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General VoIP system reliability?
#471177 07/08/06 02:39 AM
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First, Bo don't know diddly 'bout VoIP :shrug:


We are looking at going VoIP instead of a traditional wired digital key telephone system, mainly due to the need to connect several people in 4-5 buildings to a common system. The buildings are all local, within a mile of each other, but we are running into problems with the LEC as far as OPXs or tie lines.

We are not really looking at something like Vonage or Packet8 at this point although that may come along later.

All phones would be wired via Cat5 or Cat6 to a server or router in each building with the buildings connected by LAN/WAN wireless radio links. All COs would be delivered by the LEC to the main building for distribution via the phone system.

I've heard some bad things about VoIP, but I'm not sure if those stories relate to our type of situation or to the Vonage/Packet8 type system.

In general, how reliable are VoIP phone systems? We would be what some folks would classify as 'mission critical', so I would plan on having at least some POTS lines and phones in place as a backup.

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Re: General VoIP system reliability?
#471178 07/08/06 07:32 AM
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What kind of systems do you have in these buildings right now? If your current key systems aren't too old, you may be able to add some cards and set up IP trunking between them. You could also mix and match, putting in a pure IP system in one location and using IP trunking with all the others. Doing a wholesale switch to IP for everything at all buildings probably isn't the way to go.

As for reliability, there are plenty of situations where VoIP is being used in mission critical applications. I think VoIP generally gives you a lot more options to ensure reliability. The question is, do you have a full-time IT person who has the time to own responsibility for the VoIP system?

Re: General VoIP system reliability?
#471179 07/08/06 11:49 AM
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As Clinton says "Do you have a full-time IT person ---" tells a lot. Do you have a full time telephone person?

That tells you the reliability of this type system vs. traditional systems. Using VoIP as a feature supplement to the traditional system gives you the best of all situations, especially since you defined your situation as "mission critical".

My .02, KLD If you can't talk on it, what do I know? :shrug:


Ken
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Re: General VoIP system reliability?
#471180 07/08/06 07:27 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by CountyTech:
with the buildings connected by LAN/WAN wireless radio links.
This is the part of the post that most concerns me. If you said you had a fiber backbone to each of the buildings IP may be the answer. But I would lean to IP Net Trunking on a converged PBX. That way if the network was down you would still be able to take and make calls on local trunks in local switches.

Re: General VoIP system reliability?
#471181 07/08/06 10:52 PM
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"As Clinton says "Do you have a full-time IT person ---" tells a lot. Do you have a full time telephone person?"

That would be me. I'm fine with traditional key systems and in-house LANs, it's the combination that will be a new hurdle.

Never heard the term 'converged' until yesterday and it does look like it might be the answer as I indicated on the other thread. We currently have a Vodavi STS which does not support VoIP, but I have access to the Vodavi XTSc which does.

I don't really want to replace all the phones that we just bought 3 years ago. I would really rather keep this system and find a way to link the buildings, but the LEC isn't really cooperating.

The budget isn't there to deal with T-1s or Fiber loops.

The computer vendor assures me that a 5.8Ghz radio link via directional antennae will pass a good signal despite a few trees. Buildings are only about 800 - 1,200 feet apart straight line and they tell me they can shoot 10 miles or more with no problem.

So, I have to look at the possibility of VoIP or a hybrid system.

.

Re: General VoIP system reliability?
#471182 07/09/06 07:43 AM
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Motorla Canopy --- Meets HIPPA, and covers MILES if necessary. Up to 3 Ts band width.

If you are the in-house phone man you must have a lot of sets --- the IT normally are busy and just bring in a phone guy as necessary. One company I worked for had six facilities including a call center and only had three phone techs for three PBXs and IT had 28 techs for the same facilities.

A combined solution is always the best if you have no physical connectivity. But all solutions have draw backs.

KLD


Ken
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Re: General VoIP system reliability?
#471183 07/09/06 09:41 AM
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Here's what I would do:

Setup your wireless IP network between the buildings, create your VLANs etc. and make sure everything is solid.

Replace your STS and get all your KSUs talking to one another over the IP network. Give this some time where you have data traffic and intercom calls over the wireless network, make sure you don't have any issues with the voice quality.

Now you can start moving lines around and have all incoming calls directed at one person if that's your goal. Keep one or two POTS lines on each system though.

If you do want to move to a full IP solution, you can do it gradually. Introduce your IP system and start by adding new employees, and the few people you have that are excited about new technology. In any company you have those people who hate any kind of change, and when you plunk an IP set at their desk, they're going to be a thorn in your side. Leave them till last, and then you can point out all the other people who have already changed with no complaints.

Re: General VoIP system reliability?
#471184 07/09/06 07:06 PM
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Don't forget that there's more to it than just replacing the STS KSU. If the current system has 35XX model phones, they can't be used with the XTSc. You might want to look into some of Multi-Tech's VoIP solutions for this exact situation. They seem to be pretty stable, but remember that you will lose the true station-to-station connectivity. It will be more like tying systems together, but a lot less expensive since you can keep all systems that are already in place. Inter-office calls will just be handled like CO line calls.


Ed Vaughn, MBSWWYPBX
Re: General VoIP system reliability?
#471185 07/10/06 02:28 AM
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Interestingly, I am looking at some Muti-Tech options, but I haven't really found anything directly applicable.

Care to expand?

I really don't want to replace all 30 or so phones if I don't have to, and I would like to keep the STS if I can, but I would probably upgrade it to an 'e' cabinet.

How would things like Call Transfers, Night Ringing, Voice Mail, etc. work?

Would folks at one location be able to use the InSkin VM at another location tranparently?

Re: General VoIP system reliability?
#471186 07/10/06 04:48 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by CountyTech:
Would folks at one location be able to use the InSkin VM at another location tranparently?
No. This would allow call transfers but not a lot more.

You're not going to be able to do this cheaply and effectively.

The Multitech setup is a good way to go, as Ed stated. But, you're still going to need new KSU's for every location, plus voice-mail if you need it. You'll need either a two, four, or eight port MultiVoip at each location. You're also going to need copper lines at every location for 911 routing.

If you like Vodavi, you could upgrade to an XTS-IP at the main location. If the offices contain just a couple of people, then you could use an RGSM to tie a local copper line in for 911. For a larger office, you'll really need to add an XTSc-IP cabinet, but then you could use digital phones. As Ed said, 3515-XX or 3516-XX phones cannot be used on an XTS.

Since you're "mission critical" I would suggest (as others have) that you have systems at every location, with POTS lines, and tie them together with VoIP. No doubt the wireless will work, however what happens when you have a big storm and the antenna gets knocked off the main building? You're mission will be critical, but your phones will be unoperatable.

Also, don't take lightly the need for a couple of copper lines for 911 purposes. Once people get accustomed to using a phone, they aren't going to think twice about using it when there is an emergency. They're not going to remember to go to the fax machine to dial 911. What do you think will happen when someone is having a heart attack and the ambulance goes to the main office a quarter of a mile away where the phone lines are terminated?

Again, there are plenty of ways to do this, but none of them will be cheap if you intend to do it correctly.

Why not move to a larger building? I know this is probably not your call, but how much money will they be saving after they buy all the extra IP wireless equipment and phone equipment?


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