Avaya IP Office 500

Avaya IP Office 500

Summary: While being a leader in most areas of IP telephony, Avaya have previously been lacking in support for the smaller end of the market. That's set to change, however, thanks to the introduction of the new Avaya IP Office, a VoIP solution which caters from as little as two users right through to 360 users per server.

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TOPICS: Unified Comms
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While being a leader in most areas of IP telephony, Avaya have previously been lacking in support for the smaller end of the market. That's set to change, however, thanks to the introduction of the new Avaya IP Office, a VoIP solution which caters from as little as two users right through to 360 users per server.

How We Tested
An Avaya representative delivered and setup the IP Office system for us with a selection of modules and six Avaya phones -- three IP-based and three digital handsets. We were also supplied with accompanying software for evaluation which included Voicemail Pro, Voicemail Pro Client, SoftConsole, Phone Manager and IP Office Manager.

What's inside
Avaya IP Office is a broad term used to describe the phone system consisting of a server and operating system. The supplied server was the IP Office 500, which is a self contained 2RU (rack unit) appliance. The operating system provided was IP Office Release 4.0.

IP Office 500 has four bays on the front of the unit, and each bay can accept two modules (for a total of eight different modules at any one time). The main module slots directly into the unit but a secondary card sits above the main card -- referred to by Avaya as the modules' "mezzanine" (see related photo). The main benefit of this is the ability to mix and match modules as you need them to suit your environment such as ISDN, standard telephone lines, ATM modules for dedicated data connections between sites and lastly, dedicated ports for connecting Avaya digital phones.

Setting up IP Office is quite straight forward if you are familiar with VoIP configurations. IP Office Manager is a software client supplied to configure all aspects of the server and its interface is reminiscent of Microsoft Outlook, with windows and menus laid out in a very logical and easy to use manner. Main headings are on the left and as you dig deeper into the menus the next window is displayed on the right-hand side, with more detailed information and settings.

IP Office's main strength is its scalability. You can start off with one server plus one or two modules and as the business grows add more modules and expansion units to cope with physical connections. You can have up to 15 servers in a group to take full advantage of IP Office's multi-server integration where you can automatically manage all devices through just one server. This 15 server group is not a hard limit however, as you can still add additional servers, but will need to administer them as a separate group with separate users. Different groups of servers and phones can still seamlessly communicate with each other using IP telephony protocols.

We were disappointed by the fact that IP Office doesn't currently support SIP phones or SoftPhones. It supports SIP trunking to a provider but that's where the SIP compatibility ends.

However we were impressed with the suite of software available to IP Office users, the three main ones being VoiceMail Pro, Phone Manager and SoftConsole. VoiceMail Pro runs on a standalone PC and adds additional features to the existing Voicemail present on IP Office 500. Apart from expanding voicemail storage to the PC hard disk, VoiceMail Pro opens up a great deal of phone automation for small businesses by connecting Auto Attendant scripting with an SQL database. Through simple flowchart scripting and access to the database, any business can create an automated customer dial-in system for competitions or an automated ordering system where customers punch in their customer number, password and order requests over the phone. The possibilities are endless.

The last two programs are installed on a PC for end-users (for example, receptionists and administration areas). Phone Manager compliments a physical phone by giving you direct access to features and parked calls as well as giving you group user information, instant messaging and an address book, to name a few. Through additional licensing, it also has softphone capability so you can make and receive calls on the road if you have private network access.

SoftConsole is specifically tailored for receptionists. It is similar to Phone Manager but geared for handling more calls and provides greater information on the status of the phone system, such as checking phone queues and which users are available.

Verdict
Overall, we were impressed with Avaya's new IP Office -- It is completely modular, the pricing is on the ball (cheaper than ShoreTel's ShoreGear-120) and it scales extremely well. The IP Office 500 server will set you back US$700 (AU$840) which includes the basic operating system and modules and phones start at US$250 (AU$300) each. This system is perfect for any small business looking for enterprise-grade functionality without having to fork out big business dollars.

Rating 4 out of 5
Interoperability 3 out of 5
Cannot use SIP phones or Softphones but can use SIP for trunking to a SIP provider for external lines.
Futureproofing 4.5 out of 5
While there may be some minor restrictions, it will not have any problems growing with the business in a cost effective manner.
ROI 4 out of 5
Outstanding scalability, pricing is modular just like the device itself and the support is good too.
Service 4 out of 5
3 Year back to base warranty. Online help and knowledgebase is available and additional support options is dependant on offers from selected Avaya partner.

Prices

There are currently no prices available for this product.

Topic: Unified Comms

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8 comments
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  • One of your con's is a perceived lack of softphone support. However as you mentioned the system comes with Phone Manger which can be upgraded to full softphone support.
    anonymous
  • Have successfully attached SJphone to an IP 500 using H.323 protocol.
    Suspect other softphones capable of H.323 would also work.

    anonymous
  • The Avaya softphone solution is garbage. In 9 months it has never worked correctly. So for our remote agents, we are forwarding their extensions to Skype, which oddly enough has performed marvelously.

    Additionally, Avaya has no interest in providing customer or technical support for their product. If you are looking for a system that can support remote users, do not consider Avaya IP Office as a solution.

    A year and $25,000 later we are seeking a new solution.
    anonymous
  • Have had the IP500 for over a year and a half, minor glitches here and there. Did a complete digital system, no IP phones as it was more cost effective. Two buildings setup for over 40 users, including 8 fax lines. Many features I have not had time to mess with, but overall a great system for the price, our system has had less errors than a $100,000 cisco system of the same size installed by our corporate office, and they are just in one building.
    anonymous
  • I own a small Avaya shop in Baltimore, Maryland (www.myteltek.com) and we have installed over 100 Avaya IP Office Systems for our clients. I can tell you that a lot of the negative reviews on here are not due to the product but bust likely the installation and configuration of the system. While the system does have some minor flaws please know that it is not an "out of the box" solution and requires professional installation from a company that is not only extremity knowledgeable of the product but also of computer networking.

    Additionally, this system requires the end-user to dedicate some time preplanning and working with the installation technician. Finally, finding a company that is customer service oriented and does not consider the system installation complete until it is all of the %u201Ccorks%u201D of the system are worked out is a must%u2026check references and look for Avaya Certified Business Partners in your area (easily found on www.avaya.com).
    anonymous
  • price of ip 500

    what was the price like. we are procuring for 25 agents with 2 isdn trunks
    anonymous
    • The cost of IP Office has come down significantly with the release of the V2 processor and the combination cards (Avaya PN: 700476013) that are now available. List price for the combo cards is roughly $575/ea USD and they enable 6 digital phones, 2 analog phones, 4 analog trunks, and 10 Voice Compression Licenses (VCM’s) for IP Phones. Additionally with the IP Office V2 the essentials voicemail is now included for free when adding the system SD licensing card (Avaya PN: 700479728, approximate list price $75 USD). Considering that the IP Office V2 base processor (Avaya PN: 700476005) unit is roughly $650 USD with power cord you can have a fully functioning hybrid (digital/analog/VoIP) system with 8 lines, 12 phones and voicemail for right around $1875 USD plus the cost of phones/installation. This is for the base level system/software but can be used as a starting point. We tell our clients to estimate $600-1200 USD per phone depending on their particular application and installation costs.
      There are other modules now available enabling the IP Office to support legacy Avaya Partner ACS and Nortel/Norstar phones as well. This allows one to migrate their existing telephones forward when upgrading to Avaya IP Office. Additionally, Avaya usually has a trade in-trade up promotion which will buy back your existing phones system and apply the credit to the purchase of your new Avaya system – check with a local Certified Avaya Business Partner for more details.
      Chris Nicoli
  • I am using server 2008 small business ...in that i am trying to install greeting tone but it is not possible if i want greeting tone is it asking windows xp .....

    can you tell me ....
    maqsood mohammed