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3CX Deployment in Large Property (Circa 18,000 Sq. Ft)

Discussion in '3CX Phone System - General' started by joshhough, Oct 7, 2012.

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  1. joshhough

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    Hi,

    I have a client who's just built himself a stately home. He currently has an out-dated Panasonic PBX that has never worked and was installed by a previous company. He has had quotes to the tune of £25,000 to install a new phone system and has approached my company to quote too.

    I am planning on putting an HP MicroServer in the comms room, with a Patton SN4114/JO/EUI 4 Port FXO VoIP/ToIP Gateway and 3CX 4S/C license.

    Ideally he wants wireless handsets... and i'm not sure on them, but he also wants WiFi distribution throughout the property. I have decided to install a Cisco 2504 Controller with 9 AIR-1142N accesspoints so it will be seamless when moving around the property. In his office he will have 2 Cisco SPA504G Handsets.

    Throughout the rest of the property we had discussed using iPhones as the handsets - with a dock in each room (7 in total) and the app continuously running. The iPhones will never leave the property.

    My question is, is the android app as good.... or am i going about this totally the wrong way? should i in fact be looking at Wi-Fi SIP Handsets?

    Thanks,

    Josh
     
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  2. lneblett

    lneblett Well-Known Member

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    What a cool sounding project. I have a couple of opinions or observations, but ultimately, the choice is yours -

    While you state the size of the property is 18Ksqft, it is not clear if this is the size of the home or of the entire property. My guess is the home given the iPad and docking approach. I would be carefull with the Wi-Fi distribution as the Cisco access points are not very powerful and I am guessing that with a home of that size, there are some fairly massive walls and obstacles for the signal to overcome. The same with the iPad. Its Wi-Fi radio also leaves a lot to be desired when any distance is involved. Assuming that each AP will cover ~2Ksqft, coverage may not be all that great. I would suggest possibly expanding the AP numbers to positively ensure overlapping and end-to-end coverage in order to avoid the service call backs for dead spots or weak reception areas. Both the AP and client radios must have good stable reception of each other's signal.

    I have used both softphone apps, but i can't say that I have used them to the extent that they function as permanent extensions. I only used them on an adhoc basis when I know that I am in an area with good coverage, make/receive the call, and then close the app and move on.

    I have two concerns with the softphone approach - battery life and the fact that it is not a dedicated resource. By this I mean that there is a dependency on the softphone application to always be up and running on each iPad. Being an iPad also means a high likelihood that the device is being used for other activities and battery drain while running both could be an issue. I would be hesitant about the approach as the application may not be running for any number of reasons - user shuts it down by mistake (or on purpose to preserve battery life), app crash, etc. Also app updates will need to be done at each iPad and not from a centralized source, and privacy concerns as earbud/mic may not be readily available at each location.

    To me, the softphone approach in this instance is not an optimal approach if the need is to ensure a reliable and trustworthy phone system. If someone needs to dial an emergency number, this approach adds some significant risks to the completion of that call. Having said that, if on the otherhand, your client is some geek who is totally into the "cool" factor and has a complete understanding of the issues, then by all means go for it, but I would certainly document these issues and get a sign-off.

    I don't think many on the forum have had much luck with Wi-Fi.......so far and particulary so when faced with seemless hand-offs between APs. The more popular solution seems to be a DECT solution. My understanding is that Siemens, Panasonic and Samsung all now have solutions that allow roaming utilizing multiple access points or stations. A search of the forum will show more about which models, but I think the Panasonic offering is brand new. I have used the Aastra, Grandstream (also new) and Panasonic stand-alone DECT offerings and I have had no issue. Being dedicated as a phone, I have little concern as to how the device will be used. The coverage of the Panasonic in a country club with some fairly massive walls, furniture and other obstacles, has been quite good and I would venture to say that you could provide better coverage with fewer DECT stations than you can using Wi-Fi. Of course, I understand that it then might be a secondary system as the Cisco solution gives dual functionality in one offering.

    If you really need to go Wi-Fi, then my only suggestion is to get a dedicated Wi-Fi SIp compatible phone. Forum members can likely give you more info as to which ones they have had the most success.

    As I said....... my opinion.
     
  3. joshhough

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    Thats an interesting response.

    The initial idea was to only AP the rooms of the house where they actually 'Live'. They aren't concerned about having room such as the dining room or guest suites having access to the internet - hence the number of AP's specced.

    The client had discussed iPhones being effectively fixed handsets in the bedrooms, kitchen etc. There would be docks - but the handsets would remain there. Being farmers they all use JCB tough Phones so the iphones would always remain in the house. I had thought 8GB iPhone 4 which would prevent people from using them as anything more due to limited space. Using Wi-Fi handsets would of course remove the need for an extra repeater as required (from what i can tell) by the panasonic system which requires the KX-UDS124.

    It seems like i will have to keep looking!

    Thanks
     
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  4. sigma1

    sigma1 Active Member

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    Interesting project. I had to deploy a phone system at my home as well and while only 2/3 of the one you mentioned I used the following (and please keep in mind that size alone is not what I used to select the following but I have 3 kids too and both my wife and I have separate home offices for those days that going to the office is not an option).

    3CX running on one of our own appliances (SigmaVoIP APPOneG3)
    3CX SB 8SC
    Patton 4114 for the backup lines only (2 POTS)
    SIP Trunk as primary
    2 - Snom PA1 for outside PA
    All guest rooms have the Grandstream GXV3140 with WiFi
    Offices use the GXP2124
    Kids rooms the GXP1405 (PoE)
    2 of the guestrooms have a DP175 DECT phone on the same extension as the GXV3140 (SIP Forking)
    Frequent guests usually download the 3CX app on whatever they use and I will auto provision upon arrival.

    The WiFi network is comprised of 10 access points using the Ubiquity Unifi devices. There are 4 SSIDs in place, one for the family, one is a guest data SSID on a separate VLAN, one is for VoIP on separate VLAN (open but with no default gateway i.e. no internet) and the last one is for the Video streaming devices (Ruku, Sony etc).

    We use the Android apps on our phones and tablets (Iconia A500s) and they work as phones too.

    The important question is the family habits, the guest habits and needs when designing something like this. It can go very bad very quickly as I can assure you that on certain week-ends the WiFi network is truly pushed to the limit.

    Key in the deployment was the staging of it before we secured the APs. Don't forget that at some point the owner can/may add video surveillance... Even in H264 that eats up Mbps.
     
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  5. cobaltit

    cobaltit Well-Known Member

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    I would say SPA525 with built-in wifi since you already have SPA phones. If mobility is a concern, you could go bluetooth with them as well, or go SIP DECT. Either way, sounds like a fun project.
     
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  6. netswork

    netswork Active Member

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    I would recommend a fortigate UTM appliance which also acts as a wireless controller for the FortiAP product. All traffic is sent back through the appliance since the AP's are essentially "dumb". You can apply traffic shapers to the policys to give voice the highest priority.

    PM me if your interested and I can get you more details.

    We deploy it all the time and is a solid solution for a meshed wireless network with seamless handoffs.
     
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