New VoIP Phone System Install - Need Recommendations.

Answered Question
Feb 11th, 2009

Hello all!


I am researching the components and infrastructure that I need to install a new phone system in our office. We currently have *no* existing system or PBX.


The requirements would be as follows:


* Support 20 users currently

* Expandable to 50 users (hopefully within 5 years)

* Basic voicemail, caller ID, forwarding, etc.

* Preferably some integration with our Exchange 2007 server (e-mail notification of messages, etc)


And that is really it!


Of course I am drawn to Cisco because of the strength of their brand, but I wanted to get some advice from the professionals on the message board here.


My questions are:


If I am considering the Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series for Small Business line of products, what would I need to make a complete system?


Obviously I would need the actual VoIP platform device, but can someone explain to me how that would interface with the PSTN?


I am currently working under the assumption that I would need something called a SIP Trunk, is this true?


Would the cable dropped by the SIP provider simply plug into the platform and then the phones connect to it?


Do I need a PoE switch sitting between the phones and the Cisco 500 series platform device?


Can someone provide a brief high level overview of what a simple system in a pristine environment would look like?


Please forgive my ignorance on VoIP related issues!


I really appreciate you taking the time to review and respond to my questions.

Correct Answer by Nicholas Matthews about 8 years 2 weeks ago

Hi Richard,


ISDN is still very much around for voice. PRI's are the most popular choice for voice trunks.


BRI = 2 B channels 1 D channel = 2 calls

PRI = 23 B channels 1 D channel = 23 calls


For 20 users having 2 BRI's equates to 4 active calls at any given time. If you think this is about accurate you can go with that. If you plan to grow to 50 people, you may need more. The UC520 can also have FXO ports so that you can convert any standard line from the provider into the system (very popular).


-UC520 has these features:

8 PoE ports for phones. If you need more than this, the accessory product is the CE500 switch which is plug-and-play with the UC520. I believe this has 24 ports.


-BRI/PRI/SIP Trunk/FXO/FXS ready. These are your possible PSTN connections, and all of these can be built into the box. The SIP trunk is different because it is a pure IP solution that doesn't require any hardware, and is a newer idea spreading to VoIP.


-Built in voicemail, auto attendant, voicemail-to-email with exchange, MWI, etc.


-Callmanager Express(CME) is a great product. You can configure nearly any voice configuration on it, as it is very flexible and very stable. This will run the SCCP protocol to your IP phones



Things you would need to buy:

IP phones

Licensing

UC520

CE500

PSTN connection (BRI/PRI/FXO) or SIP trunk

Support Contract if you would like TAC support



hth,

nick

Correct Answer by Paolo Bevilacqua about 8 years 2 weeks ago

Hi,


the 500 platform has PSTN interface, my strong recomendation is that you get ISDN BRI, like two lines, to make 4 calls.


The SIP trunk is not mandatory and I recommend you begin with PSTN first.

The 500 platform has PoE and you don't need anything else.


Most important thing engage a reputable cisco partner or consultant because there are too many things that could drive you crazy for DIY.


Watch out because UC520 and phones are not exactly cheap so if you were hoping of doing 20 users with $2,000 that is not possible.


Come back here anytime with more questions or contact me personally at the emailpresent in my profile for project guidance.


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Correct Answer
Paolo Bevilacqua Wed, 02/11/2009 - 15:59

Hi,


the 500 platform has PSTN interface, my strong recomendation is that you get ISDN BRI, like two lines, to make 4 calls.


The SIP trunk is not mandatory and I recommend you begin with PSTN first.

The 500 platform has PoE and you don't need anything else.


Most important thing engage a reputable cisco partner or consultant because there are too many things that could drive you crazy for DIY.


Watch out because UC520 and phones are not exactly cheap so if you were hoping of doing 20 users with $2,000 that is not possible.


Come back here anytime with more questions or contact me personally at the emailpresent in my profile for project guidance.


dfxdeimos Wed, 02/11/2009 - 16:19

Thank you for your excellent comments!


In your experience is the cost difference between an ISDN BRI connection and a SIP connection (that can handle the same amount of calls) significant?


We haven't decided whether or not we are going to go with a consultant, I would like to consider myself pretty tech savvy (A+, MCSE) but we may have to go that way.


Our expected budget for this project was between $8,000 and $10,000; does that seem reasonable for a 20 seat VoIP setup for you?


We don't want to go overboard, but we want a high quality product with a decent level of expandability.


I really appreciate your time! I am going to start seeing if I can find an "ISDN BRI" provider in our area (Seattle, WA). To be honest, I didn't realize ISDN was still around. =X


Best Regards,


Richard

dfxdeimos Wed, 02/11/2009 - 16:24

My apologies, but is "ISDN BRI" similar to "ISDN PRI"?


Best Regards,


Richard

Correct Answer
Nicholas Matthews Wed, 02/11/2009 - 16:47

Hi Richard,


ISDN is still very much around for voice. PRI's are the most popular choice for voice trunks.


BRI = 2 B channels 1 D channel = 2 calls

PRI = 23 B channels 1 D channel = 23 calls


For 20 users having 2 BRI's equates to 4 active calls at any given time. If you think this is about accurate you can go with that. If you plan to grow to 50 people, you may need more. The UC520 can also have FXO ports so that you can convert any standard line from the provider into the system (very popular).


-UC520 has these features:

8 PoE ports for phones. If you need more than this, the accessory product is the CE500 switch which is plug-and-play with the UC520. I believe this has 24 ports.


-BRI/PRI/SIP Trunk/FXO/FXS ready. These are your possible PSTN connections, and all of these can be built into the box. The SIP trunk is different because it is a pure IP solution that doesn't require any hardware, and is a newer idea spreading to VoIP.


-Built in voicemail, auto attendant, voicemail-to-email with exchange, MWI, etc.


-Callmanager Express(CME) is a great product. You can configure nearly any voice configuration on it, as it is very flexible and very stable. This will run the SCCP protocol to your IP phones



Things you would need to buy:

IP phones

Licensing

UC520

CE500

PSTN connection (BRI/PRI/FXO) or SIP trunk

Support Contract if you would like TAC support



hth,

nick

Paolo Bevilacqua Thu, 02/12/2009 - 02:03

Nick has given you an excellent explanation. I only want to add a recommendation against analog lines that will give you trouble and limitations. All the detail must be patiently defined as you move into the ordering phase.


I will be visiting Seattle in the near future so if you're interested in a project evaluation at no charge, contact me asap.


Thank you for the nice rating and good luck!

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