time to quash. One simple programming change
    to a "router" can totally hose the phone operations. The sets are
    vunerable to virus and DoS attacks. (Their resistance is very good and
    improving all the time, but...)

    Other "pluses" Call Center operations are "cool". Hot seating and CTI
    integration provides the supervisors more controls than they had with
    the C.O. based ACD system they were using. Scripts make it easy to
    change or enhance call flows and audio prompts that are played for the

    I'm sure I'll grow to enjoy this new system, and at least for now
    Cisco is working on feature upgrades and are still developing new
    equipment like the 7970 color set. (Although why anyone would want to
    "surf" from a 6"inch color screen instead of from their 19" color flat
    panel is beyond me.)
    Have also heard rumors that Cisco is working on a Linux based version
    of Call Manager to get away from NT2K.

    Background. I participated in the installation of the first Western
    Electric 2B ESS ever installed outside of the Bell System. I've been
    involved with Centrex and phone systems since 1979. This VoIP stuff is
    still all smoke and mirrors to my "old" brain...

    Lee, Dec 3, 2003
  8. DLR

    Nortec Guest

    The one issue that I've never seen addressed is with everything on "one
    cable" how do you implement gigabit ethernet since all the phones are 10/100

    Oh, I see - when you what to upgrade to GB ethernet, you now have to upgrade
    your phones too. Don't you just love the idea of converged networks? ;-)
    Nortec, Dec 3, 2003
  9. DLR

    DPGumby Guest

    Would gigabit ethernet not support legacy 10/100 NICs?
    DPGumby, Dec 4, 2003
  10. DLR

    Nortec Guest

    It would at 10/100 speeds - so your gigabit switch would be limited to
    10/100 Mbps (the maximum speed of the IP phone's build in switch).
    Nortec, Dec 4, 2003
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