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Which PBX to choose? Avaya or Cisco?

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July 8, 2008 3:59:23 PM

Hi,

We are a small business with 15 employees and are recently reviewing some offers to upgrade our old Panasonic PBX to a new one. We have 14 employees in our main branch and another employee in a remote branch. We have 2 very competitive offers from Avaya for IP Office 500 with 14 digital 5410 phones and 1 IP phone for the teleworker and the offer from Cisco includes 2811 router running Cisco Communications Manager Express (CME) with 15 IP phones model 7911.
One of the things that bothers me with Avaya is that their solution is not pure IP and they don't support SIP phones (only SIP trunking). On the other hand, their solution seems to have more features than Cisco's (the free Phone Manager Lite software for example) and I heard they keep updating IP Office with new features in each version (version updates are also free).

I need some help making a decision here, please share your thoughts & experience...

Thanks in advance,

Danny

More about : pbx choose avaya cisco

December 24, 2008 8:18:23 AM

Danny,

Before I answer you query. I would like to make it clear that I work neither for Avaya or Cisco and hence, do not have any personal biases.

Second, Avaya IP office is really not solution I would to someone because it does not have any DR/BCP features and secondly this single box solution seems to be way to cumbersome to manage. However this solution is still better to deploy then Cisco Communication Manager Express.

I would advice you to go for solution like ACM 5.1 (Avaya Communication Manager) as this would not only provide you with End to End SIP. I know Avaya offers big discounts, so bargin hard (40%-50%) and this solution which would not be a single box solution so no single point of failures also this solution which would not only suppot SIP and TDM both (in case you wish to run both a TDM and SIP based network.

This Avaya Solution would also provide you with complete redundancy and even if central site completly goes down the secondry site would work business as usual. However same cannot be said about the Cisco CME.

Cisco CCE Pros:
Virtually unlimited number of phones
great desktop software
tandemburg video conferencing
Fancy looking phones

Cisco CME Cons:
Phone LCDs are hard to read in various light settings and don't alert users very well while on a call
Nearly impossible to use 1 system for 2 seperate organizations
PoE can be expensive, in order to have centralized power
All phones are required to boot, hence have a delay before being usable
Servers run Win2000 not 2003 and use Cisco Security Agent
Requires more servers than 1 for voicemail
Requires VoIP QoS on all ports to keep quality high
If you seperate voice and data switches for reliability, your cost just went through the roof.


There are other solutions you can look for in the market much cheaper but scalablity would be an issue. These include include Nortel 11c or BCM.

If you need more info on any of these products do let me know. But let me tell you my english is not very good.

Thanks and Regards,

Vineet
Anonymous
October 10, 2009 9:51:42 PM

My reply to this question is always this -

Thinking about about choosing between Avaya and Cisco?
Do the following -

(1) But the cheapest Avaya system you can get.
(2) By a sledge hammer.
(3) Smash the Avaya equipment to smithereens.
(4) Go get a Cisco system and live happily every after.
Related resources
Anonymous
January 19, 2010 2:38:01 PM

Anything that is Cisco apart from routers is always bloated up and is most of the times a non-functional box trying to be sold solely based on false marketing. I would reverse the order above any given day.
January 23, 2010 10:52:18 AM

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May 26, 2010 6:53:06 PM

Avaya IP Office is a good and stable platform, very easy to deploy and maintain.
It is special designed for small businesses and is very feature rich ( a lot more as Avaya CM and/or Cisco CME ).
All people here saying to "smash" all Avaya equipment or never use Cisco are narrow minded technocrats not able to look any further as their own daily business.
We deploy all these systems and all have a value for certain customers, we look closely to the business needs and then choose the platform which fits best and not the other way around.

Buy a Avaya IP Office, you will not regret it i am sure about that.

CH
May 27, 2010 5:22:23 AM

Hosted or Virtual PBX is cheaper than mention above. Try to visit online reviews about PBX systems at pbx101.com.
Anonymous
September 14, 2010 11:48:53 PM

I would suggest using some of the research sites out there. www.comparebusinessproducts.com has useful reviews and guides that I used when buying my new business phone system.
February 25, 2011 3:08:08 PM

dilberty said:
Hi,

We are a small business with 15 employees and are recently reviewing some offers to upgrade our old Panasonic PBX to a new one. We have 14 employees in our main branch and another employee in a remote branch. We have 2 very competitive offers from Avaya for IP Office 500 with 14 digital 5410 phones and 1 IP phone for the teleworker and the offer from Cisco includes 2811 router running Cisco Communications Manager Express (CME) with 15 IP phones model 7911.
One of the things that bothers me with Avaya is that their solution is not pure IP and they don't support SIP phones (only SIP trunking). On the other hand, their solution seems to have more features than Cisco's (the free Phone Manager Lite software for example) and I heard they keep updating IP Office with new features in each version (version updates are also free).

I need some help making a decision here, please share your thoughts & experience...

Thanks in advance,

Danny


Hi, my name is Angie. I Have worked with Avaya for years and the IP Office is an excellent platform that grows with your business. 15 employees now...50 later, no problem. The box is empty and is completely customized to me your specific business needs. Communication Manager is way over the top for your business size and need. SIP is the biggest headache we have, it's just not good yet and call quality is not good all the time. Unless you need to save money on cable...digital phone will always be your best choice. With IP Office you can have digital on your desktop, and an IP phone at your house...you're not limited to one technology. I like Cisco too, however, if i can have a digital phone that's my first choice. Go IP Office 500v2 with VoiceMail Pro.
February 25, 2011 3:47:43 PM

vineetbahl said:
Danny,

Cisco CCE Pros:
Virtually unlimited number of phones
great desktop software
tandemburg video conferencing
Fancy looking phones

Cisco CME Cons:
Phone LCDs are hard to read in various light settings and don't alert users very well while on a call
Nearly impossible to use 1 system for 2 seperate organizations
PoE can be expensive, in order to have centralized power
All phones are required to boot, hence have a delay before being usable
Servers run Win2000 not 2003 and use Cisco Security Agent
Requires more servers than 1 for voicemail
Requires VoIP QoS on all ports to keep quality high
If you seperate voice and data switches for reliability, your cost just went through the roof.

Vineet



i have a full blown cisco system with 700 phones in 14 buildings i can speak for the reliability of the phones and router you mentioned. I disagree with some of your cons vineetbahl.. PoE is expensive if you buy Cisco over priced switchs, dell switchs work just fine at a fraction of the price. I also disagree with the QoS needed for all phone ports. We run QoS over our wan to each building to the main data closet and this works just fine for the buildings that have 200 phones, so I would think 14 on the local subnet could run just fine without QoS.
December 8, 2011 12:57:20 PM

Each to its own. It is totally your personal choice. You may go as per your requirements.
Both support SIP
Both can be integrated
SRST support is available on both

The difference lies in the fact that Cisco calls are established through CCM and are then routed IP phone to IP phone whereas in Avaya, after establishing the call the communication server remain engaged. This is called bandwidth factor.
Also while making a choice keep in mind the features, ease of installation, your budget and business requirements, implementation costs, cost. Go for the one that best fits in your business.
You should take help of Hosted PBX providers who will guide you in choosing the best business phone system.
January 30, 2012 1:18:15 PM

I find some of the comments on this post extraordinary!! Cisco is an enterprise product - IP Office is designed for Small to Medium-sized businesses (max 300 users really).

A single site business with 15 people cannot justify the cost of installing belt and braces corporate resiliency and redundancy - instead their focus should be on a good reliable local maintainer who can respond quickly if there is a major fault.

I would advise any potential telephone system upgrader to meet with several local suppliers, try and pick some that offer a consultative approach rather than some sales person just trying to sell what he/she wants to sell and do some independent research (also get plenty of reference sites and speak to their customers).

Nick
www.firstoffice.co.uk
February 13, 2012 2:31:17 AM

If you want a system that works go with IP Office, resiliancy built in for Multi-Site setup and an award winning phone system at that. However we only build our networks with CISCO. Cisco Networks and Avaya Telecom systems if you want the best of both worlds.

Avaya IP Office 500 V8 support for up to 1000 users accross 32 sites? Whoever thinks IP office is for small business could not be more incorrect. IP Office 500 V8 is hands down one of the best systems we work with and is a complete PBX hybrid which can take Analog, Digital PRI, or SIP Trunks and has the capability to use Analog, Digital, IP, and SIP Handsets, oh and lets not forget about auxilary ports for your door phones ot blow horns etc..

If you would like more information on Avaya and specifically the IP Office 500 V8 Phone System, then please visit us at www.Aimwick.com or use direct link here http://aimwick.com/services/phone-systems

We are Certified in Cisco and Avaya Telcom Installation and Design Engineering for the SME and Corperate Businesses
February 13, 2012 12:37:12 PM

Gravediggers.
February 27, 2012 8:53:46 PM

dilberty said:
Hi,

We are a small business with 15 employees and are recently reviewing some offers to upgrade our old Panasonic PBX to a new one. We have 14 employees in our main branch and another employee in a remote branch. We have 2 very competitive offers from Avaya for IP Office 500 with 14 digital 5410 phones and 1 IP phone for the teleworker and the offer from Cisco includes 2811 router running Cisco Communications Manager Express (CME) with 15 IP phones model 7911.
One of the things that bothers me with Avaya is that their solution is not pure IP and they don't support SIP phones (only SIP trunking). On the other hand, their solution seems to have more features than Cisco's (the free Phone Manager Lite software for example) and I heard they keep updating IP Office with new features in each version (version updates are also free).

I need some help making a decision here, please share your thoughts & experience...

Thanks in advance,

Danny




My familys company has about 20 active handsets across the company, it's not a big part of the company but we tried out NEC Cloud PBX, it's interesting I'll say that much, I'll have to give it some more time before I can judge it accurately but no real problems so far. This is the product we're on www.nec.com.au/solutions-services/cloud-telephony-for-b...
March 4, 2012 11:38:33 AM

Hello, I have some information I would like to send you on this decision making question. If possible email me at vlitnin02@gmail.com. Thanks, Jewell

dilberty said:
Hi,

We are a small business with 15 employees and are recently reviewing some offers to upgrade our old Panasonic PBX to a new one. We have 14 employees in our main branch and another employee in a remote branch. We have 2 very competitive offers from Avaya for IP Office 500 with 14 digital 5410 phones and 1 IP phone for the teleworker and the offer from Cisco includes 2811 router running Cisco Communications Manager Express (CME) with 15 IP phones model 7911.
One of the things that bothers me with Avaya is that their solution is not pure IP and they don't support SIP phones (only SIP trunking). On the other hand, their solution seems to have more features than Cisco's (the free Phone Manager Lite software for example) and I heard they keep updating IP Office with new features in each version (version updates are also free).

I need some help making a decision here, please share your thoughts & experience...

Thanks in advance,

Danny

May 1, 2012 8:37:00 AM

haroldbells said:
Hosted or Virtual PBX is cheaper than mention above. Try to visit online reviews about PBX systems at pbx101.com.



I agree with you. I am also using Hosted PBX services from The Real PBX and it is less hectic and is available at an affordable price. You can check out their services.
May 1, 2012 3:59:59 PM

dilberty said:
Hi,

We are a small business with 15 employees and are recently reviewing some offers to upgrade our old Panasonic PBX to a new one. We have 14 employees in our main branch and another employee in a remote branch. We have 2 very competitive offers from Avaya for IP Office 500 with 14 digital 5410 phones and 1 IP phone for the teleworker and the offer from Cisco includes 2811 router running Cisco Communications Manager Express (CME) with 15 IP phones model 7911.
One of the things that bothers me with Avaya is that their solution is not pure IP and they don't support SIP phones (only SIP trunking). On the other hand, their solution seems to have more features than Cisco's (the free Phone Manager Lite software for example) and I heard they keep updating IP Office with new features in each version (version updates are also free).

I need some help making a decision here, please share your thoughts & experience...

Thanks in advance,

Danny


I can tell you from experience that the Cisco solution is not as difficult to setup as everyone makes it out to be. The Cisco CME solution resides entirely on the router, and can handle SIP, Skinny, Voicemail, FXO (for landline connections), FXS (for old style telephones), SIP trunks, and other various VoIP things with ease. It is a pure IP solution and requires just the router, not all the various servers and such that people are confusing it with. Since the Cisco is a pure IP solution, it will run on the same network as your PC's, but it does require a managed switch. Also, the Cisco solution is limited to 50 phones, and 300 voicemail mailboxes (with the Unity Express Module), at least until you move up to larger equipment (Unified Communications can handle thousands of phones on the other hand). Cisco has two solutions, the CME which is what has been recommended to you, and the full fledged Unified Communications platform which is targeted towards enterprise. The only issue with the CME platform would be initial setup and configuration if you are unfamiliar with Cisco enterprise equipment.

As far as the Avaya platform, that solution is decent as well, but since it is not pure IP, it requires a separate run of cable (I have no idea if you have that in place or not). The Avanya solution is also scalable meaning that as your business grows you can expand, but requires more equipment than the Cisco solution, which can really be done with just the Cisco 2811.

In the end it boils down to what are you more comfortable with doing, and cost. Others have recommended a hosted PBX solution, and that is a decent idea for a small business, but the issue with that is that A) you don't have physical access to the PBX and if it goes down, you are hosed B)Constant monthly cost, and C)Need pure IP SIP phones anyways.
October 16, 2012 1:36:29 PM

Hi,
I find a good site, where the Ozeki shown many good feasibility, how to use the Ozeki Phone System XE. There are good and clear descriptions, video tutorials and so on.
With this, companies can build PBX systems, can use PSTN networks and IP systems together and the program give countless opportunities.

Here is one site, but there are more of course:
http://ozekiphone.com/introduction-to-voip-technology-9...
November 9, 2012 6:31:34 AM

I can agree with FredBurns. I also tried it out and works fine. Thanks :) 
December 13, 2012 3:54:58 PM

For a company of your size, unless you expect dramatic growth in headcount in the next 2-3 year, the Cisco UC500 or UC320 series appliances would likely be a great fit for you. They are self contained, support SIP on the WAN and LAN, and have all the basic features most companies need in a PBX. You can use a range of Cisco phone models, powering them via PoE or with local 48V adapters such as the Cisco CP-PWR-CUBE3 .

Setup and ongoing administration are not exceedingly difficult, but you'll need someone with some IT background who is comfortable with basic network administration and troubleshooting. The price points are not bad either for Cisco, and the system is not nearly as complex as Cisco's full blown Unified Communications or traditional Callmanager deployment.

You can find info on the Cisco UC series appliances here http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps7293/index.html and here http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps11388/index.html
!