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  1. Tech Junkie jbrad95706's Avatar
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    #1

    Question Small Office VOIP Questions

    Let me start by admitting that I know very little about VOIP. That said, I’ve convinced the little lady to let me replace our office phone system with a VOIP phone system!
    Also, let me say thanks in advance for any info or tips! I know this is not really the reason these forums are here – I’m just looking for info from someone other than a sales person.

    Here is the basic info on what I’m trying to do: There are three employees that will need the ability to transfer calls, put people on hold, and have voicemail.
    I was looking at the Linksys gear; however, the Tech Junky in me would rather go with something that I can learn on. I’m trying to keep things cheep, but I don’t want to give quality or up the basic functionality listed above.

    If anyone has a moment to list out the gear that would be required, and any pertinent details – it would be greatly appreciated!
    And if you could reply as though you are talking to the lady in the office that doesn’t really understand what this machine does, but knows that it has emails and internets on it. (That’s me when it comes to VOIP.)

    Thanks again!
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  3. Senior Member hypnotoad's Avatar
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    #2
    What's your budget like?
    Do they have a fax machine?
    How many incoming lines are there?
    Do they have a PoE switch (or outlets available)?
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  4. Senior Member
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    #3
    Go with the UC520W ... you can get them cheap right now..

    provides 4 fxo and 4 fxs lines for your pstn/analog connctions. it also provides 8 poe ports for your digital lines. it has wireless 802.11 bg not sure about N .. and its got voicemail good for 14 boxs i think.. depending on whatever license it comes with ..

    i used to have this @ home for my lab.. worked great.. for small office less than 15 employees this is great and itd solid. there are actually a few forums out there dedicated to this model.

    check it out.. its got a nice gui incase you dont know much about manually setting it up via the CLI.
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  5. Senior Member mikearama's Avatar
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by tokhss View Post
    Go with the UC520W ... you can get them cheap right now..

    provides 4 fxo and 4 fxs lines for your pstn/analog connctions. it also provides 8 poe ports for your digital lines. it has wireless 802.11 bg not sure about N .. and its got voicemail good for 14 boxs i think.. depending on whatever license it comes with ..

    i used to have this @ home for my lab.. worked great.. for small office less than 15 employees this is great and itd solid. there are actually a few forums out there dedicated to this model.

    check it out.. its got a nice gui incase you dont know much about manually setting it up via the CLI.
    +1

    If I had a grand to spare, I'd have one of these myself. Ebay's got a bunch around a grand... ipphonewarehouse.com has them at about $2500:
    Cisco UC520 Unified Communications 500 Series Phone System - UC520W-8U-4FXO-K9
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  6. Senior Member
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    #5
    If you think about it and break it down.. the UC series is actually worht it..

    ISR .. say 2651 at the min with modules / aim cards / vwics/wics/aim cue will cost by its self upwards of a grand due to the aim-cue for voicemail.

    lets not forget a poe swtich will be another couple hundred at the min. looking at over a grand on used equipment on ebay.

    I bought my UC on ebay for 1900 and sold it back for 1700 .. i havent had a look but its def worth the small investment.
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  7. Senior Member hypnotoad's Avatar
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    #6
    For 3 people you might get away with having voicemail provided by a telco instead of buying an inhouse unity. I didnt realize the UC's were so cheap nowadays -- never had to install one with fewer than 12 users though.
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  8. Senior Member
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    #7
    thats true.. would be worth comparing long term cost of telco vm to the price of an aim-cue for unity express

    you can always run unity on a server but thats a whole 'nother ball game.
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    #8
    You could also buy a decent hardware answering machine and connect it to an FXS. Even the cheap one I have for home allows me to dial in and get messages remotely. Heck you could get 2 if you had the spare fxs ports.
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    #9
    Well, I only know Cisco. I so I'll say UC500 series or maybe a Router with a Unity module. Plenty of books and support for it.
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  11. Senior Member
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    #10
    I am going to presume the standalone answering machine leaves VMs unsecured? individual mail box's with unique passwords may not be avail? dont know much about standalone vm box's..if thats possible then that may be the cheaper solution.. however, the op never said
    how cheap was "cheap" lol..
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    #11
    IMO, something cheap, yet powerful would be a Trixbox. You can purchase a Linksys SPA-1000 (FXS Card) to handle your analog phones and have a very good inexpensive VoIP solution with Voicemail that can be tied to your email... There are tons of tutorials on setting up the Trixbox. I've used this countless times in my lab and when I return to the states, I'll be using this for my home/office setup. HTH.

    -Peanut
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  13. Tech Junkie jbrad95706's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by hypnotoad View Post
    What's your budget like?
    Do they have a fax machine?
    How many incoming lines are there?
    Do they have a PoE switch (or outlets available)?
    For budget I would love to keep it under $2000.00 if that's even possible... I have no problem hitting up ebay for used gear. (It's a new small business so the less we can spend the better.)

    There is a fax.

    Incoming lines - three phones and a fax, but I would love to have the ability to add more if needed.

    We do not have the switch yet, and I will have to re-wire the office.


    Thanks!
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  14. Tech Junkie jbrad95706's Avatar
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by tokhss View Post
    I am going to presume the standalone answering machine leaves VMs unsecured? individual mail box's with unique passwords may not be avail? dont know much about standalone vm box's..if thats possible then that may be the cheaper solution.. however, the op never said
    how cheap was "cheap" lol..
    We would be looking for secure voicemail. I would prefer to handle the VM assuming it's not cost prohibitive. (This system will be multi-purpose - it's not just a phone system, but also a learning tool / project. )

    When I say cheep, I just mean that I would like to meet the requirements of the business. For example, I wouldn't pick up a 6509 for an office of three. (Unless the wife was willing to pay for it!? )

    Thanks!
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  15. Senior Member chmorin's Avatar
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by peanutnoggin View Post
    IMO, something cheap, yet powerful would be a Trixbox. You can purchase a Linksys SPA-1000 (FXS Card) to handle your analog phones and have a very good inexpensive VoIP solution with Voicemail that can be tied to your email... There are tons of tutorials on setting up the Trixbox. I've used this countless times in my lab and when I return to the states, I'll be using this for my home/office setup. HTH.

    -Peanut
    I just read up a bit on trixbox, that is quite the cool little thing! I'd still prefer a cisco based solution, but you can't beat free!

    You could probably grab a 2801, FXS/FXO VICS, and an aim-CUE for around the 2 grand budget and have a cisco way. Granted it would be used and aimed to small business, but that sounds like all you need anyway. You could probably, and probably should, toss a DSP mod into it as well. A bit pricey for what you get, but this is a cisco forum XD.

    Otherwise, look into trixbox. That looks awsome!
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    #15
    Under 2k? Wow.

    Alright, Cisco 1721 router with the FXO/FXS cards you need. You can probably get that for under $400. I managed mine for less than $200 off ebay.

    Snag yourself a cheap server or maybe even a VM high priority on the CPU/disk and Install Asterisk. There is no lack of documentation on the internet on using Asterisk instead of Unity for voice mail systems. So depending on your server hardware. This might cost next to nothing (people are giving away old 2-4 CPU Xeons now days. Cheapie towers from dell for $300.

    Switch, you can snag a 3550 with POE really cheap, and if you don't mind hacking away at it you could get a non-Cisco switch. But I have to say, QoS, PoE settings and trunking are mind numbingly easy on Cisco Switches, so I am going to recommend it.

    So that should do it, well under $2,000.

    Of course I'd like push you toward the UC500 one more time. Router, VPN concentrator, POE switch, Firewall, Wireless, CallManamger and voice mail. That thing is an awesome little box.
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  17. Senior Member hypnotoad's Avatar
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    #16
    I installed an Asterisk once. I'll never do it again - even for voicemail. I then upgraded it to a 3CX, and I'd never do that again either. One thing you dont want to do is install a phone system with bugs in it. Users will call you every day about phone problems because they are so used to a phone (especially a land-line) just working, they don't put up with sound quality issues or bugs in the call processing logic. It frustrates them a lot. They lose one call due to a crappy off-brand foreign FXO port and suddenly they're telling you that the phone is what the entire business is based on.

    Here's my minimum 3-user config:
    1760 CME with PVDM2 = $200 ebay
    2x 2FXO = $150
    2FXS = $80
    3x 7975 = $525
    3550PWR = $250
    Voicemail monthly fee = $?

    Total = $1205

    If you don't want to go with Cisco or Voip, there are a TON of small office TDM PBXes on ebay that are probably really solid. But you're kind of on your own there.
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    #17
    I would look into a hosted voip solution. I know most people at IT guys want to admin all the systems and learn new technology, but if your already short on time buying getting a hosted solution and letting them manage it is a good idea. All you have to do is provision the phones(some even do this for you), and they will take care of everything else. If all that fails contract a Cisco partner in the area they have leasing programs for a lot of the Voip gear and will get you up and running pretty quickly.
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    CUCM SRND 9x/10, UCCX SRND 10x, QOS SRND, SIP Trunking Guide, anything contact center related
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  19. Senior Member pitviper's Avatar
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    #18
    I'll cast my vote is for the UC520 platform as well. Absolutely loaded with features and pretty reasonably priced = especially if purchasing used. Also GUI and wizard driven for starters, but full CLI access if you want to get in and really fine tune things later. Could also provide Firewall, Wireless, and VPN services all in a single box.
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  20. Senior Member
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    #19
    I can vouche for the UC series.. if i had a small contract job like this.. in no doubt would i get another UC series.. hell, if i had the spare change right now, i would buy it back for my lab and turn into a small branch office.

    this certianly meets your 2k budget and you will get plently of features with the added learning experience. You even have a site called uc500.com or something thats got a little community behind it.
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  21. Tech Junkie jbrad95706's Avatar
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    #20
    Not sure what the end result will be yet, but I wanted to thank you all for your help!
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    #21
    I know this is the Cisco forum but you could put in a Nortel bcm 50 with phones/voicemail/auto attendant/ custom call routing and even call center for about 2000. It would also leave you a ton of room for expansion... I've installed at least a hundred; they easy to work with and reliable.
    With licensing it can go up to about 90 ip phones and two full PRI interfaces...
    Last edited by tha_dub; 11-25-2010 at 03:22 PM.
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  23. Senior Member hypnotoad's Avatar
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    #22
    second that on the nortel BCM...and also on the UC500.
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  24. Senior Member Lizano's Avatar
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    #23
    Cheapest way to go is Trixbox with Cisco 7940s, and maybe a 3550. I've set up a couple of SMBs with Trixbox and AsteriskNow, with that mentioned set up, haven't had complaints.
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