Small Office VoIP Setup

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by haxxorboi, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. haxxorboi

    haxxorboi Limp Gawd

    Aug 21, 2007
    Hey all,

    So my office is going from digital phones to VoIP due to some changes in our ISP subscription. We've gotten quotes from two companies, both in the $20k+ range for a 17-line system. I recognize there are cheaper ways to do this, but that's not my instructions here. My instructions are merely to evaluate if it is possible and/or cheaper to install the same components ourselves (ignoring whether or not the third-party will support if we do that).

    We've currently got a Linksys EA4500 (or something like that) and a 24-port 10/100 switch feeding the data network. The digital phones are wired on a separate block with RJ11. The plan would be to do an Avaya IP Office setup (IP500 v2 controller with a combo card) and a 24-port POE gig switch to run data and voice.

    What I'm less certain about, having not set up a VoIP system before, is the layout of the cabling. Please let me know if I'm thinking of this right

    ISP -> Modem -> Router -> VoIP -> Switch -> POE phones
    That would put the router to be the DHCP server and then the VoIP into the switch

    ISP -> Modem -> Router -> Switch -> VoIP ||| Switch -> POE phones
    This would go from the Router to the Switch, just in case there's some weird routing that would occur in the VoIP controller that might make the switch angry

    I'm really not sure if either of these options really make a difference, but I figured I'd check. Both sales guys spec'd out layer-3 POE gig switches (one Avaya, the other an HP ProCurve) and said the systems needed to use VLANs. I suppose this might be true, but then again they could just be BS'ing me where a typical unmanaged layer-2 might work fine just fine for VoIP. Again, hoping someone can steer me in the right direction.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. dave99

    dave99 2[H]4U

    Jan 20, 2011
    Doubtful the 3rd party is going to support virtually anything if you try to end run around some of the equipment in the proposal and cut his fees. He'll blame every problem on your part of the process.

    So it boils down to either go fully supported, or roll your own with asterisk/freeswitch/cisco/lync/hosted ip pbx.
  3. goodcooper

    goodcooper [H]ardForum Junkie

    Nov 4, 2005
    or cut it somewhere down the middle and get a freepbx from somebody like shmoozecom...

    of course i'd do it myself, but i got years of experience running many servers with hundreds of endpoints...

    if it were me, and i had no experience, i'd be calling shmoozecom.... probably save 10 grand or more, and have a fully supported system...

    as far as your "wiring" uhhh, it's whatever you want to do... you PROBABLY don't need VLANs for 17 end points, but that also depends on what your typical traffic is on your data network... it's certainly best practice, and if i were you i would do it

    that said, any poe managed switch will do, for running everything...

    you will need to ensure your current phone cabling (if you were planning on using it) can be re-punched down to a 110 patch panel, and the other ends to RJ45s... also of course make sure it carries the spec for network, and there aren't pairs being split at jacks or weird phone things like that
  4. haxxorboi

    haxxorboi Limp Gawd

    Aug 21, 2007
    I get that support is an issue, but I was specifically told to disregard that for now (yes, I realize the absurdity of that request). I'm more looking at the technical aspects. E.g., is a layer-3 switch really necessary, is there a preferred topology from ISP to phones, etc.

    I already pitched that it's probably easier to roll-our-own, but that wasn't really met with enthusiasm.
  5. goodcooper

    goodcooper [H]ardForum Junkie

    Nov 4, 2005
    but switches are such a small part of the equation...

    i mean this is just networking stuff, but they have what i call "unmanaged+" switches... they call them smart switches, that will do VLANs for you...

    obviously PoE is needed if you want to power the phones via the switch, which i usually recommend, just so i can slap the whole thing on a UPS so they can use the phones if the power goes out

    other than that, it all depends on what you want to do with routing... does it need to even have access to the internet? are you using separate cable runs for data/phone? if so, you could even just put a switch out there and hook the phones and the PBX to it and completely isolate your VOIP traffic...

    what router do you have? does it support vlans or have multiple interfaces available to do the routing you need? then you probably don't need layer 3 switching...

    when you say "ISP to phones" that all depends on your topology... are you wanting to use an ITSP for your phone lines? or are you adapting copper into your phone system....

    if the former, obviously your PBX needs an internet connection, if the latter, you could keep it completely isolated... of course if it were me i wouldn't do that, but... you could (i would at least have a 2nd nic in there on your data network for management)
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  6. diizzy

    diizzy 2[H]4U

    Nov 6, 2008
    Given the scenario I would do this...

    * Get an additional Internet connection for the VoIP (if availability is important) and use both with failover.
    * Replace the dumb switch with a Zyxel GS1910 (or better), HP 1910 (or better) as you want to be able to do some diagnostics and use VLANs.
    * Use a hosted PBX solution (Centrex)
    * Get phones that supports provisioning by the VoIP provider (Gigaset etc), put these on a separate VLAN. I would advice you to not go the PoE route in this case but instead use external PSUs.
    * Use a separate router for the VoIP network, if you use the same ISP just get another IP adress. Make sure to utilize QoS if you use the same connection for both data and VoIP. I've had several good experiences with TL-WDR3600 and OpenWRT with quite a few users so its a solid choice if you don't need anything fancy.
  7. Nate7311

    Nate7311 2[H]4U

    Jan 11, 2001
    All good questions raised for the OP. To follow up what goodcooper said, this scenario really depends on what the ultimate goal is: saving on a new system or nitpicking a quote. As others have mentioned, it's HIGHLY unlikey that any 3rd party would support/guarantee a self-install on proprietary gear (Avaya IP Office). $20k+ for 17 extensions is a bit high. Get competing quotes and/or look as different technologies before agreeing to that. I've done 25 Extension 3CX systems for $10k, installed.
  8. XOR != OR

    XOR != OR [H]ardForum Junkie

    Jun 17, 2003
    I'm late to the party and you already have some other good suggestions, but here you go;

    I'd want to do a full traffic evaluation on your network, but you usually don't need to worry about vlans for 17 lines. If you are looking at taking an active roll in managing this yourself and you aren't comfortable with vlans, then I'd recommend against them ( assuming, of course, your network doesn't have special bandwidth requirements ).

    You can go either way, but I'm a fan of KISS; so I'd go with your first diagram.

    As to your overall question; it's hard to say. You can't really disregard support when looking at the costs. I will say 20k is a *lot* for 17 lines. You could probably do it for ~6-8k if you rolled your own ( less if you already have virtual infrastructure you can utilize ). Of course, you said that's not what they're after and your suggestion was met with a marked lack of enthusiasm...but I always have to point these things out because not only is it far cheaper, it's easier to support ( you can get official support too! ) AND more featureful.
  9. Master_Pain

    Master_Pain Weinstein is my God, and always Right

    Apr 13, 2007
    Check out Ring Central, that's what we use. Their monthly rates aren't too bad. Not sure what the initial setup costs are besides $200/phone and soft phones with no external line are free. Their service is pretty damn good, and you can manage basicly everything through your web portal.