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Phone systems comparisons

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Phone systems comparisons

NaughtyMonkey
My company is accepting quotes for phone systems. If anyone has any feedback on their experiences with different systems, it would be greatly appreciated.

We currently have a 20 year old Comdial system and have received quotes for Avaya, Cisco, Toshiba, and are waiting on a quote for Samsung.

Management interface is very important to me and ability to interface with Domino would be wonderful. Have not found any so far that interface with Domino but the Avaya system we can write a program to do so.

Please let your hatred for any products come out now with the reasons.
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    phamlin

    You're comparing apples and oranges there Monk. Throw out Toshiba and Samsung like you would a Yugo to a Corvette. Avaya and Cisco are the top two contendors. Avaya rules the roost when it comes to feature functionality and reliability. Upper Management is not going to care about how much you saved when the fans aren't spinning and the lights quit flashing. They're expecting dial tone 24x7x365. You are not going to get that or the integration with Lotus through the others.

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    s.farmer

    We replaced an aging AT&T Merlin system about 7 years ago with a Nortel BCM system. System has performed well for us, with no problems. Scalable system capable of VOIP, unified messaging, phone trees; etc.

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    karl

    I have two BCMs, 50 and 1000, the 1000 since 2001. I really like the switches, and my local dealer is good, but Nortel is awful. Their programming is very rough. The software updates have taken 3-5 hours to do. Poor service from Nortel. I do not recommend them.

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    Oz_Media

    Always have and probably always will.

    The BCM 2.5 initially had some really sad software issues, but Cisco couldn't even get the rigt phones ot ring at that time.

    Support? YOu obviously aren't calling the right people, You get an engineer on the phone by DID and they will take care of just about anything. Software updates, just have them sent to you, Nortel sends out disks to all companies who DIDN'T BUY FROM A CHEAP GREY MARKET RESELLER, automatically.

    Problem is, most people find a local dealer with Nortel on thier card and assume they are NOrtel Authorized, check Autthorized dealers on Nortel website, then you will get service and updates you need.

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    NaughtyMonkey

    I just want to go with the Avaya. It has the greatest flexibility, reputation, and can launch an executable when it screen pops so we can code an app to launch Notes and bring up account info. Higher end Avaya systems support Notes, but that would be twice as much. Unfortunately, management is trying to be cheap. All I can do is tell them what I think and any experiences I get here. If they go with crap and it breaks, it deserves an "I told you so".

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    Tig2

    Stable and scalable.

    I have implemented a large number of Avaya systems and love them. Easy to use, easy to administer, easy to deploy.

    That all said, we all have a favourite. To me, the best thing about the Avaya family is that upgrading is dead easy.

    Frankly, the ROI on the Avaya is easy to prove and support. It is simply a good, scalable system- with the usual caveats about what you specifically purchase.

    Good luck to you!

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    Oz_Media

    I am getting tored of all these IT peoeple thinking Cisco and Avaya make good product (I will place Avaya over Cisco), but these aren't telecom companies. They are copiers, WHO do they copy?

    Nitsuko (now owned by NEC), Nortel, and Mitel.

    Upgrading is dead easy, ROI is great, yes it's an IT department's dream as they are forced to think of such issues. A GOOD telecom system buut by far not the best. YOu will get better value for money and ROI from NEC's NEAX line, YOu will get a better QUALITY product from Nortel. ROI and TCO are still there, but the quality and performance, latency control is second to none.

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    Tig2

    Have never heard of Nitsuko. I'll check them out.

    Nortel has been tough to support in my area. Just not nearly enough qualified folks and the ones that ARE out there get snapped up in a hurry.

    In the end, the system is rarely the sticking point. The support is. For companies that want their own Telco folk on-site, support is an element of the business requirement.

    It would be great to see more serious contenders in the market. Especially in the VoIP space. It seems that the "only" player is Cisco, and that is not, in my opinion, always the best choice.

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    ncleaver

    Nitsuko built low end key systems. They were bought by NEC America several years ago. NEC has 2 divisions. One that makes very large PBX systems and the former Nitsuko line that made low end systems. Over the years, one grew down and the other grew up to the point that their lines overlapped and competed a little. The NEC VoIP lines were just coming out a few years ago when I had factory traning. My experience with the NEC legacy systems and with their support sservices were all favorable.

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    rod

    They have all the bells and whistles www.inin.com.

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    mis

    I have Toshiba in all 5 of my offices and they are linked and work great. I took out Avaya because of all their problems. So I do think Toshiba is worth a look.

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    PeterO_777

    It's a much cheaper system then Shoretell or Avaya. Functionality is almost the same. Easy to use and manage. We saved almost 10k from any other system that I looked at. Just make sure that you would get Aspire Mail DMS for voice mail.

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    Oz_Media

    Scaleable, affordable, robust and yet reliable, and a great ROI.

    The NEX line is a little more in tune with medium to large business though, NEC's Elite KSU's and PBX's just come up short in larger applications.

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    Oz_Media

    Avaya? Functionality? The LACK of working features was close to initially sinking them. I have removed more Avaya and Cisco sytems to be replaced with actual telecom equipment than I can count. Good sales reps, sad product.

    Cisco, not a chance. Great routers, pathetic telecom, again, run screaming.

    However, most IT guys rant and rave about Avaya and Cisco because they were good at targeting th IT sector and making believers out of techs, just like Microsnot did with the MCSE BS they used to tout around town. They are still the most popular (probably due to the saturation of techs trained to bow faithfully to MS and discount anything else) but certainly have a long way to go before they compete with real NOS's.

    Mitel, Avaya, they are new kids on the block, no experience, no quality and have the most issues.

    Give your head a shake and learn the industry before claiming such tripe.

    Edit: In reference to newer companies entering business telecom, Mitel should be replaced with Cisco. Mitel has been around ages!

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    phamlin

    Avaya? New? It may be a new-ish name, but they've been in the business longer than anybody!!!

    Put DOWN the bong and pick up some serious reading material!

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    Oz_Media

    Avaya, formerly Lucent, was established in 2000. While Lucent (Bell) did allow AVAYA to continue carrying SOME of thier ancient models, Avaya VoIP and Privtate Branch Exchange technology is brand new. Unless you under 30 and everything seems old to you.
    Lucent has been around a while, obviously Bell has, but when the Avaya spin-off came to pass there was little technology retained. Most was brought on by Avay's reach to offer cutting edge technology, they simply bought a bunch of IT related companies and decided to try and set teh stage for 'modern telecom', which anyone IN telecom knows was a complete laugh.

    Compared to Nortel, and NEC/Nitsuko, Avaya is a wee baby, not even out of diapers, just like Cisco (with telecom).

    Nortel and Nitsuko(now NEC), each have nearly 100 years of business telecom design and installations. \

    Avaya old???

    THEY NEVER EVEN BUILT A SINGLE KEY TELEPHONE SYSTEM (KSU)!

    But I did make one mistake, I listed Mitel as new but meant Cisco. YES, CISCO is brand new to telecom, when compared to the real companies with decades upon decades or R&D, product refinement and industry/business study to determine what helps business and what is simply an unusable feature.

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    Al K

    This is totally on the beam. Stick with Avaya and use Cisco as your fallback. Once that part is done shop your system to a number of vendors. I went with Xeta and was totally satisfied. Not that there weren't a few hiccups, But they made them right and have offered over the top service.

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    kbulleman

    I'm a phone tech and have been installing Norstar since 1992, check out the Norstar MICS, with T7316 or T7208 phones and it can be expanded if needed, If you need a voicemail check out the Callpilot 100/150 it can be hook into your network for easy programing from any computer thru explorer, system is very user friendly.

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    rpruett

    I have been managing a ShoreTel system for close to four years now. As with any system it has its good and bad points. We were sold on it by the ease of managment and Exchange integration (not sure about Domino). It will send your voicemail to email. It will support both analog and IP phones but there is a catch, each analog line used takes away 5 IP phones from the system.
    While it is relativly inexpensive the kick for us was our reseller. They sold managment a three (they tried for five) year monitoring and managment contract. I had to fight with them to ge admin rights to my own system to even add users. We now have full rights and do everything ourselves and it is working wonderfuly.
    Other things to watch out for;
    Cost of the phone
    Extension license
    Mailbox license
    You will either need midspan power or POE switches. You NEED batter backup in the network closet to keep the phones powered during those nasty outages.

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    egarnerit

    We have be running the ShoreTel System for 2 1/2 years and I absolutely love it. We had a Nortel system previously and it was a pain to manage. Even moving a phone was complicated.

    We have been managing system ourselves since we purchased it and have had no significant issues. And the price was significantly less than the big boys.

    IMHO, with ShoreTel you get the most Bang for your Buck.

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    circle2square

    I'm working in my second firm with Shoretel and it's a breeze to manage. Of the systems I considered, this is the most intuitive and attractive interface. It's very customizable with Follow me/Find me features, and they've come out with 1/2-U rack mount units. The servers have been very reliable.

    Call Manager software is a great way to interface with your phone without picking up a handset, which leads me to my one complaint: The handsets are slippery and not terribly ergonomic and their shape means the standard shoulder rest doesn't stay attached.

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    shirtbird

    We've been using ShoreTel for quite awhile, and have been very pleased. You may want to look into it. Like the above poster said, Exchange integration is awesome, but Notes may be another story.

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    bpate

    Number one don't let people tell you Cisco doesn't integrate with Lotus. Stay away from Nortel. Nortel makes a great product, however their product support is terrible. Nortel has downsized so many of their good technicians they can't adequately support their product. IMHO if you have the money and a Cisco infrastructure you can't go wrong with Cisco. We have CallManager 4.1.3 and have had excellent uptime and very few problems with it. I have no trouble using the web driven interface for either CallManager or Unity and Cisco's product support is top notch. I have not been very happy with their LAN switches/wireless/firewall support. Avaya from what I know makes a good product. If I were you I would talk to Meta/Gartner/Forrester the independent technology evaluaters. It will cost a little bit of money, but the headaches they can save you will be worth it. Best thing I can say is get Power over Ethernet switches and get a right-sized UPS for each closet. I also recommend getting a service contract with a vendor who will come out quarterly and test your UPS's. This will save you alot of time and trouble in the event of a power outage.

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    Oz_Media

    Since CIsco brought out thier fist KSU and VoIP hardware, they've had NOTING BUT PROBLEMS. Cisco couldn't even make the right phones right phones ring for nearly two years.

    Sure they appeal to IT guys, but they don't stack up in th real telecom industry, which Cisco has no place in yet. THey just don't build telecom systems and have no experience serving business telecom. It yes, Telecom, they fall short in almost every area....except popularity with IT departments.

    You said it yourself, and it is clear that you base thier merits on thier ability to route networks.

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    Al K

    Nortel has farmed out the production of the hardware. That doen't effect the quality, but sure effects the time it take to deliver the product. They just don't get just on time production 5 weeks to 3 months seems fine to them. So if you can wait and have strong technical support locally the equipment is good. But, don't look for fast delivery or on going support.

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    kcraycraft

    Depending on your size Cisco is good on branch or small office. One of the most common issues i have seen is the dsp hanging on the router based systems. If you use pri to bring in your lines you will not have the dsp issue. very easy to admin voicemail.
    Placing Fax machines on ATA's can be hit or miss. I have see sites where it will work and others that will have problems.

    I would stay away from nortel BCM systems. they have issues with voice over ip talking to each other. Option 11 from Nortel i have had no major issues with for 5 year period.

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    sls2655

    We have just completed the install of Cisco Unity and Call Manager with Domino. A few minor issues, but overall very positive. We are able to get voicemail in our Lotus Notes email. I would recommend the Cisco solution.

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    Oz_Media

    And yet you say you recommend it?

    Does the secretary have teh best interface and control of calls for your business or was it YOUR need for ROI and knowledge of Cisco routers that got you to bite?

    I have yet to see anyone with a REAL telecom background state that Cisco is either a good business solution or a quality product.

    In 10 years of business telecom, working with a plethora of top quality product lines, I removed more CISCO and AVYA"s to be replaced with Pan, Nortel, NEC and MItel than you can shake a stick at.

    Cisco have clever marketing and targeted a change in business, when IT guys started becoming in control of telecommunications for the company. Unfortunately, most IT guys don't understand what benefits the business, they are focused on routing and IT hardware, not telecom.
    When there are telecom companies that have specialized in business telecom hardware for 100 years, how can you POSSIBLY pretend that a newbie on the block is gettng it right??

    Bottom line, they don't, enjoy your Cisco, let me know when you need a real phone system though.

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    sls2655

    Without knowing any of our business issues, I think your comments are out of line. We had a team evaluate Nortel, Siemens (because that was installed) and Cisco. Cisco was seleted as it was the best option for us. We have been using for 7 months and there has been no disruption to our call center or the switchboard.

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    Oz_Media

    I don't personally need to know your business.
    Cisco failed in most business cases, it's not that it doesn't work, it's just that they only address the most elementary features and really don't delve into enhancing their operation, as the other players do.

    As for your call center working fine, I am sure it does and I am sure you are happy with Cisco, it still doesn't mean that you are taking advantage of a better feature set for your business, just one that works for the tasks you already had planned.

    I have worked with literally dozens upon dozens of teams such as you suggested tested your system, and it's a game. All teh NOrtel reps know Cisco reps, Avaya etc. They all attend the same trade shows, have dinner together between trips, share flights together etc. They discuss customer bids and will even 'give one up' as a favour to each other as needed. They all know each others shortcomings and allow them to go uncontested, it's really a warm competition, where the only people with control over what YOUR company buys are the guys quoting, not the guys buying. Don't underestimate the sales ability of those earning top salaries. Anyone can make you happy, but can someone make it even better? Offer a better value for money? Yup.

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    bpate

    Obviously OZ has an axe to grind. I have installed Cisco as a simple Call Manager Express implementation all the way to full **** IPCC with IVR and ACD. Their system can match the features of Avaya, Nortel, Siemens...etc. They also have fantastic technical support. We have been using Call Manager for several years without any major issues. Most problems I have been having are people spill things on their phone. And don't let him tell you that Cisco doesn't scale well. We have well over 50,000 cisco IP phones on a huge network with little or no major system problems.

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    msballew

    If you are considering Avaya and Cisco...Toshiba and Samsung aren't in the same league. Compare Inter-Tel (call a company branch, not a dealer) and also compare ShoreTel as well. Look at everything, not just cost.

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    guru

    from ease of use perspective and the ability to customize, I believe asterisk cannot be ignored...

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    Tachyon

    I've been looking at the system and it seems that it's nearly infinitely expandable and configurable. It's inexpensive and has great functionality. But does it work well? Is it hard to setup? Is it reliable? etc.

    Inquiring minds want to know.

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    narendra.namdev

    we have implemented a large number of Avaya systems. Easy to use, stable and scalable system.

    All the best!!

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    NaughtyMonkey

    Does anyone know of a system that truly integrates with a Notes/Domino environment. We use Domino the way it was meant to be used, as a collaboration platform. We use it for CRM, license management, SCR, sales, accounting, email, and general business functions. Just about any phone system can generate an email, but we would like the functionality of "popping" customer account info when they call. This would be different depending on department; sales info for the sales department, account info for billing, support info for support team. The only one I know capable of this is the enterprise level Avaya systems, but we are a small company and can't justify the cost of a 1000+ user phone system.

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    phamlin

    If you're as sophisticated as you make it sound, it shouldn't be too tough to justify the ROI on a small sized Avaya Enterprise level server and Modular Messaging which integrates to Lotus Notes/Domino.

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    NaughtyMonkey

    we may spend 2K developing our own solution and they have some partners that are testing right now. It may be out by the time we implement or we can make our own. I liked that flexibility with the Avaya system. This is still a small company. When I came here, their desktops couldn't even run their own software. Now servers and desktops are up to date, but spending money to upgrade the phone system took some work. Management doesn't like to spend the green stuff, but they want it to work forever.

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    phamlin

    You're comparing apples and oranges there Monk. Throw out Toshiba and Samsung like you would a Yugo to a Corvette. Avaya and Cisco are the top two contendors. Avaya rules the roost when it comes to feature functionality and reliability. Upper Management is not going to care about how much you saved when the fans aren't spinning and the lights quit flashing. They're expecting dial tone 24x7x365. You are not going to get that or the integration with Lotus through the others.

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    s.farmer

    We replaced an aging AT&T Merlin system about 7 years ago with a Nortel BCM system. System has performed well for us, with no problems. Scalable system capable of VOIP, unified messaging, phone trees; etc.

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    karl

    I have two BCMs, 50 and 1000, the 1000 since 2001. I really like the switches, and my local dealer is good, but Nortel is awful. Their programming is very rough. The software updates have taken 3-5 hours to do. Poor service from Nortel. I do not recommend them.

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    Oz_Media

    Always have and probably always will.

    The BCM 2.5 initially had some really sad software issues, but Cisco couldn't even get the rigt phones ot ring at that time.

    Support? YOu obviously aren't calling the right people, You get an engineer on the phone by DID and they will take care of just about anything. Software updates, just have them sent to you, Nortel sends out disks to all companies who DIDN'T BUY FROM A CHEAP GREY MARKET RESELLER, automatically.

    Problem is, most people find a local dealer with Nortel on thier card and assume they are NOrtel Authorized, check Autthorized dealers on Nortel website, then you will get service and updates you need.

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    NaughtyMonkey

    I just want to go with the Avaya. It has the greatest flexibility, reputation, and can launch an executable when it screen pops so we can code an app to launch Notes and bring up account info. Higher end Avaya systems support Notes, but that would be twice as much. Unfortunately, management is trying to be cheap. All I can do is tell them what I think and any experiences I get here. If they go with crap and it breaks, it deserves an "I told you so".

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    Tig2

    Stable and scalable.

    I have implemented a large number of Avaya systems and love them. Easy to use, easy to administer, easy to deploy.

    That all said, we all have a favourite. To me, the best thing about the Avaya family is that upgrading is dead easy.

    Frankly, the ROI on the Avaya is easy to prove and support. It is simply a good, scalable system- with the usual caveats about what you specifically purchase.

    Good luck to you!

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    Oz_Media

    I am getting tored of all these IT peoeple thinking Cisco and Avaya make good product (I will place Avaya over Cisco), but these aren't telecom companies. They are copiers, WHO do they copy?

    Nitsuko (now owned by NEC), Nortel, and Mitel.

    Upgrading is dead easy, ROI is great, yes it's an IT department's dream as they are forced to think of such issues. A GOOD telecom system buut by far not the best. YOu will get better value for money and ROI from NEC's NEAX line, YOu will get a better QUALITY product from Nortel. ROI and TCO are still there, but the quality and performance, latency control is second to none.

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    Tig2

    Have never heard of Nitsuko. I'll check them out.

    Nortel has been tough to support in my area. Just not nearly enough qualified folks and the ones that ARE out there get snapped up in a hurry.

    In the end, the system is rarely the sticking point. The support is. For companies that want their own Telco folk on-site, support is an element of the business requirement.

    It would be great to see more serious contenders in the market. Especially in the VoIP space. It seems that the "only" player is Cisco, and that is not, in my opinion, always the best choice.

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    ncleaver

    Nitsuko built low end key systems. They were bought by NEC America several years ago. NEC has 2 divisions. One that makes very large PBX systems and the former Nitsuko line that made low end systems. Over the years, one grew down and the other grew up to the point that their lines overlapped and competed a little. The NEC VoIP lines were just coming out a few years ago when I had factory traning. My experience with the NEC legacy systems and with their support sservices were all favorable.

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    rod

    They have all the bells and whistles www.inin.com.

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    mis

    I have Toshiba in all 5 of my offices and they are linked and work great. I took out Avaya because of all their problems. So I do think Toshiba is worth a look.

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    PeterO_777

    It's a much cheaper system then Shoretell or Avaya. Functionality is almost the same. Easy to use and manage. We saved almost 10k from any other system that I looked at. Just make sure that you would get Aspire Mail DMS for voice mail.

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    Oz_Media

    Scaleable, affordable, robust and yet reliable, and a great ROI.

    The NEX line is a little more in tune with medium to large business though, NEC's Elite KSU's and PBX's just come up short in larger applications.

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    Oz_Media

    Avaya? Functionality? The LACK of working features was close to initially sinking them. I have removed more Avaya and Cisco sytems to be replaced with actual telecom equipment than I can count. Good sales reps, sad product.

    Cisco, not a chance. Great routers, pathetic telecom, again, run screaming.

    However, most IT guys rant and rave about Avaya and Cisco because they were good at targeting th IT sector and making believers out of techs, just like Microsnot did with the MCSE BS they used to tout around town. They are still the most popular (probably due to the saturation of techs trained to bow faithfully to MS and discount anything else) but certainly have a long way to go before they compete with real NOS's.

    Mitel, Avaya, they are new kids on the block, no experience, no quality and have the most issues.

    Give your head a shake and learn the industry before claiming such tripe.

    Edit: In reference to newer companies entering business telecom, Mitel should be replaced with Cisco. Mitel has been around ages!

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    phamlin

    Avaya? New? It may be a new-ish name, but they've been in the business longer than anybody!!!

    Put DOWN the bong and pick up some serious reading material!

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    Oz_Media

    Avaya, formerly Lucent, was established in 2000. While Lucent (Bell) did allow AVAYA to continue carrying SOME of thier ancient models, Avaya VoIP and Privtate Branch Exchange technology is brand new. Unless you under 30 and everything seems old to you.
    Lucent has been around a while, obviously Bell has, but when the Avaya spin-off came to pass there was little technology retained. Most was brought on by Avay's reach to offer cutting edge technology, they simply bought a bunch of IT related companies and decided to try and set teh stage for 'modern telecom', which anyone IN telecom knows was a complete laugh.

    Compared to Nortel, and NEC/Nitsuko, Avaya is a wee baby, not even out of diapers, just like Cisco (with telecom).

    Nortel and Nitsuko(now NEC), each have nearly 100 years of business telecom design and installations. \

    Avaya old???

    THEY NEVER EVEN BUILT A SINGLE KEY TELEPHONE SYSTEM (KSU)!

    But I did make one mistake, I listed Mitel as new but meant Cisco. YES, CISCO is brand new to telecom, when compared to the real companies with decades upon decades or R&D, product refinement and industry/business study to determine what helps business and what is simply an unusable feature.

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    Al K

    This is totally on the beam. Stick with Avaya and use Cisco as your fallback. Once that part is done shop your system to a number of vendors. I went with Xeta and was totally satisfied. Not that there weren't a few hiccups, But they made them right and have offered over the top service.

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    kbulleman

    I'm a phone tech and have been installing Norstar since 1992, check out the Norstar MICS, with T7316 or T7208 phones and it can be expanded if needed, If you need a voicemail check out the Callpilot 100/150 it can be hook into your network for easy programing from any computer thru explorer, system is very user friendly.

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    rpruett

    I have been managing a ShoreTel system for close to four years now. As with any system it has its good and bad points. We were sold on it by the ease of managment and Exchange integration (not sure about Domino). It will send your voicemail to email. It will support both analog and IP phones but there is a catch, each analog line used takes away 5 IP phones from the system.
    While it is relativly inexpensive the kick for us was our reseller. They sold managment a three (they tried for five) year monitoring and managment contract. I had to fight with them to ge admin rights to my own system to even add users. We now have full rights and do everything ourselves and it is working wonderfuly.
    Other things to watch out for;
    Cost of the phone
    Extension license
    Mailbox license
    You will either need midspan power or POE switches. You NEED batter backup in the network closet to keep the phones powered during those nasty outages.

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    egarnerit

    We have be running the ShoreTel System for 2 1/2 years and I absolutely love it. We had a Nortel system previously and it was a pain to manage. Even moving a phone was complicated.

    We have been managing system ourselves since we purchased it and have had no significant issues. And the price was significantly less than the big boys.

    IMHO, with ShoreTel you get the most Bang for your Buck.

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    circle2square

    I'm working in my second firm with Shoretel and it's a breeze to manage. Of the systems I considered, this is the most intuitive and attractive interface. It's very customizable with Follow me/Find me features, and they've come out with 1/2-U rack mount units. The servers have been very reliable.

    Call Manager software is a great way to interface with your phone without picking up a handset, which leads me to my one complaint: The handsets are slippery and not terribly ergonomic and their shape means the standard shoulder rest doesn't stay attached.

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    shirtbird

    We've been using ShoreTel for quite awhile, and have been very pleased. You may want to look into it. Like the above poster said, Exchange integration is awesome, but Notes may be another story.

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    bpate

    Number one don't let people tell you Cisco doesn't integrate with Lotus. Stay away from Nortel. Nortel makes a great product, however their product support is terrible. Nortel has downsized so many of their good technicians they can't adequately support their product. IMHO if you have the money and a Cisco infrastructure you can't go wrong with Cisco. We have CallManager 4.1.3 and have had excellent uptime and very few problems with it. I have no trouble using the web driven interface for either CallManager or Unity and Cisco's product support is top notch. I have not been very happy with their LAN switches/wireless/firewall support. Avaya from what I know makes a good product. If I were you I would talk to Meta/Gartner/Forrester the independent technology evaluaters. It will cost a little bit of money, but the headaches they can save you will be worth it. Best thing I can say is get Power over Ethernet switches and get a right-sized UPS for each closet. I also recommend getting a service contract with a vendor who will come out quarterly and test your UPS's. This will save you alot of time and trouble in the event of a power outage.

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    Oz_Media

    Since CIsco brought out thier fist KSU and VoIP hardware, they've had NOTING BUT PROBLEMS. Cisco couldn't even make the right phones right phones ring for nearly two years.

    Sure they appeal to IT guys, but they don't stack up in th real telecom industry, which Cisco has no place in yet. THey just don't build telecom systems and have no experience serving business telecom. It yes, Telecom, they fall short in almost every area....except popularity with IT departments.

    You said it yourself, and it is clear that you base thier merits on thier ability to route networks.

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    Al K

    Nortel has farmed out the production of the hardware. That doen't effect the quality, but sure effects the time it take to deliver the product. They just don't get just on time production 5 weeks to 3 months seems fine to them. So if you can wait and have strong technical support locally the equipment is good. But, don't look for fast delivery or on going support.

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    kcraycraft

    Depending on your size Cisco is good on branch or small office. One of the most common issues i have seen is the dsp hanging on the router based systems. If you use pri to bring in your lines you will not have the dsp issue. very easy to admin voicemail.
    Placing Fax machines on ATA's can be hit or miss. I have see sites where it will work and others that will have problems.

    I would stay away from nortel BCM systems. they have issues with voice over ip talking to each other. Option 11 from Nortel i have had no major issues with for 5 year period.

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    sls2655

    We have just completed the install of Cisco Unity and Call Manager with Domino. A few minor issues, but overall very positive. We are able to get voicemail in our Lotus Notes email. I would recommend the Cisco solution.

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    Oz_Media

    And yet you say you recommend it?

    Does the secretary have teh best interface and control of calls for your business or was it YOUR need for ROI and knowledge of Cisco routers that got you to bite?

    I have yet to see anyone with a REAL telecom background state that Cisco is either a good business solution or a quality product.

    In 10 years of business telecom, working with a plethora of top quality product lines, I removed more CISCO and AVYA"s to be replaced with Pan, Nortel, NEC and MItel than you can shake a stick at.

    Cisco have clever marketing and targeted a change in business, when IT guys started becoming in control of telecommunications for the company. Unfortunately, most IT guys don't understand what benefits the business, they are focused on routing and IT hardware, not telecom.
    When there are telecom companies that have specialized in business telecom hardware for 100 years, how can you POSSIBLY pretend that a newbie on the block is gettng it right??

    Bottom line, they don't, enjoy your Cisco, let me know when you need a real phone system though.

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    sls2655

    Without knowing any of our business issues, I think your comments are out of line. We had a team evaluate Nortel, Siemens (because that was installed) and Cisco. Cisco was seleted as it was the best option for us. We have been using for 7 months and there has been no disruption to our call center or the switchboard.

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    Oz_Media

    I don't personally need to know your business.
    Cisco failed in most business cases, it's not that it doesn't work, it's just that they only address the most elementary features and really don't delve into enhancing their operation, as the other players do.

    As for your call center working fine, I am sure it does and I am sure you are happy with Cisco, it still doesn't mean that you are taking advantage of a better feature set for your business, just one that works for the tasks you already had planned.

    I have worked with literally dozens upon dozens of teams such as you suggested tested your system, and it's a game. All teh NOrtel reps know Cisco reps, Avaya etc. They all attend the same trade shows, have dinner together between trips, share flights together etc. They discuss customer bids and will even 'give one up' as a favour to each other as needed. They all know each others shortcomings and allow them to go uncontested, it's really a warm competition, where the only people with control over what YOUR company buys are the guys quoting, not the guys buying. Don't underestimate the sales ability of those earning top salaries. Anyone can make you happy, but can someone make it even better? Offer a better value for money? Yup.

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    bpate

    Obviously OZ has an axe to grind. I have installed Cisco as a simple Call Manager Express implementation all the way to full **** IPCC with IVR and ACD. Their system can match the features of Avaya, Nortel, Siemens...etc. They also have fantastic technical support. We have been using Call Manager for several years without any major issues. Most problems I have been having are people spill things on their phone. And don't let him tell you that Cisco doesn't scale well. We have well over 50,000 cisco IP phones on a huge network with little or no major system problems.

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    msballew

    If you are considering Avaya and Cisco...Toshiba and Samsung aren't in the same league. Compare Inter-Tel (call a company branch, not a dealer) and also compare ShoreTel as well. Look at everything, not just cost.

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    guru

    from ease of use perspective and the ability to customize, I believe asterisk cannot be ignored...

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    Tachyon

    I've been looking at the system and it seems that it's nearly infinitely expandable and configurable. It's inexpensive and has great functionality. But does it work well? Is it hard to setup? Is it reliable? etc.

    Inquiring minds want to know.

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    narendra.namdev

    we have implemented a large number of Avaya systems. Easy to use, stable and scalable system.

    All the best!!

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    NaughtyMonkey

    Does anyone know of a system that truly integrates with a Notes/Domino environment. We use Domino the way it was meant to be used, as a collaboration platform. We use it for CRM, license management, SCR, sales, accounting, email, and general business functions. Just about any phone system can generate an email, but we would like the functionality of "popping" customer account info when they call. This would be different depending on department; sales info for the sales department, account info for billing, support info for support team. The only one I know capable of this is the enterprise level Avaya systems, but we are a small company and can't justify the cost of a 1000+ user phone system.

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    phamlin

    If you're as sophisticated as you make it sound, it shouldn't be too tough to justify the ROI on a small sized Avaya Enterprise level server and Modular Messaging which integrates to Lotus Notes/Domino.

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    NaughtyMonkey

    we may spend 2K developing our own solution and they have some partners that are testing right now. It may be out by the time we implement or we can make our own. I liked that flexibility with the Avaya system. This is still a small company. When I came here, their desktops couldn't even run their own software. Now servers and desktops are up to date, but spending money to upgrade the phone system took some work. Management doesn't like to spend the green stuff, but they want it to work forever.