Currently we have Norstar PBX. We would like to go with IP Telephony. We have 2 vendors that we got pricing from. Nortel and Cisco. We need all features that are currently available on Norstar PBX and Digital phones.
The company setup is as follows:
The main location is a campus type setup with main closet and 6 remote closets. Current LAN is 10/100 ( Cisco)
We have plant areas that currently use CAT3 for phone cabling. Paging is done using Horns in these areas.
There are 39 Fax machines that use DID.
We are upgrading the current LAN to 10/100/1000
and 54g wireless for Plant and office areas.
Looking at deploying IP phones throught the campus. But we have to rewire the plant areas. Nortel solution does not require rewiring of Plant phones. But the question is do we want to go backwards with old cabling or make everything IP.
Thanks for any feedback.
We are in the process of making a final decision in next couple of weeks. Any suggesstions are greatly appreciated.
Please see the attachment for cisco CME design. Does that look good for CME solution? We might add a second CME Router and do HSRP.
I'm not very familiar with CME so I'm not going to offer a technical judgment. However, I will say that if you compare the companies, there is no competition between Cisco and Nortel. Have you ever had to deal with Nortel on a technical issue? What about Cisco? Which do you want supporting your network?
Cisco wins that battle without a fight. Nortel is a has-been company that is struggling to find its footing and direction. They've changed directions so many times in the past five years that it's hard to keep up. On the voice side of the house we are an all-Nortel shop with over 85 Option 11C PBXs and an 81C. We recently made the decision to begin a migration toward Cisco IP telephony. It's a big migration but it begins this Thursday. :-)
We looked at Cisco, Nortel, Avaya, and Mitel. We originally thought that Nortel was going to be the best choice since we were a Nortel shop already, but our relationship with them grew to be rather antagonistic and unhelpful. There are some good guys at the local Nortel office but we really don't like Nortel as a company, particularly with regard to support.
Avaya has some really good stuff but it was very expensive and the call processing failover options weren't as good as Cisco's.
Mitel has a pretty good IP PBX but we had some issues with the way it would have worked in our environment. They don't support a truly distributed call processing environment in the way they originally claimed. They're a good company with good products but it ended up just not being a good fit. Besides, they're pretty small so support is an issue.
In the end, Cisco offered the most flexibility, the best support, the best working relationship, the best documenation, the best training (or at least availability of training), etc. The Cisco IPT system offers the features we require and it is also (relatively) easy to use. That was important because we want to be self-maintained on this stuff as quickly as possible.
Cisco isn't perfect and you should look at other vendors. They have a very strong product if it fits your environment and requirements. I think you'll be happier with the support you receive from Cisco in the long run. How many vendors have useful forums like this that actually get used? :)
There is something else to think about here. The local Cisco places will be talking to you about CME (CallManager Express) which runs on the router and has a Web interface. This is because you have a smaller PBX to begin with. I am affraid you will outgrow that CME solution rather quickly as you try to emulate all the PBX features of the old Nortel. If you have some router IOS jocks on staff then I think you will be in decent shape, but if your talent pool does not include some IOS guys then I think the CME solution for intricate features ends up being too difficult. I would seriously look at a full blown CallManager (servers) and look at this as the infrastructrure upgrade that it is. If you have Cat 3 everywhere then I would say you have underfunded the infrastructure up to this point. Count the savings over the years and pull the trigger on a full upgrade. Then go full IP and not the hybrid. I would guess that Mitel Nortel both talked the Hybrid options while Avaya and Cisco talked full IP. That should tell you something about the market and direction of technology. If you saddle yourself with dependencies on the old cabeling, old phones, and old features (like a bazillion shared lines all over the place and calls that roll from phone to phone) then you will just be upgrading again in a year or two.
The reality is that Hybrids should be seen as a stepping stone with the knowledge that more investment will be needed quickly. Without that additional investment to move past the Hybrid stage then all you have done is essentially upgraded your telephone system with the equivalent of car leasing. You paid a lot to get very little return but felt like you had a new system for a while.
just my opinion. As you can guess....I will never lease anything.
Don't be sold on telephone features. Everyone has features they all may have different names but this stuff has been around long enouth that the differentiating factors are not any of the features your current Nortel has, it's all the stuff your Nortel will never do (Presence, Applications, UM, Video integration, WiFi phone access, etc.)
guess that got a bit long and preachy..sorry. good luck
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