Looking for feed back for Cisco VoIP Harware layout.

I am just in the beginning phase of looking into VOIP for my company. We are a small company that is growing at a good rate. Right now we have one main location and two remote offices, with a fourth one coming soon. Right now the network is a real basic layout shown in the first Visio document. As of right now both remote offices connect to the main office via Remote desktop. This is becoming problematic and I am looking at implementing  a VPN between the remote offices and the main location. In addition my boss wants me to look into VOIP.

At the current time I have no experience with VOIP, so if it seems like I have no idea what I am talking about it is because I don't. If my boss decides to go with VOIP they will send me for the training. Right now I would like to get a general idea of what I am going to need for hardware, so that I can give my boss the proposed hardware cost.

I know that I will need at least four routers, one for each location though I am not sure what I need. Each remote location has less than 20 users. The main office has less than 50 users, I am not sure what type of Cisco router I would need here.

The second page of the Visio document is what I think my network would be configured like for the VPN and VoIP. Is there any other hardware that is needed or does the Cisco VoIP routers handle  all the call routing? I have seen some mention of call management servers but have not found any clear definition of what is exactly needed.
I am also undecided if when using VOIP the internet should be accessible from each location or if all locations should be routed to one point for internet access.

Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.

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luc_roySystem AdminCommented:
Ok I think you are over thinking it.  Based on the second network it looks like toy are going to leased line and I am not sure that was your intent.  Firewalls are always a good idea but most Cisco router scan also be a firewall and many Cisco firewalls can also be a router.

I would start with what you budget is and make a plan from that.  You have to remember a lot of things in this design and the biggest is redundancy and emergency situations.

You need to understand VOIP prior to a design.  I would recommend you look at the CCNA Voice CBT Nuggets.  They begin with the legacy voice and conclude with a fully programmed voice network.  He goes over every little step.

Here are the questions you need to ask your boss and yourself

1)      You will need to consider best way VS way you can afford
2)      If you are going Cisco for all and want nice phones you are looking at 4-6K just for phones
3)      If you are going for a Full communication manager VS express that makes a huge difference.
4)      How are you connecting to the outside world, T1, E1, sip provider, etc…?
5)      How are you providing emergency 911 calls?
6)      Do you want firewalls or security enabled routers?
7)      Are you planning on implementing  a proxy server or antivirus services?
8)      Are you changing out all your switches to POE, using bricks or injecting power at the patch panel.

If you can provide more specifics I would be glad to help.

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Did you think only about Cisco as your voip? There are other vendors which may be useful to you. Cisco is based on ther Skinny (SCCP) protocol, new Call Manger also works with SIP (the big standard outside Cisco gear).

Don't get me wrong, I love cisco, it's great, great support, very reliable. But it's definatively more complex an i think more costly.

Like yesterday I've finally set up VOIP with sip provider at my company. We are using Digium Switchvox, it;s the same people that develop Asterisk but commercial, with commercial support. I strongly reccomend, look at their product as it's very easy to implement (15 people, 8 concurent calls  version free, try it). It works with ISDN cards, ATAs and almost any vendor IP phone there is.


Concerning VOIP, independently if you plan only voip provider (cheaper and easier in my opinion) or plan connecting to PSTN your biggest concern is your internal network.

1. Implement seperate vlan for voice
2. Implement Quality of service for voice
3. Your wan connection bandwidth must be sufficient to use voice calls via VPN from remote office .

It's a great technology and I wish you lots of fun with it. As luc_roy said, if you stick with CIsco try CBT Nuggets, CCNA VOICE or even CCVP. Their instructor Jeremy Ciora (he is their cisco specialist) is a great teacher and very funny guy. LIstening to his classes is is pure fun.

MJcoutureAuthor Commented:

As for Firewalls or Security enabled routers, I already have three ASA firewalls so I do not believe I would need the security enabled routers. As for connection we currently T1's but would switch to SIP if we go with the VoIP. As for the rest of your questions I am really not sure, I still have a lot of research to do. I totally agree that understanding VoIP is needed before I can plan out the design.

I guess I should point out one of the main reasons we are looking at changing our phone system. I work for a Home Medical Equipment Company and a large portion of our revenue is monthly and quarterly product refills for customers. Well most customers don't realize when they can get the products like CPAP and Nebulizer supplies just to name a few refiled. We spend a lot of money having people dedicated to calling these individuals to schedule there refills. I know with Cisco (and I am sure there are others) you can automate the call process to call people in the database when they are due for their supplies.

I have ran the numbers and even after implementation of this system, if we did not gain any new revenue (which is highly unlikely) the company would still gain just over $60,000 a year by elimination of two positions. This in itself would cover the cost of the hardware and training.

Piwoware I will take a look at switchvox, but I kind of looking forward to my boss paying for my Cisco certs. :)

I appreciate both of your inputs and will check out the CBT nuggets.

luc_roySystem AdminCommented:
Also take a look at trixbox.They have an easy layout and can use tesktop clients also.  It's a great system.  I like to use trixbox with Voicepulse as the sip provider.  If you can configure IVR's to deal with a lot of you calls, to call recording voicemail etc.... without purchasing other items.  I actually like to put both a Trixbox and a Call Manager express to cover down on my voicemail and IVR's.  Also I can then support every type of phone and hall the full feature set I need.  I am working on a paper for EE and should be posting it soon on this process.
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