Need a recommendation

Discussion in '3CX Phone System - General' started by KilroyWasHere, Mar 24, 2011.

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  1. KilroyWasHere

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    Our small business still uses an old analog voice mail system. Our vmail server is about 25 years old! It still works but who knows for how much longer. We need to convert to a 21st Century solution. We have 6 incoming lines [Ma Bell]. We have Business Road Runner [10 down 2 up] broadband from Time Warner. In order to preserve our 2 primary phone numbers and implement a system that will allow voice mail to show up in Outlook, what would we need to add/change? Your suggestions are appreciated as I have read about this topic on the internet and can not get a clear idea what to do. Thanks!
     
  2. leejor

    leejor Well-Known Member

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    Is your actual question..."we are thinking about moving to 3CX, what do we need to continue to make use of the connections that we currently use?"

    If so then, an analogue gateway (probably an 8 port) would convert your current lines to allow use with 3CX. This would mean no changes to your numbers/phone lines, at all.

    However, you could move (port) your phone numbers to a VoIP provider, perhaps even your ISP, and make use of your high-speed internet connections for the trunks. The majority of phone numbers can be ported from one provider to another allowing you to take your number with you. If you were able to move your number to your cable provider, they may be able to guarantee Quality of Service , so that voice packets take priority on their network. Moving voice to VoIP would also depend on how much use (traffic) your internet connection is now using as it might affect call quality if you have high traffic levels, unless you increase capacity.
     
  3. KilroyWasHere

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    Thanks for the reply. Any solution better than another? Have any hardware / software specific recommendations. 3CX certainly seems like a good possibilty but my ignorance of this topic begs for guidance ;)
     
  4. leejor

    leejor Well-Known Member

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    It will probably boil down to overall cost of the conversion. Besides the costs of a PC to run 3CX, if you want it in a dedicated machine, you will probably be looking at replacing all sets, unless you are using SIP phones now. And the 3CX licence.
    That part will be a given.

    If you stick with your analogue lines, add the cost of a gateway and the continued cost of the lines.
    If you move to VoIP, no gateway, and you may be able to work out a deal for a lower rate or lower long distance, although look around as there are many very low cost VoIP LD providers. VoIP also gives you the ability to add or remove lines very quickly.

    Remember, if you go VoIP, to avoid future finger pointing if call quality issues arise, go with a voice service provided by the ISP you're using, or plan to use.
     
  5. Jordack

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    KilroyWasHere,

    I am in some what the same boat. I have 15 handsets, our voicemail runs on a 486 running Dr.Dos. We have low call volumes which is what makes 3cx appealing.

    You really have two options, Take a couple of months and learn as much as you can about phone systems or hire a 3cx consultant to assist you. Your needs are going to be much different than mine. Asking for others opinions on what is the best option for a dial tone provider is a good start, but to go with another's recommendation without fully understanding the technology may not go so well.

    Many business rely on their phones, if you sell the execs on replacing your system and the project fails, then you failed :(. So sometimes its best to hire a consultant. They are always easy to blame.

    VIOP Providers can often offer the most cost savings, but keep in mind you are sending your voice over the Internet, where you may get no Quality of Service. Thank goodness for Net Neutrality in the US.

    Traditional providers (ATT, TDS, MaBell) can often reduce their costs if your willing to sign a commit of a few years. They also have different methods of service, (POTS, Trunks, PRIs). You will need to know the difference in order to decide what best fits your needs.

    Your first step should be to diagram out your phone system as to how you want it to work, not how it works now. Give yourself a visual representation to reference.

    Read the documentation, twice, then install the demo. Have fun and play with the settings. Its the best way to learn. You can setup a call centric number for less than $20/month to test.

    3cx is not an open source project, so keep in mind that it may be a good idea to maintain both Upgrade insurance and Tech support maintenance on your software.
     
  6. willow

    willow Member

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    Here's what I would recommend. Purchasing a voip based PBX is definitely the way to go. I could continue to use your old analog trunks for the time being with a gateway, either a grandstream with the 3cx or a properitary one with another voip pbx vendor. Then once you have the VoIP PBX installed you can go with a test account with a voip provider. there are a few free ones out there that will let you use incoming calls for free and just outbound are billed. That way you can dip your toe in the water of the VoiP Trunking. The Trunking is not for every one but does have some great features that your analog trunks will not have.
    Voip internally is a very easy to setup and maintain, voip over the internet can be a whole different matter. As always we are here to help.
     
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