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Avaya vs Shortel

Posted on 2013-01-03
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Last Modified: 2013-03-20
A decision will be made on either of the following systems (not yet had comparative quotes yet), but I'd like to know if there are any positive/negatives from the experts???

2 sites.
40 phones
need failover
sip, isdn, efm option and recommendations
voicemail
voicerecording

Cheers
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Question by:CHI-LTD
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by:Gary Dewrell
Gary Dewrell earned 36 total points
ID: 38740038
We have been on Shoretel now for about 5 years. We really like it. I have a HQ site and 2 remote sites.  About 200 phones in all plus about 20 remote soft phone users.  We have Lifesize Video Coferancing sip phones in all boardrooms.  Very easy to manage, very easy to install/upgrade.

If I have any negative at all it is that Shoretel is somewhat slow keep up with Microsoft OS and Office releases in thier agents. For example Windows 7 64 bit and Office 64 bit were out for almost  year before Shoretel officially supported either.  Wasn't a major issue. We have discussed it wiht them and they say they are wroking on shortening that time frame.

Have a blessed day!
Gary
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Mohammed Hamada
ID: 38740314
We are using Snom, cheap, effective and have all these features however, if I you'd stick to those two then I'd suggest Shoretel as well.
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38740408
Sorry, snom phones with a shoretel system?
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Expert Comment

by:Mohammed Hamada
ID: 38740451
Yes Snom phones work on Shoretel system. however some codec issues might rise and need additional configuration to this applies on other regular phones.
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38740475
If were installing a new shoretel surely its wise to use the shoretel phones?
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Mohammed Hamada
ID: 38740519
Well to be honest I think the only thing that would get people to buy snom phones rather than Shoretel is the cost.

Other than that if you're buying a shoretel system then I'd get shoretel phones too.
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38740639
Anyone used the shoretel sky offering (cloud) and is it available in the uk?
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Expert Comment

by:Gary Dewrell
ID: 38740831
I have not. Sorry.
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by:JRSCGI
JRSCGI earned 250 total points
ID: 38742115
The ShoreTel Sky offering is not based on the ShoreTel platform.  The ShoreTel Sky offering is a rebranding of M5 networks that was bought by ShoreTel last year.  

If you are buying the ShoreTel system, you will have much better results using the ShoreTel phones.  They are high quality and some specific features are available that match the ShoreTel software.  SNOM phones are good SIP phones, but do not provide all the features that ShoreTel's own instruments will give you.  

Although ShoreTel does business in the UK, I don't think M5 networks has a presence there yet; they have two data centers in the US and one in Australia.

In your size range I would almost always choose the ShoreTel over the Avaya.  It is easier to program, has more embedded features, and will cost you less to support over the upcoming years.

Almost no Telecom vendor can keep real current with MSFT OS releases, but I agree ShoreTel is a bit slower than some to issue compatibility with current versions.
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getzjd earned 143 total points
ID: 38743445
We also have shoretel and have since 2009.  We have it installed at 8 sites across the US with about 400 extensions.  I also setup a SIP trunk to an Avaya IP Office in our Netherlands location without having to use the Siparator like they like to advertise.   We have been really pleased with ther performance and reliability.  It is easy to install, configure, and manage even for someone with no voip expereince.   It meets our business needs .
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38743454
How are the sites connected?  Ethernet?  MPLS?  
What is in place should your line or shoretel switch go down?  Resilience?
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by:getzjd
getzjd earned 143 total points
ID: 38743481
MPLS lines between the locations.  We have not had to replace a switch yet "knock on wood".  If a switch were to go down, you can configure spares etc.   This short blog gives you a good idea of the resilience http://blog.shoretel.com/2012/05/understanding-shoretels-failover-options/
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LVL 36

Expert Comment

by:ArneLovius
ID: 38749078
I prefer Avaya CM systems, but I've been working with them since they were Lucent.

I still manage a Prologix system that was installed in 1995, granted its TDM only, but it (and its handsets) are still working very happily for ~120 users.

I've never used Lucent/Avaya Audix (apart from on the IP600), but always used CallXpress voicemail which has also been rock solid, the Prologix system is connected to a CX system that is still running on OS/2...

I also manage a 5 site CM5.2 system with CX8, it has an LSP at 2 of remote sites with local ISDN30. The sites have L2L IPSec VPN connectivity over a WISP and failover inbound routing via the telco, so have "digger/back hoe" continuity
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by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38750440
getzjd: are you routing in & outbound calls over the MPLS for all sites?  What happens if your line fails or the cloud/datacentre has an issue?  Can you route calls over ISDN as a backup?  This is something one provider has mentioned for redundancy..
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by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38762948
getzjd: a sip trunk is essentially a connection (IP) from the internal phone system out over the internet connection?
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by:JRSCGI
JRSCGI earned 250 total points
ID: 38763485
A SIP trunk is an IP connection designed to carrier telephony traffic, but some SIP carriers deliver SIP trunks over dedicated network connections to bypass the un-managed Internet.  This will cost more than an Internet based SIP service but provide better assurances of call quality (since the telephone calls don't have to compete for bandwidth on the local loop or the pathway to the carrier).
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by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38763614
sip carrier?
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by:JRSCGI
JRSCGI earned 250 total points
ID: 38763686
Most legacy carriers (phone companies) offer both PSTN (public switched telephone network) lines we have used for telephone systems for years AND SIP trunks delivered as an Ethernet / IP connection.  As I mentioned, in many situations that SIP trunk is not delivered over the Internet.

There are many other "carriers" offering dial tone service via SIP service (and only SIP).  The business model for most of them is to ride an Internet connection.  These SIP carriers generally focus on the small business user and residential service.  Larger SIP-only carriers offer the option (and sometime even insist) to deliver the IP-based telephone service (SIP trunks or IP-Centrex type service) over private network connections such as MPLS.
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by:getzjd
getzjd earned 143 total points
ID: 38764915
We have 2 PRI's , one at each of our main sites.  Our published corporate HQ numbers all ring into the PRI's.  We provide all desk users a direct dial # with the PRI's.  At each site that does not have the PRI we do have a few analog lines to handle local incoming and outgoing calls.  If one of those trunks fill then it will route a call out a PRI.   If we lose our MPLS line to a site, the disconnected site can still make and receive calls via their local analog lines.   911 calls are tagged and sent out the local analog lines.

We use the SIP trunk to interface with the Avaya IP office at another location in Europe.
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by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38766460
PRI is?
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Expert Comment

by:Mohammed Hamada
ID: 38766662
Primary Rate Interface
The Primary Rate Interface (PRI) is a standardized telecommunications service level within the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) specification for carrying multiple DS0 voice and data transmissions between a network and a user.

It usually exists in VoIP gateways mostly like UX for NET, Patton ..etc
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Expert Comment

by:JRSCGI
ID: 38767464
However, ISDN PRI circuits have been around for over 30 years and are a legacy technology delivering up to 23 simultaneous voice calls (North America) or 30 simultaneous voice calls (Europe) over a T1/E1 circuit.  They were in use long before VoIP systems hit the market and a staple of large digital phone systems' connection to the public telephone network.  VoIP systems needed to adapt to this initial reality and thus had to have a PRI gateway.  Only lately have VoIP system had the option to connect in native IP mode to a carrier for dial-tone - the SIP Trunks discussed earlier.
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by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38826345
Update:

Seen a few partners/resellers of systems now.  Seem to be getting conflicting information from these in terms of QOS.  Some saying avoid using ethernet and use ISDN for voice...
Whereas others deploying MPLS say its not an issue...
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Expert Comment

by:getzjd
ID: 38826508
MPLS between sites is the way to go.  You can then prioritize your voice packets.
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38826536
Do you mean the MPLS provider can?
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Expert Comment

by:Mohammed Hamada
ID: 38826608
I think you can do if you have control over the QoS. but MPLS network is managed by ISP or ITSP so it most likely the provider will do it.
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by:JRSCGI
JRSCGI earned 250 total points
ID: 38827024
Two different issues.

ISDN versus SIP (IP-based) is a decision surrounding how you want your trunks delivered.  ISDN is more stable and reliable, but usually more expensive, too.  You can have SIP delivered over MPLS to ensure QoS.  If you get your SIP over the Internet you will not have QoS.

For connecting multiple sites together, similar decisions.  Point-to-point circuits are the old legacy way, with QoS controlled by the customer but more expensive circuits.  MPLS is the replacement technology - with most MPLS networks you coordinate the QoS settings with the carrier based on your traffic loads.  Connecting the sites together via a VPN over the Internet is the least expensive but provides no QoS.
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by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38879397
Ok, we have nearly got all proposals in, just wanted techies views on the options and any potential issues:

Solution:
1. Single Avaya system @ our new site that doesnt integrate with our remote site, using SIP over an existing shared with day-to-day traffic  10/100 single pipe.  Site to site VPN in place.
2. 2x integrated avaya systems @ HQ and Remote site over an mpls site wuth ISDN @ both sites and a seprate site to site VPN over ethernet (HQ) & ADSL (remote)
3. Fully hosted voice using C&W over mpls.  1x line per site for voice and data.
4. 2x shoretels @ HQ and remote site with HA.  Oasis voicerecording.  SIP @ HQ shared with data traffic, ISDN used @ remoet site.

Clearly the costs are key here, but what option would you for for?  Integration of systems is very important and QOS must be guaranteed?
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by:ArneLovius
ArneLovius earned 71 total points
ID: 38879575
I would go with option 2 with the remote site being an LSP (locally survivable processor), this means that call control will all happen at the main site unless the main site or interlink is down, but will save you significant licensing costs.

Call control is not call path, local PSTN connected calls to local endpoints will not go over the site to site link.

This could be finessed so that in the event of the site to site link being down, calls could be routes over the ISDN PSTN connections between the sites

If you have the same Telco at each site, they might also be able to have primary and secondary routes for your DDI (COLT and VM Business can do this over PRI, BT will not), so that in teh event of wither of the sites ISDN connections being down, calls would go over the other ISDN connection and then across your MPLS/VPN/Point to Point link.

This could also of course be done for outbound calls on the phone system itself.
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by:JRSCGI
JRSCGI earned 250 total points
ID: 38881089
Of course we are not sure exactly what the proposals state, but with the ShoreTel you can purchase one system and the remote site will operate from the single database but with built in survivability because of the design of the Shoregear units.  It is even better than Avaya's LSP mode, because that forces a re-registration if the link between the two sites is lost for even a moment.  With the ShoreTel the phone register with the local box.  The phones on each Shoregear can also fail over to another Shoregear in the event of a hardware/firmware problem, too.  ShoreTel usually costs less to maintain as well.

If the Avaya is the IP-Office product and not the CM / Aura line, then it does not operate with LSP options - it truly does take two systems that are networked together to survive a network interruption.

Also be aware that if you favor Avaya, they have just announced some licensing changes and the new CM versions (with a cost increase, of course) are not available until March 4th.  This does not affect the IP Office RTU at this time.

QoS is not an issue with either system providing setup is proper and the underlying network is appropriate.  Neither has an advantage in that area.  Having local trunks at each site like you do with #2 and #4 is a good choice.

Both systems support some great remote worker options, too.  

SIP will be a better cost option than ISDN, but either system is compatible with both.

If costs are very important, be aware that over time the hosted options will end up costing more than a premises system you purchase, but they do offer a way to get a new system without capital investment.  Also, QoS can be an issue with hosted depending upon the network design, but the MPLS should take care of that concern.

You don't mention a recording system for any but the one option, but the Oasis (do you mean Oaisys ?)  will work with either system.
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38883638
Thanks for the input.  The shoretel does look better than the avaya but costs a little bit more generally (not sure if it is in this case).
Like the look of the hosted solution and will save on capex, and think hosted solution will be a number of years to become more expensive in the long run.

yes - oaisys..

decisions.
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by:ArneLovius
ArneLovius earned 71 total points
ID: 38884192
I would suggest that the average life of a Telephone system is at least 10 years. Although the lack of capex of going with a hosted solution is attractive in the short term, I am very wary of hosted solutions. A few "interesting" situations I have encountered.

A client where their hosted VoIP supplier was bought out by another supplier, was suddenly faced with a £50 charge for per change for any changes, changes such as changing the display name of the phone, changing the members of a hunt group etc. This was on top of the "per line" fixed charge that they paid each month (on a 24 month contract).

A client that was told that when a broken phone was replaced, all voicemail would be lost as the voicemail "account" was tied to the phone MAC address...

A client that experienced a large number of call disrupting outages, but because they only had a 99.99% SLA (over 40 minutes per month), had no contractual recourse.
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by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38884207
Worrying..
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by:getzjd
getzjd earned 143 total points
ID: 38884307
I too would be cautious of a hosted solution.  Many hosted voip solution providers are small startups that either get bought out or fold up.  While we were examining our options concerning voip, a hosted provider was one of the options along with purchasing a Cisco or Shoretel system.  In the 6 months from the time we started researching options and obtaining quotes, the hosted provider actually folded and they were one of the more prominent ones in the western NY state area.   We chose ShoreTel and have been very pleased.  With about 400 extensions are are not a large deployment, but it definitely meets our needs.
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38884318
Does their HA ability work?
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Expert Comment

by:JRSCGI
ID: 38885643
ShoreTel HA works very well, it is built into the firmware of the ShoreGear boxes and our clients using it have been very pleased.  A long time ago we had clients with the IP Office that experienced many problems, but the product has been greatly improved since it was introduced.  Industry surveys have repeatedly put ShoreTel at the top in customer satisfaction.  

I had my staff do a check on the number of hosted telephony providers in North America last fall as input for a speech I was giving and we identified almost 800 different vendors.  This is a clear indication of the dangers of choosing the wrong hosted vendor - there are far too many players and financially the industry can not support but a small fraction of them.
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38888201
I have now been told by another ISP that their hosted voice (based on horizon) doesn't need MPLS connections and can guarantee QOS over a typical EFM connection prioritising traffic at the router level.
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by:JRSCGI
JRSCGI earned 250 total points
ID: 38889595
That cannot be accurately guaranteed unless the connection is dedicated to voice and the hosted provider peers directly with the ISP.  If it is a shared (voice and Internet traffic) circuit, the local router cannot prevent a remote source sending an overload of traffic (inbound to you) on the circuit, which will impact the voice packets.  This can happen on many occasions, such during a big filed download, or "patch Tuesday", or whenever the office is busy with streaming video such as YouTube.  In some cases, the ISP may claim they can manage the flow at their edge, but our experience with actual client installs has been less than perfect.

We have several clients using hosted service over an ISP connection (that is provided by the hosted vendor), but it is always a second and dedicated link just for the voice traffic.  Then we do not have call quality problems.
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38954026
So ISDN still then????

Still no nearer to deciding on how best to proceed!!!!
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by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38973480
I see that the ingate siperator (some recommend and some suppliers do not) has a built in security...
Would this be an issue with a traditional router - firewall - setup?  

Where would the ingate sit?  
Can it run codec 711?
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Expert Comment

by:getzjd
ID: 38973516
Unfortunately, I cannot add much about the Ingate in regards to an external SIP trunk in terms of necessity, however, I have read that there are many not using it as ShoreTel expanded their SIP capabilities, especially in V13.   I can say though that I donot need a Siperator for a SIP trunk between an Avaya IP Office and Shoretel on V10.2 or V12.2.  I was able to configure a direct trunk.  

This has a demo interface http://www.ingate.com/  

See this document here for placement options http://www.ingate.com/files/Ingate_SIParator_General_20120809.pdf
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38973849
ok, the quoted shortel solution we have:

Both sites connected over 10mb LL with SIP, using cisco asa5505 firewalls & routers with site to site vpn.  adsl backup.

HQ:
ingate siperator
POE switch (probably HP)
Utilise existing HP switches for computers/servers
2x SG90's
Shoreware director client
hq tower server
oaisys voice recording
communicator client software
25x ip230

remote site a:
poe switch
sg90
shoreware director
10xip230's
isdn2 backup

remote:
number of remote users using 230's over vpn or ip565 for those without site vpn.
app for blackberry voice recording..

how does that look...?
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LVL 17

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by:JRSCGI
JRSCGI earned 250 total points
ID: 38974002
A session border controller is the "best practice" for an outside trunk group.  We are using the Ingate unit at a cople of clients and they work fine; they are less expensive than comparable products from Sonus, Audio Codes, or Acme Packets.  The SBC sits on the circuit between you and the carrier, typically before it hits any of your network gear, although some will place it behind a firewall if the firewall passes RTP traffic without delay.  You do not normally need an SBC between systems unless they are not standards compatible, and you do not need one on trunks between sites.

The quoted ShoreTel solution looks fine and will be a good fit based on your descriptions.
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38974046
I was told it simply handles the traffic and converts/compresses using the codec 729 for the SIP traffic?
I have a feeling Site A is going out via ISDN though...
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Expert Comment

by:JRSCGI
ID: 38974118
If you are going to use ISDN connections instead of a SIP trunk, then an SBC is not needed.

An SBC provides security and can help defend against UDP attacks.  It also provides conversion for unlike implementations of the SIP options and can support both G.729 and G.711 codecs.  These are not issues with an ISDN circuit, but and SBC does more than what you were told.
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38974140
I believe we are only using ISDN as a backup for site A.

Ok , thanks
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by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38981699
Update.  I might now be going hosted.

The providers of the connectivity cannot guarantee compatibility, performance, quality etc when a shoretel system is to be deployed onsite....
Slightly worrying...
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Expert Comment

by:getzjd
ID: 38982071
You referring to the provider of the SIP trunk?  If you use the Siparator then you should not have any issues. Going direct to shoretel should still work, but no guarantees there.
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 38982088
Yes, well i think so.

I have Supplier A proposing the connectivity for all sites, this will be a managed firewall and router at each site.
Then Supplier B install the phone system in site A and B.

i think the issue is that the ISP cant guarantee the SIP side of things...

But just spoken to another provider and they said there is a number of ways to deploy.  Bandwidth being key...

Why do salesman make things difficult?
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Author Closing Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 39002785
Thanks for the help, we are going shoretel....
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