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We are in the process of upgrading our 11 years old PBX system and looking for options like Panasonic, Avaya, Toshiba etc. We welcome any suggestions/features/product models to look for 55+ size firm...

Thank you in advance for any replies...

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closed as not constructive by Chris S Sep 27 '12 at 4:44

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Many small businesses 10 years ago would have automatically plunked down huge coin for a Nortel BCM PBX. Now nortel doesn't exist anymore. –  Warren P Apr 22 '10 at 14:41
    
Shopping Questions are Off-Topic on any of the Stack Exchange sites. See Q&A is hard, lets go Shopping and the FAQ for more details. –  Chris S Sep 27 '12 at 4:44

5 Answers 5

IMNSHO, for a small business there's not much reason to not go for a VoIP solution. External calls can go over VoIP, POTS or T1.

From my experience, (as a reseller of both solutions) if your company is a 'techie' type of company that likes a bit of fiddling, I'd go with an Asterisk PBX solution.

Otherwise, I'd take a serious look at the Cisco SBCS phone system. Given that you seem to already have some Cisco gear, that may be an excellent fit for you.

Differentiating feature sets to consider:

  • Hard phones
  • Soft phones
  • Headset compatibility
  • VoIP capability
  • Voicemail via email
  • Conference call capability

Ultimately a discussion of specific product models is rather specific to your company so I won't address that.

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+1, Cisco SBCS Systems are affordable, reliable, and basic administration is done easily through a web interface. –  Chris S Apr 22 '10 at 14:14

Briefly talked to one of our Microsoft OCS consultants the other day, and they said that they saw a presentation by Microsoft explaining that their solution, which is either ready or about to be released, is far cheaper than any of the competition, including the low-end cheap solutions.

There's no need for a PBX and what not, pure VoIP, fully integrated with Exchange etc. It sounded real good, we'll be looking into it when we move out of this building in a year or two.

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OCS has had "support" for VoIP since the 2007 release. OSC is a beast, poorly put together, difficult to administer; MS needs to junk the old system and start from scratch. It also extends you AD Schema, which is permanent (even if you uninstall, the Schema changes are very permanent). –  Chris S Apr 22 '10 at 14:23
    
I haven't had any issue with OCS and it's certainoly simpler to adminster than cisco callmanager. Schema changes are permanent (kinda - they could be removed but not exactly fun) - but so what? –  Jim B Apr 22 '10 at 14:32
    
bad thing: to be released = september or so. Waiting for it, too ;) –  TomTom Apr 22 '10 at 14:42

3cx ;). Nice, fast, plus SIP phones as you like.

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I too was impressed with 3cx, that is until I had need to contact them with a pre-sales enquiry. My question was slightly critical about a feature of the system, and sought advise on if its behaviour could be reconfigured, the response I got was like a forum or newsgroup post, i.e. argumentative, bordering on rude. As a result of their unprofessional attitude, they lost a sale, and we now run Asterisk, and I haven't looked back. –  Bryan Apr 22 '10 at 15:58

check out microsoft responsepoint

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Whats the difference between OCS and ResponsePoint? –  Warren P Apr 22 '10 at 14:43
    
OCS = software, not a phone system, but an office communication server that ALSO does SIP. REsponsePoint = pbx, available only as hardware. –  TomTom Apr 22 '10 at 19:44
    
OCS is more robust and expects you to either purchase or build the pbx portion. OCS is designed with the idea that in the 21'st century the focus should be on communcation- without respect to the underlying infrastructure (eg why use the pbx if you can call via the sip infratructure). responsepoint is designed to be extremely easy to adminand it slides right in to an existing infrastructure, replacing the existing (if there is one) PBX. The video demos on the site explain responsepoint pretty well. It's also sold with partner help so if you know nothing about VOIP you'll get help. –  Jim B Apr 22 '10 at 20:17

Having trialled many PBXs, I finally settled on Asterisk.

Personally, I'd avoid adding FreePBX, or grabbing a custom asterisk based distro, as whilst the web GUIs make configuration of asterisk easier, they do actually restrict functionality IMO.

We run Asterisk on Ubuntu Server (x64), and it's straight forward to install. Customisation is straight forward once you have got the hang of how the exten commands work, and there is plenty of good resources available on the web if you are struggling.

The hardest part, is selecting a phone to standardise on. We've bought many Cisco 79xx phones, despite them being easy to configure, the sound quality is really poor. We've also tried Snom and Grandstream, but most recently we've tried Polycom 335 phones, which are harder to get up and running, but far superior in sound quality and operation.

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