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8 posts

Wannabe Geek


Topic # 112484 10-Dec-2012 20:01 Send private message

Hi everyone

After a recent power outage here in Tauranga, which caused the failure of our PABX system and much frustration trying to get it going again, I have decided to look into VOIP for our phone calls. The problem is really that the existing system is only 6 years younger than I am, a fine 1989 Vintage Okicom-G with very little info on the net for reference.

We currently have 2 phone lines which can be both be used from 5 different locations. Call hold and transfer. We also have another line for internet and alarm system (i think?). I believe the whole office, including the phones is connected with cat 5.

I know there are many different posts which deal with using VOIP in business situations, however I do not have PABX nor VOIP experience,  so get very lost amongst the many abbreviations you all use very quickly!

Currently I have my phone lines and internet with Vodafone, and would be keen to stick with them to save hassle so the obvious choice would be Easy Office - however as far as I can see I would have to use their modem with analog phones, but not a PABX? which pretty much knocks them out.

As far as I can tell my options are:

Buy an analog PABX and phones, stay with existing phone lines

Buy a VOIP PABX and phones -  would I need to change internet provider in this case?

Use a virtual PABX - what is the downside in doing this? would I need to change internet provider?

I had a quick look at the Cisco UC320 specs and it appears we could connect by analog or VOIP lines, which might be smart to keep my options open?

Who would be the best crowd to talk to here in Tauranga?

Thanks!

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925 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 729968 10-Dec-2012 20:41 Send private message

Vodafone easy office includes 2 VoIP lines and 1 pots line - free local calling free national calling and free calling to vodafone cell phones plus 30 gb of broadband for $150 + gst.

Not as flexible as your pabx perhaps but I would imagine significantly cheaper.


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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 729978 10-Dec-2012 21:11 Send private message

Poor old Oki!

Hosted PABX gives you least up front costs but increased ongoing costs. Probably gives you a bit more flexibility in terms of adding extension and trunks. Some lack the features/flexibility of features that you can get with having the system in house. There is also the lack of analogue integration meaning fail over is normally done to a cell phone. Obviously your entire comms would rely on your broadband being up - in saying that, if your broadband is unstable then it is not wired up/set up properly.

We sell Samsung phone systems which are loaded with features and are capable of using PSTN, BRI's, PRI's and SIP. Gives you the option to have analogue, digital and IP extensions. In an office I would use digital extensions with key phones and then if you had a remote worker or salesman on the road then they can have IP extensions. Of course there is the usual raft of features like call queuing, auto-attendant, voicemail etc.
There is also the ability to fully integrate with your PC using a softphone and the 'Samsung Exchange' software which can sync with outlook contacts for 'click to dial' functionality and other cool little features - even make the facebook page of the incoming caller pop up (gimmicky). Also does great video conferencing.
Pretty much all the branded systems can do this now. Alot of comms companies will rent systems out meaning if there is any failures it will get fixed and it saves making the big upfront spend.
I would guess a system with 5 extensions, 2 analogue trunks and the ability to connect to a VoIP provider would be around the $3-4k plus a bit for the install. I try not to get involved in selling the things too much so don't know what it would rent for.

If you lack experience with PABXs and VoIP then going with a comms company who can give you a solution is by far the best option. I wouldn't suggest taking on the job unless you want a grumpy receptionist lol.

Don't know any companies personally in Tauranga. Just shop around and ask them what they can do for you. If you start talking about VoIP and they glaze over walk out the door.

24 posts

Geek
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  Reply # 729981 10-Dec-2012 21:12 Send private message

If your on ADSL2+ and going to look at running more than 2 VOIP lines, forget it, this will give you a headache down the line.2 or more concurrent calls on ADSL will start to jitter and give a very bad call quality.

When you say 5 locations I am assuming 5 stations around your house/bussiness. You don't have to switch ISP but you will need a much faster internet than ADSL2+. Every VOIP phones can do call hold,transfer,or even conference .

Try Kiwilink as your SIP/VOIP provider, they have good support,get yourself some good quality IP phones, a good Internet connection, and give them a call, I done some work for a family who used 3 pots line and they got switched to fibre, than I set them up with 6 VOIP numbers from Kiwilink ( I think was $25-35 bucks per block of 5, you will have to double check), all 5 phones had diffrent numbers 6 th number was for general use, if the 6th number was called all 5 phones will ring, all voicemail was saved back at Kiwilink.

445 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Full Flavour

  Reply # 729993 10-Dec-2012 21:40 Send private message

Hi,

Experienced the outage as well ! The good thing with having a hosted PABX is in times like that, incoming calls can automatically routed to mobile & you can pick up your messages via email. I was impressed that the mobile networks continued to function as normal.

We've done a few installs in partnership with C-Talk, a kiwi VoIP provider. We've provided the on-site technical help getting setup & a VDSL broadband connection, C-Talk provide the VoIP service and deal with all the "in the cloud" configuration.

I'll send you a Private Message, happy to point you in the right direction.




Unmetered Home, Home Biz & Business Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) in Hamilton & Tauranga

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 729995 10-Dec-2012 21:41 Send private message

Llory: If your on ADSL2+ and going to look at running more than 2 VOIP lines, forget it, this will give you a headache down the line.2 or more concurrent calls on ADSL will start to jitter and give a very bad call quality.


Maybe if it is a really bad ADSL line. We have a normal-ish 10Mbps ADSL2+ connection and often have 4-5 calls going on.
I think the most I have had going was 6 IP phones connected to a remote Asterisk server all running in a conference. Started getting a bit choppy but definitely not unusable. Might try a test tomorrow.

Anyway, we digress. My vote is in for getting a proper system in installed in house. Means you get exactly what you want and don't have to make-do with what a hosted system gives.

50 posts

Geek
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  Reply # 730000 10-Dec-2012 21:53 Send private message

Hi,

The best short term ( and going forward ) the best long term fix for this would be buy a couple UPS Battery backups. Run one for your PABX, your modem, your computer... for a few hundred dollars, you can keep your existing setup, but increasing reliability of your network.

Even moving to VOIP with out backup, wont fix your issues from Friday.
I had both our office and my home servers running on battery, and didn't lose power for my internet/phone for the 1.5 hours there was no power.

I can help with voip setup, but ups is the best start,

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 730002 10-Dec-2012 21:58 Send private message

Hi Robert,

I have installed a few UC320W devices, and they work great. Flick me a PM / email if interested. I'm Waikato based and cover your area.

Cheers
Fraser




Chorus has spent $1.4 billion on making their ADSL broadband network faster. Why not spend a couple of hundred to make sure you are getting the most out of your connection?
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  Reply # 730041 10-Dec-2012 22:59 Send private message

coffeebaron: I have installed a few UC320W devices, and they work great. Flick me a PM / email if interested. I'm Waikato based and cover your area.


Fraser is a good bloke, have met him in person a few times now, and also sent him some leads.

+1 for a recommendation for him.




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 730048 10-Dec-2012 23:42 Send private message

nate:
coffeebaron: I have installed a few UC320W devices, and they work great. Flick me a PM / email if interested. I'm Waikato based and cover your area.


Fraser is a good bloke, have met him in person a few times now, and also sent him some leads.

+1 for a recommendation for him.


+1 as well. All our small leads go to Frazer and he has never let us down.




Hmmmm

24 posts

Geek
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  Reply # 730055 11-Dec-2012 00:14 Send private message

chevrolux:
Llory: If your on ADSL2+ and going to look at running more than 2 VOIP lines, forget it, this will give you a headache down the line.2 or more concurrent calls on ADSL will start to jitter and give a very bad call quality.


Maybe if it is a really bad ADSL line. We have a normal-ish 10Mbps ADSL2+ connection and often have 4-5 calls going on.
I think the most I have had going was 6 IP phones connected to a remote Asterisk server all running in a conference. Started getting a bit choppy but definitely not unusable. Might try a test tomorrow.

Anyway, we digress. My vote is in for getting a proper system in installed in house. Means you get exactly what you want and don't have to make-do with what a hosted system gives.


Even tho your ADSL is at good speeds, you can't bank on it for those important conference calls, part of a good system is a reliable connection. Asterisk is a awesome system, free PABX. Don't forget not only you are using that 10 Mbps for calls, some of your staff may be using the Internet as well.VDSL may be a good option for 5-10 desk and as you grow you can migrate to HSNS or Fibre.

One thing I like about installing your own pabx system is you get to use your smartphone as a IP phone. :-) ....

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WorldxChange

  Reply # 730069 11-Dec-2012 05:51 Send private message

If you want someone to look after you since you not 100% with VoIP then Fraser is top notch and highly recommended.

Also one thing to be aware of when buying a VoIP service from a company that is different to your Internet provider can also lead to issues or concerns, this is especially true when the VoIP supplier doesn't actually have their own network, Wrote a thread a while ago, this still stands today especially with every man and his nana trying to offer VoIP services,

http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=43&topicid=77786




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8 posts

Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 730118 11-Dec-2012 08:01 Send private message

Hi Everyone

Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate your help

My gut feeling is to go with a local PBX system rather than a hosted one - mainly because I have been down this path with software and found the pricing to be much much cheaper to do it in house. To clarify, I intend to get someone else to set it up in house :)

I'm still a little confused about the internet usage - will this be taken off my monthly data allowance? will Vodafone allow me to connect to different SIPs? How much data are we talking about? I would estimate we would spend perhaps 2 hours total on the phone daily between the lines. Sorry Maverick, your link is dead.
If I was going with VoIP, could I keep my analog line for the alarm?

As a package, I agree with Nitrotech, the Vodafone Easy Office seems to be perfect for me, however i can't do without the additional features of a PBX. Does anyone know if Vodafone is planning on opening their SIP up to other hardware in the near future? Has anyone had any luck connecting a PBX through the vodafone box? do they do VOIP other than the Easy Office package?

If I do go with the in house option, which hardware is best? I have already had a quick look at the Cisco stuff, which has impressed, but found a couple of comments which mention their high price on the forum, Samsung has also been mentioned by Chevrolux, are there any other hardware options I should be looking at? What is the main difference between brands?

The main thing I learned from Fridays black out wasn't that I needed to change my back up batteries (dammit!) but that if the phone system does go down, there is very little information about it online, and I'm guessing parts would be hard to come by as the unit is over 20 years old. If I have another type of failure (blown diode or capacitor or whatever) which can't be fixed immediately then this could cost the business thousands in lost revenue. Add to this the cost savings in going with VOIP and I will be paying off the hardware in 2 or 3 years anyway.

Cheers

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  Reply # 730121 11-Dec-2012 08:10 Send private message

arg sorry ... fixed the link




Yes I am a employee of WxC (My Profile) ... but I do have my own opinions as well Wink

             

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 730154 11-Dec-2012 09:04 Send private message

Yes a Oki-G is far to old to get any parts for, the only way you will get any for that is to find a 2nd hand system on trade-me. (have worked on them over the last 10 years). Really don't think it is worth the effort though as it's so old and not many people know how to work on them any more.

Another option to look at is maybe a Panasonic KX-TEA308 system, It has 3 analogue line inputs and 8 extensions which can either be the Panasonic hybrid system phones or analogue phones. Depending on how many Panasonic phones you want with it someone local should hopefully be able to sell and install it for around $2000.

If you think your company will expand and need more lines or extensions then you could go for the next step up which is the Panasonic KX-TES824 which starts off with the same number of line inputs and extensions but can be added to later.

To sort out the black out issue you can just add a UPS to the system.

If you want to go to a real flash system then the Avaya IP office would be one to look at, you could start with analogue lines and then later move to SIP or any other line option. The phones don't have to be VOIP as the PABX takes care of that and you can use what ever phone type you like. (analogue, digital, IP, SIP)




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  Reply # 730204 11-Dec-2012 09:52 Send private message

The cheaper, but well featured, options would be the likes of Samsung, Panasonic, LG (Aria & iPecs). As mentioned there are the really flash systems like Avaya, Mitel, Siemens but I would consider one of those serious overkill for a small office.

Just put your scenario in to the pricing configurator...
So for 2 analogue trunks, 2 SIP trunks, 5 digital extensions with 14 button phones and voicemail comes to just under $3k. So add the install on to that and that is what Samsung would cost.

If you can find someone local to install and Asterisk box that would be a bit cheaper. But labour will be a bit higher compared to a branded PABX as there is a lot more set up to do. All you have to pay for is the IP phones and the server hardware so maybe if you have a supply deal with the distributors (Ingram Micro, Snapper Net come to mind first off) then it could be a good option. Then it is just a case of getting a guy (or girl, better be PC) to set up Asterisk.

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