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    VOIP - full IP system or hybrid?

    We've got quotes for a replacement of our ageing phone system (this is from a supplier the school has used for many years and wants to keep using, so that part is out of my hands, plus I don't have enough experience to setup a system myself)

    The lowest quote is for a hybrid solution which would provide IP phones for the admin staff, and for the remote sites connected via leased line (which is the main reason for looking at VOIP) yet keep the existing digital phones for most of the school, and the highest is for a pure IP system with every handset replaced with IP ones. There is obviously quote a few thousand £ difference in these quotes, but my boss has said she will go with whichever I think would be suitable.

    I've mulled it over for weeks now and still can't decide - on one hand I'm thinking go for the cheaper end, as do classroom phones really need to be changed when they are only used to contact reception/other teachers internally, but on the other hand I'm thinking that if we're going to do it, we should go for the lot - not to mention the pure IP solution has a 1U rackmount controller, and the hybrid uses a modular system which could turn out being pretty big, also existing phone cabling terminates in the wrong place so would need to be moved anyway. But then with the full solution, there is a lot of work running extra network points to each room.

    What would you do? The quotes are for a Toshiba system, the hybrid one is a Strata CIX 670 and the full IP one is a Toshiba IP Edge

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Why do you need extra network points in the room are there not any that in suitable locations? even if they are currently in use by desktops/laptops get phones with build in switches.

    Ben

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Where I used to work I replaced the phone system with Lync (with enterprise voice). Licensing is pennies for education and the feature set is far superior to any traditional PBX.

    Where I now work, we have almost finished replacing our global telephony infrastructure with Lync and it has saved us a hell of a lot of money, despite having to pay full price for Lync licensing.

    Either way, I've not heard anything amazing about Toshiba phone systems.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Long term I think IP is the way to go with telephony. It's just so much more flexible and it dovetails nicely into your existing data network. For your specific situation it would depend on how long you want this new system to last?

    Toshiba is ok as a traditional PBX, not amazing but it gets the job done. The Strata systems have more bells and whistles. I wouldn't bother with a Commercial IP PBX myself. I can do a better job with a DIY solution. I recommend you stick FreePBX on VMWare Player and have a fiddle. It'll cost you nothing other than time and effort and you'll learn a lot.

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    You have PM.

    Personaly I would go for FULL IP unless reusing a number of good digital key sets.

    You could replace the classroom phones with IP Softphones, and possibly the remote workers too.

    Rob
    Last edited by twin--turbo; 1st August 2012 at 12:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Toshiba is ok as a traditional PBX, not amazing but it gets the job done. The Strata systems have more bells and whistles. I wouldn't bother with a Commercial IP PBX myself. I can do a better job with a DIY solution. I recommend you stick FreePBX on VMWare Player and have a fiddle. It'll cost you nothing other than time and effort and you'll learn a lot.
    That is the issue, time. My boss really wants something in place ASAP. Currently we have 3 sites and everyone is getting fed up of not being able to easily transfer calls and having to dial out externally to call between sites.

    I would love to be able to do it myself, but I don't want to rush it and I feel like I would be. Also although I'm sure I would be fine with setting it all up internally, connecting it to our existing ISDN30 scares me, if I'm honest! I wouldn't have a clue

    Edit: I have already had a play with FreePBX and whatever I go with, I'll probably still learn it all as it's a good skill to have. I'm just not sure my boss has the patience!
    Last edited by sidewinder; 1st August 2012 at 12:10 PM.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    The Sandoma A101/A102/A104 cards I use make it a doddle with any asterisk based PBX. All you need to know are what the line is set to (BT is E1,EuroISDN,CRC4,HDB3,D-Channel 16). Beyond that the CallerID can be a bit fiddley, but only if you need to send a custom CID.
    Last edited by Geoff; 1st August 2012 at 12:14 PM.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Connecting Lync 2010 or OCS 2007 R2 to the PSTN | Nathan Winters - Exchange Specialist

    Some sort of interface or gateway is likely to be required there.

    Ben

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    The officeServ solution I mentioned in PM will handle analoug handsets if necessary.

    Do you have leased lines between your sites?


    We run our system here in the UK, remote offices in scotland just using internet connection ( the phones connect back to HQ ) and an office in South Affrica which also connects right back to HQ using a standard internet connection.


    At my other job (ending soon) we run a Cisco sytem over our leased line . People still forget to just dial the internal extensions between sites. It has cuts call charges by a huge amoun though.

    Rob

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twin--turbo View Post
    People still forget to just dial the internal extensions between sites. It has cuts call charges by a huge amoun though.
    I wrote clever dial plans for Lync to translate the numbers back into extensions to stop this happening. We also have voice gateways in different countries to give us least cost routing

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twin--turbo View Post
    The officeServ solution I mentioned in PM will handle analoug handsets if necessary.

    Rob
    As in Samsung Office Serv?

    Please post details if you are able on that, why did you have to PM the OP?

    Ben

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    Go full, if you boss is saying they will pay for what ever you think is best then no point having a hybrid.

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    VOIP is the way to go now. It has so many advantages.

    Especially if you go down a FreePBX/Asterisk route.

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    If I had to redo our phone system I'd use these guys if budget permitted!

    Business Communications Solutions from Avaya - UK

    Otherwise it'd be freepbx\Asterix all the way!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpjitservices View Post
    If I had to redo our phone system I'd use these guys if budget permitted!

    Business Communications Solutions from Avaya - UK

    Otherwise it'd be freepbx\Asterix all the way!
    Havng used an Avaya system (all be it an IPOffice)... I wouldn't ever buy an Avaya system. PITA to manage and expensive vendor lock in on handsets. Of course the vendor lock in thing is typical of almost all proprietry PBX systems.

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