VoIP implementation and tests

In 2014, we decided to transition from a Mitel sx200 to a VoIP solution. We researched Cisco UM, Mitel, Lync, Shoretel, Avaya, Digium, a few hosted solutions, and a few Asterisk clones. I was one of three who sat through several presentations of the same features of every single phone system. Two weeks into this process, we narrowed the field down to Avaya and Digium with cost-to-implement for 650 extensions being the main deciding factor. The other deciding factor was these two companies did not give a speech about we should choose them because such-and-so research company rated them #1 in customer satisfaction. In the second round of finding a VoIP solution, we asked if we could do a one week test of a demo system. Both parties agreed to this test and we were sent demo units. With the test units, we selected 6 secretaries, 1 programmer, myself, and 2 receptionists to participate in making internal calls and testing each of the functions. During the week, we deployed several tests:

  • Phone server interruption (I unplugged the server ethernet for 10-30 seconds)
  • Call audio quality
  • Phone restart time
  • The time it took to set up 1 phone
  • Admin user interface

After the week was done, we asked each participant which system they liked better. Everyone liked the Digium handsets. We also received reports that call audio quality was better with Digium (I believe Avaya adds white noise). During the “Phone server interruption” the Digium phones reconnected without rebooting whereas the Avaya phones rebooted as soon as the server went offline.

After looking at a 20 year TCO (with updates and phone upgrades), both phone systems came out to be nearly equal in cost. Ultimately we chose to go with Digium based upon internal experiences and haven’t regretted it.