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Netbooks, PDA and Phones Thread, On site vs cloud in Technical; We're looking into a new phone system for the school (700 students 80 staff) to replace an old system, so ...
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    On site vs cloud

    We're looking into a new phone system for the school (700 students 80 staff) to replace an old system, so naturally we're looking towards VoIP. It seems there are 2 ways around it, either an onsite PBX system like Lync or 3CX, or a cloud system like Skype or Sendhub. Other than not being able to have a full desk phone with a cloud system what are the main differences between the 2 types? This could easily be a very silly question but at the moment I can't really see why you'd have an on site system when you could just install Skype on all the machines and give the staff USB handsets.

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    Other than not being able to have a full desk phone with a cloud system what are the main differences between the 2 types
    You can with some systems. A few companies off Asterisk based hosted solutions.

    If your internet goes down you can still phone internally with on site. The cost will be cheaper, don't have to pay for hosted. Also if you are using a Fax on the system, you will need it to be on site and it will have to down a PSTN or ISDN.

    One big thing, if you go hosted you will need to make sure you have enough bandwidth for each client. Also you will need to make sure your ISP supports QOS.
    Last edited by FN-GM; 28th April 2014 at 04:24 PM.

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    As mentioned, both systems can have real handsets.

    We've been through this recently. Cloud platforms tend to have a richer feature set but are license based which can be costly year on year. An on site PBX tends to be cheaper both outright and ongoing we found, but won't have quite so many features, and may be harder to upgrade in the future.

    We've just put in a LG-Ericsson iPECs voip system and ISDN30 - found it to be best on cost and reliability - of cause your mileage may vary.

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    Someone I used to work with has a VOIP solution hosted and they have put in a 100Mb pipe specifiacally for VOIP traffic and nothing else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LinkZ View Post
    It seems there are 2 ways around it, either an onsite PBX system like Lync or 3CX, or a cloud system like Skype or Sendhub.
    A SIP PBX system like 3CX or Asterisk doesn't actually have to be on-site, it could be away in a datacentre somewhere. Some providors offer remotly-managed system - they might call them "cloud" systems, but really they're just a SIP server sat in a rack in a datacentre. Such a system might be easier to manage (or might be managed for you), although as pointed out if your Internet connections goes then your phone connection goes, too.

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    Ok sounds like hosted may be a possibility, especially if we could have desk phones that work with it. I do like the idea of a traditional PBX on site but need to look at all options.

    What systems do you guys have in place at the moment? We've just had an Avaya system fitted using Avaya Flare softphones on the computers and it is not working how we need it to at all, so we're considering cancelling the contract (mis-sold on a few things, promised some features that we don't have etc) so i've been asked to look into potential alternatives, but i've never dealt with phone systems before. I'm having someone come in to quote me for a system based on Lync, but do any of you have some alternative recommendations? I've been thrown in at the deep end here!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LinkZ View Post
    What systems do you guys have in place at the moment?
    We installed an IQPBX system over the summer. It's an Asterisk appliance - an all-in-one way of getting Asterisk, a user interface and the hardware all together for a reasonable price. It's not bad, and certainly seems to be working reliably now we've got it set up, but it did take a bit of work to configure and if setting up again I'd probably be inclined just to go for a plain Asterisk install. If you use SIP "trunks" (i.e. a SIP server attached to some kind of telephone / ISDN line somewhere) from a providor you don't even need a physical machine to run your PBX, you can just run it as a virtual machine on your usual server hardware and just your external call traffic goes to the remote SIP providor. Techincally, you need an Internet connection with a garunteed quality of service - we have an Ethernet First Mile connection, a dedicated "leased line". You don't need that much bandwidth, though, just for external calls - a 10 megabit line would be fine. In practice, you might get away with an ADSL line if there wasn't too much outgoing traffic, it would depend on the line and, probably, time of day.

    The cost for the IQPBX appliance, plus 60-odd handsets, was around £10,000 - not bad at all, compared with some quotes we got for around £30,000 for much the same thing. That price didn't include installation (which we did ourselves, and consisted of simply plugging teh handsets in and registering them) or network upgrades. At the same time we were upgrading all our physical wiring and switches, so we now have a 10 gigabit fibre backbone and gigabit PoE capable switches to power the VoIP handsets, with a dedicated netwok port for phones in each room. That cost rather more, but if you already have a capable network you should be fine.



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