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TechProGuild Feedback Forum: Jim Wells

By jim.wells ·
The Senior Editors here at TechRepublic have started informal discussion threads. Though the title says TechProGuild Feedback Forum, the thread is open to any and all TechRepublic members. So feel free to nosh on the topic de jour.

First topic on the menu: It seems VoIP has no signs of slowing down. The technology appears on track to replace the analog phone system as we know it. So, what's next; Video conferencing, desktop PC dialing, wireless VoIP? Have you had users clamoring for more than just a digital phone connection? Let's discuss!

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VoIP is STILL in its infancy

by Oz_Media In reply to TechProGuild Feedback For ...

Although all the phone manufacturers, and even some computer companies have tried, build VoIP networks, they have MILES to go yet, I mean MILES!

3-Com, has a VoIP solution, it is a horrendous phone system though, just because the system can be made to work, does not mean it is a decent office communications system. The phone manufacturers top players (NEC and NOrtel) have excellent solutions and have done for years, they STILL have a mass of issues to resolve though. When it comes to telecom trunking and milti-line cooomunications in an office environment, a simple VoIP system is NOT the solution, phone systems have been improving for a hundred years now, if they had simply moved on to new technology when they were able to connect two voice calls, we would be using the most aniquated and useless products to run our businesses.

VoIP has a LONG way to go before it can be dismissed as stable technology, I run a large PBX IVS system with full unified messaging and VoIP from my home. I have two PRI's and a separate VoIP network with Fibre, although they are much better than the 3-Com, Avaya, Mitel offerings, they and over 2000 features, they still have problems that NEC or Nortel are constantly workign on.

I remember installing a large VoIP network across Vancouver Island and into the Mainland branches of one company. It just wouldn't work as it was supposed to, but Nortel had several installed and working. A few months later when Nortel engineers were in town, I met them only to hear "Yeah that's never worked right" but it is still their top selling and most demanded system! A year later, they had released a working version with a new processor and software, the upgrade was extremely expensive but worked much better. Nec was next with a similar issue.

People don't seem to care that VoIP isn't living up to key systems in most cases, Avaya, 3-Com etc all build these handy dandy and cheap hardware solutions, but you get more from your old key system as far as feature set and operability in the office.

Let's not look too far forward until we at least have fixed the present issues, NO the VoIP market is nowhere near settled until all the bit players can at least match the telehone companies and bring some quality and performance to the table. This is why MANY major phone companies have not yet released a full VoIP system, yet, they aren't like tech companies that just push for release dates, they actually need to have a working product first.

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VoIP isn't replacing analog systems out, Digital systems did that already

by Oz_Media In reply to VoIP is STILL in its infa ...

As far as VoIP replacing analog systems, that has been done years ago by Digital Systems that had no VoIP cpability. Digital systems have been around for some years now and certainly have pushed analogue systems to the wayside (not the VoIP market). I don't think I can name a sinlgle client that stil has an analogue system now, they all use PRI or BRI trunking (digital KSU only).

SOME digital systems still allow for an external analoge device to be added to the phone itself (ie, modem or cordless phone) but it certainly isn't VoIP that has pushed aside the analogue systems, it was digital trunking becoming affordable.

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VoIP features

by jim.wells In reply to VoIP is STILL in its infa ...

VoIP is still a young technology, I agree. However, as this technology evolves new features are bound to become available that the trusty phone system was never designed to handle. Do you feel any of these new VoIP features IT pro's are being tasked to implement work well, don't work well, or are just plain resource hogs?

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A few views

by Oz_Media In reply to VoIP features

Well I see the VoIP market as real, wannabe real and not a clue.
Nortel- over 100 years old, understand customer needs and have implemented specific calling features into the BCM to perform these fetures that customers have learned to rely on with key systems.

NEC- Advanced technology, working technology, full of the same feature that companies have demended from key systems for years.
WANNABE REAL (or bandwagon jumpers, generally computer hadrware maufacturers with no idea what a phone system is needed for):
3-Com- Make great routers, have NO idea whatsoever what feature sets are beneficial to business telecom, have a long way to go before they can offer quality, bandwidth management and stability that REAL companies do. I have had several 3-Com purchasers come to me for help only to be told that the 3-Com can't do that.

Avaya- Same as 3-Com


NOT A CLUE- (Now technically many of these players are much more experienced than the computer companies entering the business telecom market but they provide low quality and substandard equipment.)

Panasonic- CHEAP, not really offering anything past small business market

Toshiba- Again low end, full featured but no R&amp finding for VoIP

Samsung- well the name says it all, they just aren't a player.

REAL- Medium to large business, demanding call flow and distribution

Wannabe's- Network admins hired to buy phone systems, the admins have little knowledge of telecommunications products or call flow, therefore the weak feature set doesn't come into play until it is installed.

NO A CLUE- Cheap low end products that sell o price alone and provide very limited call routing capabilities.


You see, telephone companies have extreme demands to meet, far more than software and computer manufacturers, the phone system is the heart of the business, computers used to be pad and paper, phones have ALWAYS been needed and these guys know exactly what the demands are. Now I am not talking about high end Unified Messaging but simple features that most companies are used to in a key system. Screen pops from a database, 3-Com is notorious for over 30 seconds between call coming in a screen pop, Nortel had this down to milliseconds many years ago.

Call forward no answer, predetermined # of rings etc.- simple feature but often forgotten in other systems.

Adjustable echo, 3-Com offers OFF or On, others provide complete echo control.

My point is that many companies are now trying to pretend they are telephone companies, this may work at home but NOT for business. Teleohone companies have many decades of R&D, market research, quality testing and custoemr feedback. For some one who makes routers or switches to dcide they can enter an age old market and offer a viable solution is a farce. Yet many IT staff and net admins will insist they know what will work, when they, just as the products they are recommending, do not understand what a business expects a phone system to do.

The simplest Key System is actually an extremely sophisticated and tediously designed and tested product to help businesses develop business, not just a way to answer a phone and retrieve Voice/email.

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I agree with Oz...

by mlayton In reply to VoIP is STILL in its infa ...

...and telephone companies can't seriously explore it as an option because the compression rates aren't really saving them anything on the satellite bandwidths. Which means they still pay the same price for more reliable service than with VoIP, and they would have to really have a good business reason to drop their QOS for the same price.

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