Small Multi-Site Voice Network

Greetings All,

We have at present, three office sites with on average, 10 people at each location. Two of these locations are within a few miles of each other, the third is separated from the first two by a distance of 800 miles or so. We also have a few teleworkers scattered about. We have a half-dozen or so POTS lines coming in to each location as well as broadband Internet service at each location, either cable or DSL.

We curently use a mix of small key systems, a 3Com NBX (pseudo VOIP) and individual POTS lines. We use an outsourced service provider (VirtualPBX) to host our public telephone numbers which are then routed to the various locations by the VirtualPBX auto-attendant.

This arrangement is marginally acceptable at present, but we are seeking a better solution.

Our users have several issues with the current solution:

  1. There is no Caller-ID display on the telephone sets, only the verbal Caller-ID announced by VPBX. Numerous other features one would expect to have on say a Norstar MICS type system with a PRI between sites are missing such as conferencing, call parking, etc VPBX does provide some of these services such as conferencing, but not all our users have their own VPBX virtual extension.

  1. The VPBX fees are rather expensive.

  2. There are significant delays when calls are answered and/or transferred by the VPBX.

  1. We have done some VOIP over the broadband Internet connections with the 3Com NBX, but the call quality was/is poor, likely because we have no way to control QOS.

  2. We pay a per-minute fee to VPBX for all calls, even calls coming in to our local numbers.

I'm not looking for implementation-specific handholding, but I'm curious what technologies other folks are using in similar situations?

I'm currently leaning toward an all-Cisco VOIP system with a MPLS VPN between the sites for both data and voice traffic, but that's quite an investment to make without knowing for sure that it will give the results we expect.

We're also willing to consider an open-source product such as Asterisk, but the same QOS issues would apply. We'd still need the MPLS VPN, but would save some money on equipment.

In addition to the above, would anyone care to comment on the success (or lack thereof) of using simple Internet VPN for handling VOIP calls? We could manage QOS to our network edge, thus preventing a big download from monopolizing our bandwidth, but once the traffic leaves our network, what kind of call quality could we expect then?

Thanks in advance to those who read and respond.


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Hi John,

I do recommend more focused and dedicated VoIP guys rather than going to giant networking company like Cisco!

Quintum is one the few who can solve your problem while offering cost effective solution.

Please do check their web site :

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and figure out their products and solutions.

Also, I would highly recomend doing your VoIP links over VPN tunnel for better QoS.

You can get VPN hardware from people like

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I have tested both and they are very stable and cost effective.

Good luck!


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