VOIP software / deployment on an existing leased line


A brief outline - we are in a serviced office at the moment, consultancy business, 12 staff, 10 London, and 2 in New York also in a serviced office. We pay for a shared leased line connection and business rate calls - which are astronomical and mostly for intra organisation communication between LON-NYC. We would like to move to leverage VOIP, however, firms like Viatel for example offering a hosted IP voice solution and QoS guarantee require that we have our own leased line circuit installed which is supplied by them, for their network.

This presents a problem, as our current landlord may not allow this (as it will be taking the comms costs from his pocket) and we are not wanting the initial outlay of our own lease at this point it is >1year away.

We can, however, install a dedicated leased line or upgrade our bandwidth through our landlord. My question is, in moving to VOIP as a way of cutting out telecoms costs is there:

a) a provider out there that will do a hosted solution based on our current infrastructure, or

b) is there a soft client option that we can leverage across our current bandwidth with a reliable QoS (e.g. more robust than MSN... Skype).

I hope this is clear, help appreciated...

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gotvmail can help your employees stay connected even if they are at different geographical locations


emmy21Author Commented:
can you help me understand where this fits in? its not just between offices that we want comms, its external as well and reducing those costs, especially conferencing... currently we use Intercall which effectively means we are paying for all participants as well!
Hi emmy21,
    There are a few questions.
1. Do you have a full time IT person.
2. Currently do you have any PBX's

As far as QOS, this takes place throughout the network... softclients or IP phones for the most part do not do QOS... you should look for a router or a QOS device to do this.  Currently the leader in the QOS market is Edgewater Neetworks... there 4200 series should work for you.

You will need one of the two:
A hosted PBX service provider or
A IP based PBX

If you are not looking for an initial capital outlay I would recommend Hosted, it is designed for multible offices, controlled through a web interface, and typically includes the transport.  You can use local FXO's than for your out-of-the-usa local calling (for example your london office calling london).  

Option two is installing a IP PBX with local loop devices at each branch office.  This would envolve installing a PBX at the largest office and VPN'ing calls back.  This is a more expensive solutions with a few but, not truely worthy benefits.

Either way you go... be cautious of local emergency dialing fail-overs... some people willsay you do not need them... but, better safe than sorry.

As far as gotvmail... this is not the solution you are looking for... your a beyond a SOHO class solution.

If you need recommendations on either class system let me know... I have worked with a significant amount of US and London based companies and know a few good ones.

Good luck on your migration... it sounds like it will save you a lot of money soon!
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You get a toll-free number.
People calling the toll-free number get forwarded to your IP-PBX hosted by gotvmail.
A automated voice-attendant(You can record your own company voice) will answer the call and direct the user to dial the
extension of the person they already know or hear the available options.
When the person dials an extension the person related to the extension gets the call.
If the person is not available then call gets directed to his/her voicemail.
Or if the call forwarding feature is set then you can specify which phone nos to call if the first is not available.
In this way the person gets a good impression of your company.
There is also greetings manager option where you can set different greetings for people calling during office hours and after office hours.
The best part is you don't have to purchase any expensive equipment and use your current telephony infrastructure.
emmy21Author Commented:

I am the IT person, I graduated a couple of years ago and have been involved in a wide range of projects but mainly am building the database / ERP solution for the firm. We also have remote engineers that support us for general windows and networking stuff.

We dont have our own PBX, all we own is our PC's, servers and blackberries and thats it.

I have been talking to a few providers on this (and each says their solution is the best of course!) we would probably go with a Viatel Hosted IP service, but thats only possible if the landlord allows us to put in our own circuit. we would have some normal digital telephone lines for fail over (only 1 or two, just so the office can stay contactable). This is then scalable for when we are ready to do the same in New York and have a secure MPLS link. However, someone else has recommended an InterTel converged solution, I am less clear what this involves - are you familiar with Intertel solutions?

Yeah, I met them at the last VON conference... I was not that impressed... If you are going with a hardware based solution I would stick with adtran or avaya... Will you only be usinging softphones? or will you be trying a handset solution like this?

Are you located in the US or london? if in the US what area? I will send you some people I have used... No matter what makes sure if you go with a Broadsoft or Sylantro based hosted solution... there are way to many issues with asterisk's based sofswitches.  

I think its good that everyone thinks there product is best... if not thier company is in trouble...

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emmy21Author Commented:
Good point! ... although that makes my job difficult!

I think both Viatel and the Intertel supplier are suggesting phones like in the hyperlink.

We have 10 in London, and 2 in US, Madison Ave, NYC.

What is an asterisk based softswitch?

>>What is an asterisk based softswitch?

Gotvmail is built on opensource asterisk IP PBX.

As you say you are an IT person.
So I think I can go into some technical details about asterisk.
Asterisk is an open source IP-PBX.
You need a PC installed with linux and asterisk to get started.
asterisk can be got from http://www.asterisk.org/
If you are using VoIP i.e Third party SIP providers for routing your telephony calls then you only need to install asterisk.
If you want to have the capability to make telephony calls directly through the PC then you need to buy a telphony card
from digium.
There are two types of telephony cards ananlog and digital.
You buy an analog card if you have analog telco lines and digital if you have T1 or E1 lines.

I am continuing from where I left :))

You buy an analog card if you have analog telco lines and digital if you have T1 or E1 lines.

Using asterisk in UK:

You can have conferencing, call forwarding and other features I mentioned for gotvmail and much more.
These are some of the feauture you can get with asterisk:-

"What is an asterisk based softswitch? "

A softswitch - is an over used term... technically anything that switches calls... and it being "soft" means it is software based verses a traditional PBX that uses electrical currents to swich calls... In VoIP a softswitch typically means carrier grade vs a softPBX... like pingtel and so on

Why use broadsoft or sylantro vs asterisk?
Stability... the only reason... these two platforms are standardized and tested before releases are put into production... asterisk is open source or "volenteer" built... it is not held up to the same standard.  Many hardware platforms like cisco will not support asterisk based switching.

I am not saying it does not work... I run one in my lab and in my home.. but for commercial grade reliability this is what i would suggest.

installing a 20 ext IP PBX in london... for example ADtran... I have never personally worked with the product but, have been to there training and think it is very impressive and stable for the price.

Install a second remote PBX with 5 ext or so in the US.  both in london and in the US you can terminate locally with whatever existing contracts you have.  just connect the second PBX as a remtoe office.  What is te difference than?  3/4 digit dialing overseas that are free... you can use softphones or i would recommend the polycom ip501...

I would not go with a hosted solution in this case... do to the fact of your US office being so small...
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