Shoretel VOIP vs Digium vs DIY

The Spyder

Jun 18, 2002
Edit: It's Monday, I need sleep, haha. I combined the following info I found in to a useful thread (hopefully). We seem to have one of these threads every few months.

I need to buy/build a 40~ phone PBX for my offices. We have one remote site and very few requirements.

PBX: I want to either run a standard paid system or go freeware.

Paid options:
Trixbox Pro
3CX-Windows Paid

Asterisk- Runs off Ubuntu/Cent OS, CLI
Trixbox- Stripped down install, CLI and Web
PBX in a Flash-WebGUI
3CX- Free Windows Based

Yealink- T22p/T28p/T38G Very low cost, suprisingly decent quality
Aastra 67xx series- Good quality
Polycom Soundpoint-Great feel, solid phones
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I like sipXecs. I also like VoIP for as much of the call transport as possible- much easier to deal with. Echo and poor call quality are things of the past with a decent Internet connection and recent hardware endpoints.
Go Shoretel Or Go Home.. LOL

By the way as of late I've been working with Mitel... It's growing on me
IMO, alot comes down to the way you run your shop, experience, and tolerance of hassle. Being able to call a vendor and say 'fix it' is pretty darn handy on some days. Knowing your system inside and out well enough to bend it to your will is nice as well.
What OS are you most comfortable with? If you have little experience with Linux, 3CXpro is your main choice- for 3CXfree, you might as well just stay with cloud-hosted voip.
For the 'freebies', knowledge of linux is a must, and lots of time to comb through documentation. Most major PBX distributions have pro paid support available if you run into trouble.
As I said before, I like sipXecs for a number of reasons- it is much more intuitive to me, easy to administer, and will not affect call quality. The ISO distribution is based on CentOS with files available to roll your own Fedora or Cent install.
For phones I can't recommend Polycom enough- they fit the budget, good features, easy to provision/administer (multiple provision options) and incredible performance. The SP IP 335 is my go-to desk phone and the new vvx550 is great for managers/workgroup reception/wow factor.
Polycom is also either virtually or completely 100% sip compliant- no lock-in to get certain features. If it is supported in sip, it's supported on Polycom- great investment in the future and flexibility.
My experience comes from Small Office/Small Business (less than 50 users), so obviously that will skew my opinions. If you are considering working with a vendor, my suggestion is to start that relationship as soon as possible- test the waters. If you are considering going it alone, I suggest the solution that you feel most comfortable with- probably the most active community and support options.
We're looking into sipXecs as well. We're in the call recording business. Our goal is to setup this PBX and record it. Eventually sell an all in one package, PBX and recording solution all in one.

Havent gotten around to this. We can record passive voip via port spans fairly easily. Its still unclear at this point what kind of call info our software is able to pick up in this manner without some sort of integration into the pbx like we do with Cisco and Avaya.
I stay away from Shortel, expensive and not very easy to program, in fact they make no sense to me lol.

Trixbox is ok but every now and then funky things happen, not other way to explain it, just strange crap randomly happens lol.

3cx I now run at home and I have had zero problems with it, I use it with trunk and quality has been great. I have not used any advanced features but its pretty good so far.

Have a client with Digium, their support is HORRID I advise you stay away.
Echo on Digium's support. HORRID is being a bit nice. Polycom makes great phones (phenomenal speakerphone), as does Yealink. Aastra does as well, but their best fucnctionality is in their XML scripts in conjunction with an asterisk-based system.

Going back to the OP, the only paid solutions mentioned that I've seen work reliably and well are Shoretel and Avaya. 3CX paid is mostly there, but the 3 installs that I've seen all had weird random issues.

That being said, on the FOSS side of thing, Trixbox/FreePBX/PBX in a Flash are all basically customized distros of CentOS with Asterisk in varying flavors (depending on the version of each that you download) with either the authentic FreePBX WebGUI or a fork of it laid on top. Stability of these is almost entirely based on the hardware. My personal favorite due to stability, openness, and community is PBX in a Flash. Setup properly on good hardware, or virtualized as my personal home box is, it's bulletproof.

How are you planning on interfacing phone lines? SIP Trunks? PRI? Raw POTS lines?

I think the key to your scenario, is how much time you have to implement. Reading some of your other posts in the past, it almost seems like you are running with your hair on fire from one project to the next. How much time can you/do you want to spend in the learning and designing phase even before you get anywhere near implementation? Not trying to dissuade you of anything, but there is a bit of a learning and support curve with a FOSS solution. However, the customizability and integration potential is much greater as well.
3CX for the largest number of wins.

It also has a WebGUI that is now Chrome friendly. As well as the 3CX MyPhone, which is pimp. Oh and their own brand SIP Soft Phone (which actually should work with any SIP server)
I have done more than one setup using Digium Switchvox and Polycom Phones.
Super easy to setup and manage. That's my vote.
A lot of the places I manage are more about operating in a special environment over low management overhead. Which is why I usually do asterisk.

Switchvox is nice, don't get me wrong ( and the digium phones are decent and well integrated ), but it's too locked down for the work I do.
Anyone looked at Cudatel? It's based on freeswitch which was started by a developer that didn't like the asterisk development at the time (years ago) and started his own project. Barracuda hired the guy and made a product around the software.