My company currently has a fairly large number of Option 11s and a single Option 81 and we're looking at ways that we can migrate to VoIP for internal calls. We have some issues with Nortel's product that would do this for us and we've been researching other options.
Just a couple of days ago I heard that the Mitel 3300 could connect to our Nortel PBXs with a PRI/QSIG connection and act as a gateway to the IP network. Do any of you have any experience with that configuration? Is it something we should continue to investigate?
If we ever can cost-justify the expense, we're willing to rip out the Nortel stuff and completely replace it with Cisco, Avaya, Mitel, or whoever else can sell us a solid, reliable solution at a reasonable price. However, the best solution is to leverage (ugh...I hate that term) our existing PBX infrastructure (not to mention all the phones) and simply drop in another box to act as a gateway. That sort of solution would be much easier to sell to upper management. That would also give us a nice migration path should we decide to go IP to the desktop.
So, do any of you have any experience with this sort of application? If so, any thoughts/hints/tips/word-of-warning?
John, this is definitely do-able, but with a couple caveats. First of all, if you don't already have the Q.SIG option on your Nortel, be prepared to shell out what I've been told is something in excess of $20,000 for all that you'll need on the Nortel side. That's just for 1 machine. Yes, ridiculous, I agree.
By comparison, the Q.SIG option for the Mitel is around $1000~$1500 or perhaps a bit less. I don't recall exact pricing except that it's a darn site less than the Nortel. Secondly and perhaps more important is that the Nortel implementation of Q.SIG is very basic and last time we tried it found that it only passes callerid name & number. It will not do CFA/CFB/CFNA reason codes nor will it do Msg wtg set/clear, step-back on busy or route optimization. In other words, your voice mail system will be a bit hobbled. The Mitel -will- do all these quite elegantly, but of course the machine at the other end has to be compliant and sadly the Nortel isn't. Yes, Q.SIG is a "standard" but like every standard there are discreet components of it that are subject to interpretation and Nortel apparently has found it not in their best interests to do a full Q.SIG implementation.
But don't dispair. Keep your best phones but junk the switches. With a Mitel 3300 + their Citelink Gateway you can run Norstar and Meridian sets from the Mitel. How cool is that?
As far as a forklift upgrade is concerned, that can be really expensive, but of the three brands you listed the Mitel will be much less costly, especially when you calculate the value of being able to reuse the old Nortel sets.
Migrating to VOIP will also require some attention to ($$$) your present data network, regardless of whose VOIP system you choose. If you'd like to integrate voice and data together over one common network you'll need LAN hardware that can do VLAN tagging and support QOS (Quality Of Service) also known as 802.1p//802.1q. Many existing LANs of any age may not be capable and require replacement of Etherswitches and/or upgrades. That in itself could be an expensive piece. You can also do it with a separate network comprised of less expensive LAN hardware dedicated just for the voice side. Of course this requires duplicating a lot of your LAN infrastructure, duplicate cabling, etc.
Hope this helps. By the way, My email address above is correct, as written. If replying via email the brackets around the ip address are necessary.
Thanks for the tip! I don't know if we already have QSIG available or not. I'm on the data side of the house. I do know that we're running Succession 3.0 on most PBXs and 4.0 on a handful. Do you know if Nortel's bad QSIG implementation applies to those software releases, as well?
After doing a bit of research I found the following link:
That seems to indicate that Nortel's QSIG implementation was brought up to spec in Succession 3.0. Mitel offered to lend us two or three 3300s for testing and we will certainly take them up on their offer at some point.
In article "jneiberger@to spec in Succession 3.0. Mitel offered to lend us two or three 3300s
Says something about Mitel, doesn't it? If they're willing to loan you some equipment to try out, you can bet they have no qualms about it "measuring up" to expectations.
If you're at all familiar with national computer retailer CompUSA and happen to have one nearby, stop in and ask one of their IT folks how they like their new phone system. CompUSA put Mitel 3300s in all 230 of their stores and has then all networked together.
Are you referring to the implementation on Succession 3.0/4.0 or prior software releases? Supposedly, the more recent implementations are more complete. It also appears that QSIG comes standard beginning with Succession 3.0. Is that not the case?
I think you're right about that. They seem pretty confident that we'd like what we saw and they have no problem with putting a couple of them into our hands for a while. Cisco hasn't offered that option, although I have a great relationship with them and I know I could get them to do it if I wanted to do so.
I've been doing quite a bit of checking around and I haven't seen much from people who are unhappy with their Mitel gear.
In fact, I've spoken with a few different people with experience with multiple vendors, particularly Cisco, Mitel, and Avaya, and they all say that Mitel is their preferred vendor. One engineer (not a salesperson) even went so far to say that Mitel is a tier above Cisco, Avaya, and Nortel. Interesting comment. :) Along those same lines, they all say to run away from Avaya, so I'm already a bit biased against them and I know nothing about their solution yet. Oh, and we're in Denver.
In article "jneiberger@not. I'm on the data side of the house. I do know that we're running
It's not a "bad" implementation, merely incomplete and compliant only with callerID name & number. I'm really unsure, perhaps that's the only QSIG features Nortel chose to implement. For most applications callerID name & number would be sufficient, such as in trying to trunk between two dissimilar or competing brand PBXs in different locations.
On the other hand, in situations where you're trying to have a centralized voice mail system and/or centralized attendant, you would want complete transparency including the exchange of call forwarding reason codes and message waiting indicator flags without having to jerry-rig beehive lamps on top of all the non-compliant sets. Been there and done that.
If you've never had a prior need for QSIG, then you're likely to find the option isn't there. It's way too expensive for anyone to have purchased it without having an express need. By the way, that price I quoted was from the hip and I believe the number was also stated to us in Canadian dollars.
I have interfaced a couple of 3300's to Otion 61. In both cases the ISDN was attached to the Nortel. You have to make sure the Nortels are configured with all the QSig options. The main problems we had were due to the two systems differences in their QSig implementations. Its probably an arguement which most closely follows the specs. We ran into problems with calling line ID ( fixed with Nortel QSig patch ) call transfers ( fixed with Nortel PBX patch ). All that remains is a problem with releasing of the links when a call goes from 3300 to Nortel and is transfered/forwarded back to the 3300. QSig links should drop but don't. The other way the links drop fine ( Nortel-3300-Nortel ). Had many problems with Nortel dealers willingness to work to resolve. Required major arm twisting. Hope this helps.
Citelink can be a bit pricy, but your right the QSig addition to a 3300 is dirt cheap compared to what they will pay with the Nortel. QSig support is native in the 3300, just need an NSU and digitial link licences I think.
I also seem to think there are like 2 levels of QSig options on the Nortel, If you get both it is closer to standard QSig.
The last time I had to look into interfacing a Cisco to a Mitel, the Cisco didn't support QSig. That has probably changed. We did connect them via a PRI, which gave name number display but no feature transmission. Kind of a clunky way of doing it, but it worked.
"jneiberger@ I have a great relationship with them and I know I could get them to do
The 'arm-twisting' is unacceptable and only serves to demonstrate, very clearly, who you should -not- be dealing with. As you noted, Nortel is also unrealistically proud of their Q.SIG SW option and hardware, pricing it beyond reason. It's pretty clear, to me at least, that Nortel has little interest in supporting a fully-compliant implementation of Q.SIG and even less interest in marketing it.
I too have had difficulties trying unsuccessfully to run Q.SIG between our Mitels and an Option 61. Best we've been able to achieve is CID Name/Number 1-way and number-only the other way. Even that much was tedious and frustrating. And like you we also found the Nortel support less than enthusiastic and supportive. Not to intentionally cast aspersions as to who follows (or interprets) the spec more closely, but I don't mind telling everyone that we have successfully (all features) Q.SIG-networked the Mitel 3300 (Rls 5.2) and the Mitel SX2000 (LW 33.3) to a Cisco Call Manager system (rls 4) and to an Etrali Etradeal Turret system. **ALL** Q.SIG features work perfectly on and between all 4 platforms, including CID Name/Number, CFA/CFB/CFNA reason codes, MWI set/clear and route optimization/diversion.
It's exciting to see things work the way they're supposed to and disappointing when they don't. IMO Nortel needs to learn this dance and price it more in line with reality.