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Topic # 215266 19-Jun-2017 19:34
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Hi guys,

I'm looking at switching my parents' business from Office Net Unlimited (VDSL) to Office Net Unlimited + (fibre). They currently have two analog lines running through a PABX which enables them to transfer calls etc. The lines are also "stepped", so when one line (number) is busy the call goes through to the other. When they switch fibre, their lines will be no longer be analog lines, they will be VoIP lines. Will these lines work with the existing analog PABX, or do we need new gear? Also, will they work in the same way as we're used to, provided we have the right gear.

All the wiring is well setup (Cat 6 to each workstation). Some of the phones are fairly ancient too, but I figure they should still work regardless.

Here's the current setup:
Two analog phone lines -> Panasonic TES824 (PABX) -> one cable running to the patch panel (RJ45) for each extension -> each phone plugged into the corresponding port.

Not really interested in other options at this point, due to the high volume of mobile calls.

Any advice is much appreciated.


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  Reply # 1803629 19-Jun-2017 19:42
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They'll be VoIP lines but presumably delivered to the voice ports on the HG659b so will just be analogue ports. PBX compatibility with such a setup is hit and miss with no clear forward support for end of call detection.

 

You'd also have to ask Vodafone if they support stepping but I'd suspect the answer would be no. 




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  Reply # 1803634 19-Jun-2017 19:56
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sbiddle:

 

They'll be VoIP lines but presumably delivered to the voice ports on the HG659b so will just be analogue ports. PBX compatibility with such a setup is hit and miss with no clear forward support for end of call detection.

 

You'd also have to ask Vodafone if they support stepping but I'd suspect the answer would be no. 

 



Thanks sbiddle, that makes sense. Is there another PBX type device that could achieve what we want?

Interesting regarding the stepping. It seems like such an integral feature for a business with two lines, so I'm surprised it's most likely not available.

 

I'll give Vodafone a call at some point, but maybe we'll just stick with the status quo.




 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1803684 19-Jun-2017 21:22
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Sam91:

 

sbiddle:

 

They'll be VoIP lines but presumably delivered to the voice ports on the HG659b so will just be analogue ports. PBX compatibility with such a setup is hit and miss with no clear forward support for end of call detection.

 

You'd also have to ask Vodafone if they support stepping but I'd suspect the answer would be no. 

 



Thanks sbiddle, that makes sense. Is there another PBX type device that could achieve what we want?

Interesting regarding the stepping. It seems like such an integral feature for a business with two lines, so I'm surprised it's most likely not available.

 

I'll give Vodafone a call at some point, but maybe we'll just stick with the status quo.

 

Any halfway decent voip switch will support line stepping. Whether the supplier can cope and configure it for you is a completely seperate question. The lack of clear forward support will be a bigger issue though, and if it did work it would be intermittent, as steve says.

 

There is no requirement for any voip vendor to offer backwards compatibility with technologies from the 80's, but if you can get it then awesome.

 

Ask your provider if they will supply and support stepping and CFA (Clear Forward Answer).





________
AK



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  Reply # 1803695 19-Jun-2017 21:44
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antoniosk:

 

Sam91:

 

sbiddle:

 

They'll be VoIP lines but presumably delivered to the voice ports on the HG659b so will just be analogue ports. PBX compatibility with such a setup is hit and miss with no clear forward support for end of call detection.

 

You'd also have to ask Vodafone if they support stepping but I'd suspect the answer would be no. 

 



Thanks sbiddle, that makes sense. Is there another PBX type device that could achieve what we want?

Interesting regarding the stepping. It seems like such an integral feature for a business with two lines, so I'm surprised it's most likely not available.

 

I'll give Vodafone a call at some point, but maybe we'll just stick with the status quo.

 

Any halfway decent voip switch will support line stepping. Whether the supplier can cope and configure it for you is a completely seperate question. The lack of clear forward support will be a bigger issue though, and if it did work it would be intermittent, as steve says.

 

There is no requirement for any voip vendor to offer backwards compatibility with technologies from the 80's, but if you can get it then awesome.

 

Ask your provider if they will supply and support stepping and CFA (Clear Forward Answer).

 



Thanks for your reply. I think I understand what you're saying (but I'm out of my depth). We're happy to ditch any old technology and invest in new technology if need be. We'll do whatever is required to achieve the following solution:

• One public facing number
• Two VoIP lines - if one is busy, the call goes through to the other one
• Ability to transfer calls between lines

It's a fairly simple setup, surely this is compatible with Vodafone's VoIP service!?

What exactly is needed to achieve this?

Alternatively, lets say we wanted that same setup above, could we run that setup through someone like 2talk? What kind of gear is needed?

Cheers,

Sam



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  Reply # 1803699 19-Jun-2017 21:57
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Recently was looking at a line for a customer moving over to fibre.

 

 

 

Originally they had Two PSTN lines, stepping on them.

 

only two lines, That's easily supported by the ONT.  

 

 

 

Working with the tech on site he had already figured the logic for stepping with easy within the customer's selfservice functionality.

 

On busy, divert call to X number.

 

 

 

Now this wasn't quite working perfectly, few quick questions a look at all the ticks and heyy.. Call Minder was on the primary line.

 

 

 

 

 

in the end, for the customer (a smaller sized retail store) they had the same setup on fibre as was on copper but without any long standing stepping functionality that would be an effort to diagnose. 

 

I can't speak for Vodafones implementations as theirs are very different - but i expect the same logic to easily be applied to create 'stepping' 





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Any comments made are personal opinion and do not reflect directly on the position my current or past employers may have.


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  Reply # 1803749 20-Jun-2017 07:09
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The concept of stepping is obsolete once you move to the true VoIP world with SIP trunks since you only need a single trunk that can support multiple calls.


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  Reply # 1803757 20-Jun-2017 08:04
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sbiddle:

 

The concept of stepping is obsolete once you move to the true VoIP world with SIP trunks since you only need a single trunk that can support multiple calls.

 

 

very much agree; can often be difficult to get past an existing setup that works though sadly..





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  Reply # 1803759 20-Jun-2017 08:10
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hio77:

 

Recently was looking at a line for a customer moving over to fibre.

 

 

 

Originally they had Two PSTN lines, stepping on them.

 

only two lines, That's easily supported by the ONT.  

 

 

 

Working with the tech on site he had already figured the logic for stepping with easy within the customer's selfservice functionality.

 

On busy, divert call to X number.

 

 

 

Now this wasn't quite working perfectly, few quick questions a look at all the ticks and heyy.. Call Minder was on the primary line.

 

 

 

 

 

in the end, for the customer (a smaller sized retail store) they had the same setup on fibre as was on copper but without any long standing stepping functionality that would be an effort to diagnose. 

 

I can't speak for Vodafones implementations as theirs are very different - but i expect the same logic to easily be applied to create 'stepping' 

 

 

The problem with call diversion is that if you're a business paying for local calls you'll pay this for diversions. I have no idea about VF's unlimited fixed line plans but certainly in the mobile world call diversions incur charges even on unlimited plans.

 

 


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  Reply # 1803763 20-Jun-2017 08:34
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Ditch your old gear and go full VoIP. I would love to help but even I would feel bad selling you a PBX for 2 extensions haha.

 

Take a look at some of the Cloud PBX offerings. The big boys aren't really doing this that well (IMHO) so look at the likes of 2talk or Voyager. 2talk is a "hands on" experience so would suggest you employ one of their resellers to get it installed and set up properly. No idea how Voyager do deployments. Samsung Cloud could be a good option too - you will get a cloud PBX offering, fully managed (plug/play delpoyment), and the phones will feel very familiar to someone who has used a TDM PBX.


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  Reply # 1803800 20-Jun-2017 09:15
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I inherited a PBX system at work - we have an 0800 number and around 8 ddi extensions - they were just dumb old phones - no smarts.

 

I bit the bullet and ditched the hardware PBX and we now have a cloud based system and we are very happy with it.

 

While I moved my home line to 2talk when we went UFB, I was very reluctant to go with  2talk for work, purely because you need your business phone number porting to transition seemlessly. I am sure you can do that with 2talk - but there is a learning curve with their system. And has been acknowledged often on GZ - little support. I wanted someone to hold our hands while we moved to voice.

 

At the risk of sounding like an advert - we chose conversant (https://www.conversanthq.com/nz/ ) who are an NZ based company with real people you can call (and get through to) for support. They managed the whole number porting for us - which went very smoothly and they delivered the phones we ordered - all configured and ready to go. The web interface is really good and you can set up voicemail, what to do with incoming calls etc etc. And of course you can use a VOIP client on a PC or mobile if you want. They are very helpful if you need assistance.

 

In your situation it would probably be easiest to:

 

  • Port your phones over to VOIP (if you dont go with the Vodafone offering)
  • Change your internet plan to naked - (I see that conversant also offer internet if you wanted it with them).




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  Reply # 1803979 20-Jun-2017 13:04
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hio77:

 

 

 

On busy, divert call to X number.

 

I can't speak for Vodafones implementations as theirs are very different - but i expect the same logic to easily be applied to create 'stepping' 

 



Thanks for that. I've now spoken to Vodafone, they suggested diverting the primary line to the second line as well.

 

sbiddle:

 

The concept of stepping is obsolete once you move to the true VoIP world with SIP trunks since you only need a single trunk that can support multiple calls.

 



That makes perfect sense now. Thanks.

 

sbiddle:

 

 I have no idea about VF's unlimited fixed line plans but certainly in the mobile world call diversions incur charges even on unlimited plans.

 



According to Vodafone there would be no charges, because the plan is unlimited.

 

chevrolux:

 

Ditch your old gear and go full VoIP. I would love to help but even I would feel bad selling you a PBX for 2 extensions haha.

 

Take a look at some of the Cloud PBX offerings. The big boys aren't really doing this that well (IMHO) so look at the likes of 2talk or Voyager. 2talk is a "hands on" experience so would suggest you employ one of their resellers to get it installed and set up properly. No idea how Voyager do deployments. Samsung Cloud could be a good option too - you will get a cloud PBX offering, fully managed (plug/play delpoyment), and the phones will feel very familiar to someone who has used a TDM PBX.

 



Thanks for the suggestions, that's what I'd love to do. Just checked today, our contract has another 6 months remaining, so it's Vodafone or nothing at this point.

 

robjg63:

 

I inherited a PBX system at work - we have an 0800 number and around 8 ddi extensions - they were just dumb old phones - no smarts.

 

I bit the bullet and ditched the hardware PBX and we now have a cloud based system and we are very happy with it.

 

While I moved my home line to 2talk when we went UFB, I was very reluctant to go with  2talk for work, purely because you need your business phone number porting to transition seemlessly. I am sure you can do that with 2talk - but there is a learning curve with their system. And has been acknowledged often on GZ - little support. I wanted someone to hold our hands while we moved to voice.

 

At the risk of sounding like an advert - we chose conversant (https://www.conversanthq.com/nz/ ) who are an NZ based company with real people you can call (and get through to) for support. They managed the whole number porting for us - which went very smoothly and they delivered the phones we ordered - all configured and ready to go. The web interface is really good and you can set up voicemail, what to do with incoming calls etc etc. And of course you can use a VOIP client on a PC or mobile if you want. They are very helpful if you need assistance.

 

In your situation it would probably be easiest to:

 

  • Port your phones over to VOIP (if you dont go with the Vodafone offering)
  • Change your internet plan to naked - (I see that conversant also offer internet if you wanted it with them).



Thanks for sharing your experience. As above, switching to something like that is the ideal solution, but we still have 6 months on our contract. Will definitely keep that company in mind.

General update:

I have spoken to Vodafone, and it appears as though the stepping feature is achievable by using call divert. 

The compatibility with the existing PABX is still up in the air. I have spoken to the installer and he seems to think it will work. He has set up clients with telco provided VoIP and managed to get it working with their existing systems. He's going to check if any of the clients were with using Vodafone's Office Net VoIP product.

We have VDSL including 1 line and an additional line. Apparently there's a $228.85 ETC for the first line/VDSL, and another $228.85 for the second line. Seems a bit wrong to have such a hefty ETC on the second line, when surely the ETC is mainly to cover the VDSL install. These fees are why we probably can't look at other options at this stage.

Another factor to consider is the minutes we require. When I've looked into VoIP in the past, mobile minutes seemed to be quite expensive. Office Net Unlimited works for us because it's unlimited. Usage can often be in the 1000s of minutes per month, the majority of which are cellphone calls. If I had my way, they'd run everything through an unlimited cellphone plan, but that's not very practical for a business : )

Thanks again for all your posts.


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  Reply # 1805157 22-Jun-2017 13:40
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Also, don't forget your security system. If it is monitored (ADT, Code 9 etc) then you will probably need to factor into is $3-400 or so to get an add-on to your alarm for it to communicate over IP or radio


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