auto attendant/voicemail

I know this is the newsgroup for technical aspects of telephony but I am trying to get a handle on this. I am setting up a new office with three employees. I have two lines and data line. Each wants its own phone and voicemail/answering machine for their own private messages. There is no secretary. So I am looking for when a person calls the main number it gets the main announcement -"if you want to reach so and so, press one", etc. It then transfers to that phone extension and if the person doesnt pick up his personal voicemail/announcment plays and accepts a message in his own mailbox. I was interested in the AT&T 984 which has auto attendant and and a digital answering machine but apparently from what I can read in the manual while it does transfer the call to the employees phone, if no one picks up it drops the call. There is no option for leaving a message for the employee and creating his own greeting.

I see on ebay that there is a VP206 which appears to due both. Is this true? Does it need to be physically connected to all phones? Are you able to the transfer to the extension, and when it occurs, allow for personal greeting for each of the extensions (i.e. you have reached the desk of....).

Alternatively, i guess I could buy 4 att phones. Set one up as the auto-attendant the others to the regular answering machine so when the auto attendant phone transfers it to other phones-each phone's answering machine picks up after a number of rings.

Which one would you suggest?

I apologize for ignorance but if someone can enlighten me it would be much appreciated. If this not option for this vp206, I'll take suggestions.

Thanks in advance


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Consider and ESI C or S class. Fairly inexpensive and, from my experience, very reliable.

Take care, Rich

God bless the USA

Reply to
Rich Piehl

For the sake of an argument, you're trying to do a $1000 job with a $200 box. What is your budget?

For the $1K, you can get a Venture IP system, or a Panasonic TA-824 with BV and Auto Attendant.

Both of these systems are pretty simple to install and configure and don't have a ton of bells and whistles.

Clearly, the more money you spend, the more features you'll gain. Keep that in mind if you plan to expand either employees or phone system functions.

Carl Navarro

Reply to
Carl Navarro

Thank you for the suggesti> > For the sake of an argument, you're trying to do a $1000 job with a

Obviously I am not looking to spend a 1k or else I would not have asked about vp206. I appreciate the suggestion but thats not in my budget. Maybe someone can answer if the vp206 does what I asked about?

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Open source is your friend. Asterisk!

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I'll second this suggestion. If you've got a spare box around you can try it out for just the cost of a card for interfacing to your PSTN.

The downside is there could be a bit of a learning curve.

Reply to
Rod Dorman

What do you think of callbutler? I have been looking into this. The only downside is 100% voip.



Reply to
Jonathan Roberts

Well, you seem to have a handle on it all by yourself. I sold my VP to David Lesher who hangs out here. Maybe he'll jump in and give his unbiased opinion on what a piece of crap the system was. I bought it about 3 or 4 years ago to answer the phone of a large retail store, and play a "we are opening in the future call our other stores until then" message and then allow the caller to press zero to reach someone in this store.

It required a Standby Power Supply because the internal battery, even after it was replaced, kept dropping out and losing the programming. The version of software was barely upgradeable and it would not detect fax tones. Id dit light Vodavi message waiting lights on the single line sets, and it did allow you to leave a message if the single line ports were unanswered. Yes, the phones had to be connected to the ports on the system, it's a PBX.


Reply to
Carl Navarro

As Carl said; I bought {or my client did..} a VP206. It now has the Stak improved ROMs.

It's working, but it's no Jack Kennedy.

a) The station ports are not balanced. What that means is -- don't put the unit 170 ft away in the phone room or you'll get lots of crosstalk between stations. I moved it into the office itself & that problem is gone. Yes, the phones plug into the unit; it plugs into the wall & the incoming lines.

b) There's some griping that you can't play back VM messages in LIFO order, just FIFO. My response is such discourages VM message hoarding. There IS a "skip-ahead" function while playing messages.

c) VM audio quality is OK - not broadcast perfect but not robot-ish.

d) Finding phones with 90V message-waiting lights that the customer liked was a minor PITA. We settled on a Panasonic model.

e) Our fax detection did not work at all, but Stak told me our box was the oldest hardware version. Instead, I used ""Ringmaster"" aka another DN from Verizontal; the fax machine had a detector. I set that trunk to need 5-6 rings before the VP206 picks up; that gives the fax enough time to snatch the call.

f) Yes, each station has its own OGM, so people call in & hear the main greeting:

You've reached XYZ, for Abbot, dial 12 for Costello, 14

and if he does not pick up:

Hi, this is Abbot, and I'm not here....

g) I assume the transfer function works, because I'd hear about it otherwise..

h) I've had some complaints that the Message Waiting lamp does not come on until hours after the message was left.

i) There have been some griping from callers that the VM cut them off, and sometimes it's done that more than once.

h) & i) may cause us to replace it in the mid-term future.

Reply to
David Lesher

A Lucent Partner system could be setup to do just that. An ACS 308 (3 lines - 8 extensions) processor (all in one unit - except for voicemail) could do just that if don't mind investing in a pcmcia voicemail card for it. The latest versions of the processor have more lines and more extensions in the unit.

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Etop Udoh
[Default] "lyle" said on that big USENET thingie:

Sounds like the TMC EV4500 phone system would be a perfect solution. We have the user manual available for free download at

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so you can check it out completely in advance.


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theauto-attendantthe others to the regular answering machine so when theauto attendantphone transfers it to other phones-each phone's

I would check out

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Very easy and very inexpensive and does most everything you're looking for.

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