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Which PBX to choose? Avaya or Cisco?

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
10 answers Last reply
More about which choose avaya cisco
  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. --------------
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Gravediggers.
  10. 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.
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