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Cisco phone system

Discussion in 'Other Cool Technologies & Services' started by Jarrett, Dec 8, 2010.

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  1. Jarrett

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    Anyone here know much about IP based phone systems?

    We are moving our digital phone system to an IP based phone system. So far we have evaluated Nortel, Digium, Cisco and Avaya.

    Any guidance for a fool like me? I like the thought of having all of my networking equipment match my phone system vendor.

    Looking for advice.

    Jarrett
     
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  3. DanMorgan

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    we have Cisco at the dealership. It's really nice with a multi-store company for extensions and such. Of course we have caller ID on the phones but it's nice with forwarding phone calls to another phone and the receptionists can even see whos on the phone and who's not just by a quick view on the computer at the desk.
     
  4. mattwatson81

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    We use Switchvox. It is the commercial version of the open source asterisk system. It is backed up by great local vendors to support it like any other phone system. It is a great IP based phone system and the price is very low. Probably significantly lower than Cisco.
     
  5. CliffC

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    We use an Avaya system. Not all of our phones are IP. The system is packed with features and for the most part, has been reliable. If I were seeking a new phone system today, It seems that an Asterisk or Cisco system may be a better fit for these two reasons:

    1) The support for our Avaya system (authorized dealer) has not been all that responsive and Avaya doesn't seem to want to get involved in suggesting another reseller. They said that we're on our own for that.

    2) I would really like a phone system on a non-proprietary platform like Asterisk that could be virtualized on a system at our rack-host as opposed to being installed on site.

    Cliff
     
  6. mattwatson81

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    I personally would never virtualize a phone system. When I have tested this before it caused voice quality problems.
     
  7. Alex Snyder

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    At Checkered Flag we use Cisco through ADP. What a nightmare that was until we actually hired someone who understood the phone system and dealership processes. He told me we would have been better off not going through ADP for the phone system because ADP did not use Cisco's latest and greatest. We missed out on some reporting, recording, coaching, and other call center features we would have liked to have because of that.

    If you don't have the right reporting in place you will struggle on finding the appropriate way to set your call distributions up properly.

    Just 1 report I always wanted to look at: Make sure you can view usage by extension by time of day. You're going to want to watch both the inbound and outbound load per extension. Yes, I know this sounds very basic, but you'd be surprised what reporting might not exist.....or how difficult it is to show it.
     
  8. Joey

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    When we opened our used car store last February we were shopping phone systems and really just didn't like the pricing structures of the commercial options out there. I found a local paging company that was doing some work with open source IP phone system software from Astrisk and Free PBX. It has more features than we use and is really cost effective. You can run the system with a bare bones PC and shop for deals on IP phones online.

    We manage the day to day operation of the system in house, new extensions, ring groups, messaging ect. When the time comes to replace the phone systems in our other three stores we will go with this type of solution again. If a store has a good in house IT department you can bring your entire phone system operation in house.
     
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  9. DrewAment

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    Our business phone system is a VOIP Asterisk. We started with Switchvox, which is just a GUI interface for Asterisk, but moved to FreePBX (also a GUI interface for Asterisk) after a few months because of features needed (or more like "wanted"). We host the server inhouse - quality has never been a problem.

    Like Matt said - I would not really be willing to host a business solution virtualized. It needs its own server and pipe, with limit lag, low ping, and high bandwidth. That's not to say you couldn't host offsite, would just need its own box with high through-put. I do have my HOME phone system hosted (Asterisk) via a cloud environment, virtualized, but never had to handle more than 4 calls at a time.
     
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  10. NLorenzo

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    In my former job as an IT Technician/Grunt/Wireslinger, we did a number of phone system installs. I recommend going through someone with plenty of experience, and Asterisk based systems are extremely robust, solid and capable. With a good programmer backing the system in use, you can get follow-me features/calling, dialing extensions to cellphones, cellphone inbound calling to specific extensions (employee-specific greeting when they call from select numbers like cell or home), exceptional call tracking, call record exporting... an incredible array of features, honestly.

    I would go with the opinions of those who have already advised GUI based Asterisk systems, and absolutely host it on-site wherever humanly possible. The initial cost of server hardware, phones, etc can be a bit daunting, but the long term savings, flexibility and functionality more than makes up for the cost. Hosting off-site invites a world of latency issues you and your salespeople should never have to mess with; for them it should just be a phone call, not an echo fight.

    Most importantly, listen to the advice of the provider you decide to go with and weigh it with a grain of salt when it comes to phone choices. We always advised our clients to switch to true VoIP phones (usually Snom for a balance of cost/effectiveness). An added benefit? Get rid of that ridiculous, hideous wiring rack your oldschool PBX needs. Run Power Over Ethernet switches for your phones and skip out on the power bricks; it all depends how far down the rabbit hole you want to go.

    The benefits with a good development team go even further; fax to email was a godsend, and some of our clients with many locations could not believe how much cheaper inter-store calling got when it went from going over land lines to being just an IP transaction.

    EDIT:

    Also, your receptionist(s) will fall in love with a good system. When I left we had recently set up a few clients with a click-and-drag user interface for their receptionist, so she could drop calls to extensions and monitor if someone's line was busy, if they had grabbed their voicemail or not or with clock-in/clock-out know if they were even there. All based on someone's name on a screen, not a hasty scribble on a tiny line, and they got to use regular sized phones instead of some monstrosity spanning the better portion of their desks.

    Our brilliant (and insane) lead programmer was an Asterisk sorcerer, and simply had his phone paired to his PC, and it would report to the server when the pairing was broken and assume he wasn't at his desk, and just pass all the calls to his cellphone. Like I said, find the right programmer and just about anything is possible.
     
    #9 NLorenzo, Dec 9, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010
  11. CliffC

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    Hey wait a minute! Isn't Nortel owned by Avaya now. I think that Avaya has published a plan to push the Nortel users to the Avaya platform too.

    For me, that would leave Digium (and it's offspring) and Cisco. Have you looked at Mitel? They claim to have more market share than the others (even after the Nortel-Avaya thing).


    ?
     

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