New phone system
As you might have worked out...new everything! New build (primary), blah blah...if you were spec-ing a phone system what would you put in? Future looking but not overkill. Again, this is an area I have (very) little knowledge in so any good guides/info you've come across would be helpful - if only to satisfy my annoying curiosity! Is ISDN the done thing nowadays or have things moved on?! I hear and read about VOIP but not sure if this is an extra to a conventional phone line or takes the place of one!
I like to think of a phone system in 2 parts:
Internal lines / phones (the stuff that goes to the desk)
External lines / connectivity (ISDN / analogue / SIP)
Internally you have 2 main options (you can do hybrid on some systems) - VOIP or Traditional Analogue/Digital
VOIP means it can use your existing network - switches, network points, routers, PoE etc.
A traditional system tends to use its own cabling (it can be structures CAT5/6) and distribution boxes.
Hybrid systems can use some of each.
Externally you have the incoming / outgoing calls.
SIP sends calls via a gateway on the internet - pros - cheaper to run and expand, cons - all eggs in one basket - no internet no phone lines.
ISDN - 2 lines per basic channel - pros - most systems can handle these, a well know solution - cons - not the cheapest solution.
Analogue - the type of phone line you have at home typically - pros - basic, easy to understand, line works in a power cut - cons - not flexible
You can on some systems mix and match the above, but the more you add the more it costs.
My experience is that the desk phones tend to be the biggest cost of a system. While staff may say they don't want / envisage using computer integration (dialling, popups, etc.) we found it is now one of the most used and liked aspects.
Getting the main system users involved in choosing the handsets will get you some good brownie points.
Excellent thanks! So, where I currently am we have four (I think) incoming lines which I presume are ISDN. There is a controller in one of the data cabinets. Desktop phones plug into Cat5 wall sockets (with a dongle) which is connected into a separate patch panel which is then routed back to the controller thus totally separate from the main network. If we want a phone in another part of the building, we need to have a dongle, a free network socket, plug the relevant patch lead into the phone patch panel, pay lots to reconfigure the controller (unless replacing an existing phone) and finally hope for the best! What I'd like to be able to do is be working in another part of the building, plug a phone in and have it work without reconfiguring anything or better still, have a hands free phone (or an App on my smartphone) that could just connect to the school-wide WiFi and work! Or am I being overly optimistic?!
I'm not sure I like the complete 'eggs in one basket' approach of just relying on the internet connection just yet though.
I would look at the Avaya VOIP kit, I think its fairly cheap to setup, if you expand to OneX you can have the software on PC's to save handset costs or to help those who work all over (laptops). We have ours going out via 30 channel ISDN.
Ive just gone down the VOIP route using FreePBX and yealink handsets - How Many phones are you talking about? If its less then 10 hosted VOIP might be cheaper then ISDN/SIP etc.
I would only recommend a hosted VOIP system if you have a good internet connection from past experience you need a good solid connection for this to work.
Yes you need to make sure the adsl line is voice certified. The VOIP providers i looked at where Natterbox and VOIPlicity and both can provide the lines.
Originally Posted by MatthewL
Max 7 phones I suppose. So, ISDN in (to avoid relying solely on internet connection) but an internal system that allows use of VOIP rather than traditional cabling? Would this allow use of internet based calling (presumably through a third party provider) as well or in the future?
But then you have the argument that these days adsl is just as reliable as ISDN (when you point to IP addresses rather then DNS). DNS is the weak link and probably always will be - for 7 phones you would need only .7Mb Line to go hosted on average. Most of the site hosted boxes will be overkill for you imho.
Originally Posted by djones
Ive moved an entire secondary school to SIP trunks on a leased line (10 trunks)
Internet calling tends to use SIP to connect to an online endpoint form where it is then routed.
Rough pricing breakdown of ISDN vs SIP Vs Hosted
ISDN is Roughly £15 per channel per month.
SIP is anywhere between £3 - £8 per channel per month
Hosted is between £7 and £12 per phone per month
Have a play with Elastix, its what we have used here since 2009, we love it. Its a free PBX system. We have 8 ISDN Channels, and 50 Extentions. Rarely have more than 6 simultanious outbound/inbound calls.
Ok, food for thought!
Originally Posted by glennda
Forgive me if I'm being thick with FreePBX and Elastix (and others I assume) but are they are essentially a Linux distro installed on dedicated hardware (or VM like Hyper-V?) and presumably have a card installed with a number of ISDN/analogue phone lines plugged in? IP phones then plug into the network and communicate with the Elastix system which in turn routes internally or externally via the interface card and the external phone lines?
Originally Posted by Quackers
Asterix or Avaya VOIP systems
We installed a Splicecom VOIP system a few months back, see some of my blog posts for more info.
I did play with Elastix as well, setup a temporary system that ran for nearly a year to get connectivity to some parts of the school before hand; worked well. I still have a bunch of Grandstream Phones up for sell (see the classifieds) which we used on this project if your interested?