Cisco IP Telephony

Posted on 2009-12-22
Last Modified: 2013-12-27
Dear all

i would like a strong business justification to change my old Panasonic PBX to Cisco IPT

SO please provide me with many key points that can be beneficial from the business perspective (e.g cost effective , enhance collaboration,etc...)
Question by:mfawzy77
    LVL 34

    Expert Comment

    by:Istvan Kalmar

    How many telephone do you need, how many ISDN BRI/PRI or analog line do you need?

    Author Comment

    8 Lines
    LVL 34

    Expert Comment

    by:Istvan Kalmar
    what type of lines how many phones???

    Author Comment

    analog lines and 40 cisco phones
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    IPT, regardless of the vendor, first requires a little due diligence; or at least, some understanding of what you want to get out of it.  If you have 8 POTS lines and 40 phones, truthfully, IPT won't do much for you, unless you have very high long distance volume to in-network recipients who would be put on your IPT infrastructure.  Or maybe you want to put in IPT because it's time to dump what you've got for something else, whatever vendor that may be.  If that's the case, in your environment, unless you see huge growth happening, I'd put in Avaya IP Office.  1/4 the price of CM / Unity, easier to set up and install, and will give you features that you're not going to get with CM unless you want to really fork over some major bucks for the software and for strong consultants to come build and install it for you.  You mentioned callmanager, so I'll focus on that - and bear in mind, I'm not trying to talk you out of callmanager; I've built lots of them, I love that product, it's really a great investment.  However, it does not fit all environments; specifically, the smaller groups like yours.  It's a lot of money spent for the sake of no longer having it.

    (1) With CallManager, you'll get a 1U box for your call processing server.  This box runs windows, you'd be crazy to just have one.  If you want a good, reliable infrastructure, buy two of them and work with a group that knows how to set them up in failover.  It can really work well; users on calls, you're open for business.  A CM server lays  an egg on you - raid controller dies, power supply dies, whatever, a CM dies on you.  The other server takes over the load, end users never know, their calls don't get dropped.  You can't do this with one server.  

    (2) With CallManaqer, the voicemail component is called Unity.  You need to research Unity to see what version you require.  If you're going to use 40 mailboxes with not much plan on growth, and you don't need unified messaging, put in Unity Express.  If you need unified messaging, put in a 1U Unity server, but don't let someone sell you cheap and quote you a 7815.  That is an IBM NetVista box with a railkit that has 1 SATA drive in it.  You so much as lose a single SATA drive, your vmail infrstructure is down and stays that way.  Get the 1U box with two drives, raid1 - spend that money if you're going with Unity.

    (3) Also think about your phones.  Salesfolks will quote you a phone called the 7912G because it's 1/3 the price of other phones, it brings the cost of the quote down.  Problem is, these phones were designed specifically for an educational conference calling purpose, not for business.  These are single line appearance phones so you can't have two lines on any phone.  They also don't support speakerphone.  They have a speaker so you can hear, but no microphone.  To talk in the phone, you must use the handset.   The next phone up is the 7940, this is a full-featured phone with up to 4 lines, then the 7960 has 6 lines.  But you also pay for them.

    (4) Also think about SRST.  Survivable Remote Site Telephony; this is a router that you'll use as your voice gateway router.  Your POTS lines will plug into an FXo card on this router.  SRST is the 2nd backup option.  If you lose both CM servers, provided you put in 2 of them, the router will continue to process calls for you while you get the CM servers back up.  Again, watch the salesmen.  The salesguys will quote you a 2811 router for your voice gateway, but this router only support 36 phones in srst mode.  If that works for you, groovy.  If, however, you'll want the ability to keep more than 36 phones online, you'll need to go up to a 2821 (48 phones).  If you want more than that, you'll have to go up to a 2851 for 96 phones, but now you're talking about a $50,000 router.  

    (5) Also consider your switching infrastructure.  You need a good one or CM will be a bad idea in the extreme.  What most people do is put the phones into the data drop going to the access-layer switch(es), then hang the computers off of the ethernet ports on the backs of the phones.  Phones, on the voice vlan, get IPs via DHCP from the switches, computers, on the data vlan, get their IPs via DHCP from the windows DCs (or whatever infrastructure you have).  You need to use routing switches.  Don't use the old router-on-a-stick model for inter-vlan routing, that will not be a good model for IPT, it's too reliably jittery.   Nor would it be wise to try to put CM on an old 2900 series switched infrastructure; put in routing switches, I'd recommend 3560s for your environment.

    (6) Also find out what will be required of you from a reporting standpoint.  Right now, you may be able to do something like quickly run a report that details all calls to / from a specific extension last Friday.  That may well be important to you; forget about it with CM, again unless you're willing to pay for the enterprise reporting module and pay someone who knows what they're doing to set it up for you and train you on it.  And I mean pay a LOT.  
    Or maybe you want to record calls, have a paging system, something like that?  You'll need something like an IPCelerate server - again, have your checkbook ready.

    These are just a few things to look out for.  In a smaller infrastructure, one site, fewer than 60 phones, I really recommend Avaya IP Office.  They own this space, and with very good reason.  

    Business Case(s) for Cisco CallManager, considering only the small, single site scenario with fewer than 60 phones:

    (1) With Callmanager, you aren't married to an outside vendor for every little support request.  Someone's extension changes, someone is moving an office, someone needs a line added to their phone - you can do all of these day-to-day tasks yourself very easily, no need to fork over $500 every time the wind blows.  With most of the old TDM systems, you need this support from an outside vendor, and you never stop throwing money at it.  (you get this same thing with Avaya IP Office, but for 1/5 the price of CM, usually).

    (2) With CallManager, you don't have to touch switches and configure phone systems to move someone's phone from one office to another.  You don't have to wait on cabling, you just move the phone, plug it in, and you're online.

    (3) With CallManager (more specifically with Unity Voicemail or Unity Express), you have myriad options that aren't available in most competing systems.  You can have a voicemail greeting for internal callers and a different one for off-network callers, for example.  There's a whole slew of examples here.

    (4) With CallManager, you don't have to be in your office to get something done.  If you leave the office for vacation, but you forgot to activate your out-of-office voicemail greeting, or you forgot to activate call forwarding, for example, you can log in from any phone in the world and turn it on remotely.  No need to call IT, no need for outside assistance.

    (5) CallManager servers, being 1U pizza boxes, take up less room on racks and use far less power than the giant, beastly TDM cabinets - or even their competitors IP PBX products.  Ever seen a 1U Toshiba, NEC or Tadiran box that uses little power?  Neither has anyone else.  

    (6) With Callmanager, any cisco phone will work on your infrastructure.  You needn't worry about the old "well, I know you hired 4 new people, but we can't put phones for them on your network because your card only has two available ports."  Or maybe everyone's favorite:  "Your card won't support newer phones, and we can no longer vend the older ones.  To get these new employees online, you need a new card for $467,000, and you'll have to upgrade all your handsets as well."

    (7) With callmanager, should you bring another site online remotely, you don't need a whole new call processing server at the remote site, H.323 gateways, none of that poo.  Just throw in a voice gateway router configured with SRST, build your vpn or preferably your dedicated route to home, and you're online.  This is a very nice feature, by far the best on the market at any price.  Cisco SRST is a real homerun, no one else touches it.

    (8) Callmanager has the best scalability and growth model in the market.  

    (9) Cisco tech support and their willingness to own up to their product are unmatched in the industry - provided you pay for smartnet.

    Hope this helps, but do at least consider Avaya IP Office.  It's not as sexy and not as cool to play with, but you'll really enjoy the ease of use and ease of administration, and your employer will really enjoy the pricetag.  --TX

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