Multi-Tech MultiVOIP MVP210

  • Editors' rating
    7.8 Very good

Pros

  • Support for legacy PBX and Key Telephone Systems
  • automatic PSTN failover
  • H.323/SIP compatibility
  • good range of codecs

Cons

  • Phone book configuration is far from intuitive

The MultiVOIP family of Voice over IP gateways is designed specifically to work with existing PBX and fax installations, with transparent operation and automatic failover to the PSTN being two of the key features. Moreover, the same functionality is available across the complete range from the 2-port analogue MVP210 we tested right to the 60-line digital implementation for use with large enterprise PBX systems.

Clearly aimed at the smaller business and for use in branch offices, the MVP210 is a compact and very robust desktop unit that takes its power from an external AC adapter. All of the connectors are at the back with, in addition to a 10/100Mbps Ethernet port, four RJ-11 sockets for handset and telephone line connectivity. Two of these are programmable FXO/FXS ports with legacy 4-wire E&M (Ear and Mouth) connectors alongside for backwards compatibility to older Key Telephone and PBX systems.

We used the FXS/FXO ports for our tests, connecting one MVP210 to the switchboard in the lab and attaching analogue handsets to a second MultiVOIP gateway at our remote test site. This is the preferred setup with, in addition to H.323 and SIP signalling protocols, support for Multi-Tech’s own Single Port Protocol (SPP) when deployed this way, making it easier to accommodate firewalls and dynamic IP addressing.

For setup you have a choice of either a custom Windows utility and a local serial connection, or a remote browser-based configuration. The interface and experience are much the same either way, with SNMP support also included together with a custom utility for centralised monitoring and management.

A certain amount of familiarity with PBX systems is required to configure MultiVOIP gateways, especially when it comes to the phonebooks used to process the numbers dialled and direct calls accordingly. Inbound and outbound phonebooks need to be configured at each end with rules to, for example, add or remove dialling prefixes and route VoIP calls over the IP network rather than the PSTN.

Some time experimenting with settings is required to get to grips with what’s required, but it didn’t take too long to link our PBX to its remote users and both make and receive calls successfully. Call quality was very good in each case, with the added benefit that users didn’t need to add anything extra to the numbers they dialled to make use of the VoIP facilities.

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It’s worth noting too that Multi-Tech gateways are also available through Avaya to extend the call features of a centralised Avaya Communication Manager system and provide local office survivability.

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