We’re moving office soon and went through an exercise at looking at a new telephone system to replace our Meridian system, mainly because we were interested in VOIP - both from a cost and new features point of view. I’d read the first couple of chapters of “Asterisk: the future of telephony” and really did agree with the opening paragraph:
An incredible revolution is under way. It has been a long time in coming, but nowthat it has started, there will be no stopping it. It is taking place in an area of technology that has lapsed embarrassingly far behind every other industry that calls itself high-tech. The industry is telecommunications, and the revolution is being fueled by an open source Private Branch eXchange (PBX) called Asterisk™.
I’ve evaluated several VOIP systems including the “just” VOIP like Avaya IP Office to the rather nice Sywx. In fact, we would have gone for the Swyx system except it’s just too expensive. Like the author of the above, we thought there was a revolution in the PBX market. But this hasn’t quite filtered down to the pricing yet Swyx is a professional system but it carries a high price tag. How niave we were to think that once telephony became “just” another server on the network, that the prices would reflect other server technologies like Exchange. The cost per license is ~£150 plus £170 for a decent handset.
So we’re sticking with our Meridian-1 for a while but I’d like to re-visit Asterisk as I get the impression we might be missing out on something good
Is there anyone on here who has experience of both Asterisk and Swyx? I kind of discounted Asterisk at the start as I’ve managed to avoid Linux for now - it just doesn’t fit in our business model. Not that I’m afraid, well not much. I’m a developer of 20 years so I’m not phased by programming scripts and configuration files etc.
Also, are there any “nice” handsets out there like the ones you find in the business PBX world? Ohh BTW - we’re a Citrix terminal server user so soft-phones are out apart from the occasional business traveller with their laptop.
The Polycom and Cisco phones are probably the nicest phones and will work fine with Asterisk. The Polycom phones are “certified” to work with asterisk. I am deploying a 75 seat install with Polycom 501’s and very happy with them especially the handsfree quality.
[quote=“swaterhouse”]The Polycom and Cisco phones are probably the nicest phones and will work fine with Asterisk. The Polycom phones are “certified” to work with asterisk. I am deploying a 75 seat install with Polycom 501’s and very happy with them especially the handsfree quality.
The Polycom’s do indeed look nice but £155 it just too much. The 301 actually looks more like the handsets we’d consider. But don’t think that’s available in the UK.
There’s going to be a lot more movement (downwards I hope) in the VOIP PBX market over the next two years.
They need to go further to be competitive. The core Swyx license should include CTI functionality with a cost of ~£80. Then it would be competitive. Current per user cost is ~£150 plus ~£150 for hand phone. I’d predict in 2 years, VOIP handsets will be well under £100 and the license cost will have dropped as well.
There are a couple of corrections that should be made here, and I speak with a reasonable amount of authority I believe.
The use of IP handsets be it Cisco, Siemens, Snom or any other of a hundred makes out there is a misleading standard. The real power comes with the Soft Client, Swyx It!, and with the launch of version 6 this now starts to loose its DCOM problems by moving to SIP. For those that want a pure SIP version of Swyx It, which by the way would make the perfect Asterisk Client try getting hold of SwyxIt Now! (good luck)
A soft phone does require a little user acceptance but it is our experience that over 70% of Swyx Phone users move to soft phones when using the product. There is NO cost for the soft client.
As for CTI, again this is not needed with the Swyx It!, only for those intent on running the Siemens range of IP Handsets.
Pricing, the launch of version 6 sees various additions and changes to the system, Starting with Swyx Compact a 10 user system with every thing running on server or XP pro. Swyx Essentials gives a very competative entry to larger systems leading to Swyx Pro which knocks every system I have ever used off the shelf.
Swyx is a comercial product, doing more than traditional TDM PBX’s for usually a cheaper price. It forfills a different market sector to the Open Source background of Asterisk. Dont get me wrong, Asterisk is a brilliant product, so is Star Office, unfortunately the world leans towards paying for MS Office.
As for technical support, previous postings have obviously not been to the right place. We have been supporting SWYX for 5 years, and distributing the product to both Voice and Data resellers. We have 100+ resellers with 2000+ installations and 100000+ users. This is a serious product, with full developement team and UK based support team.
If a rock bottom price is the only factor in deciding on a solution, Swyx is not for you. If quality, future proof design, leading reliable proven technology is, with major cost savings and reduced cost of ownership then Swyx is your product.
If you want windows intergration you got to have Swyx. We use Novel, Linux and Windows in our office and therefor are qulified to pass comment, they all have their strengths and they all have weaknesses… even Linux (sorry). However all our terminals run windows, the client side SDK, and server side scripting allows just about anything to be accomplished, if you have VB skills.
So in summary, Swyx is the best comercial windows IpPbx out there. Asterisk is the best Linux open source IpPbx available. What system do you want to work with ?
Hi Mark - did we chat a few months ago. IPTelecomms sounds familar.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depends upon your point of view) we run Citrix terminal services in the office which (at present) rules out the Soft Client. If Swyx soft client could somehow work with WYSE terminals etc. then that would be great. I realise though that we’re in the minority in running terminal services and have to accept some options are not available to us.
Hmm, even if we did have PCs and not terminals I think we’d have an uphill struggle getting initial acceptance of soft phones across the entire business. I agree that some people won’t have a problem with them but other’s would really struggle. It also adds another thing for laptop users to carry. Despite us having headsets available for the Meridian, only a handful of users are comfortable with them. I can’t understand it personally as I need two hands to type when on the phone. But there you go - you can’t impose your own standards on others.
The other annoyance (but these mount up) is walking over to a soft phone PC wanting to make a call and finding the screen is locked.
But given that widespread acceptance of soft phones across the business is a few years away, one has to look at hardphones which are over-priced (or niche market depends how you look at it) compared with other PC components. It is changing with things like the Dlink SIP business phones which are approximately half the price of the normal vendor phones.
I agree that CTI is optional if you’re looking to simply replace existing non-IP functionality with an IP hardphone. But that kind of defeats some of the advantages of IP and CTI.
No argument there - I heard about this 10 user system priced competively. But the fact that Swyx is looking at pricing suggests they are price sensitive, albiet at the bottom end of the market.
Swyx can of course do what they want in terms of pricing but they would have got the sale if they were 50% cheaper. They probably need a serious competitor. VOIPSpeed looks interesting but not there yet. Asterisk resellers selling bundled Asterisk systems are also going to compete. As a developer, I looking and ask myself “hmm, could my team write a competitor to Swyx” and the answer is “Yes”. Okay, a bit niave as I’m sure there are some really hairy bits like the ISDN interface and compression.
With soft phones then yes but with hard phones then no. I really did try to get the accountants to buy Swyx as I did say “the rather nice Swyx” at the start. Having evaluated it from a technical point of view, it was the best system in terms of neat technology.
If it was the best system (which I’m afraid ALWAYS includes price as a factor) then Swyx would be flying off the shelves. Our Swyx contact had trouble finding a reference site close to us in the North West.
I can’t comment on that as we never got to the needing support. On that subject, the maintenance contract we were quoted for with the Swyx didn’t seem right. Once again, we compare it to the amount we spend on support for other server components. It was 3x more than what we’d expect considering that we’d been told/sold that once set-up a Swyx system doesn’t require much support at all
Unfortunately, accountants get in the way and ask questions like “What extra functionality do we get for the extra £30k” and compared with non-IP systems or hybrids it was very difficult come up with a convincing arguement:
Us: It’s easier to support and more reliable (i.e. we understand Windows)
Them: But you’ve said the telephone system doesn’t need much support
Us: It’s neat technology
Them: So what - does it make it easier to make phone calls
Us: We can do SIP in the future and remote offices
Them: The telecoms companies will reduce prices to compete
Us: It’s more flexible with cabling
Them: Doubling the cables only adds £2k to our new office
etc. etc. you know the drill
And one face value, it is difficult to counter this. Future savings are darn difficult to justify I think it’s a short sighted decision though…
You had to laugh (or cry) when the said accountant said “How do I plug in my modem, PC and phone in my new office?”. To which we answered “You did make sure you arranged for more than two sockets in your office when you decided to go non-VOIP?”… Wireless networking has saved his bacon but there in lies a tale
Which is of course why I’m interested in Asterisk to bring the topic back on course.
Mark, im sorry, no offense: But your posting is full of false advertising, false assumptions and commercial advertising spirit:
I am working since 27 yrs. in this business and my jaw dropped when i saw the stuff you posted.
Swyxx is way off in pricing. Dont come with a “compact 10 user” setup, the topics here are moving partly into the 600-seat callcenter region: And newsflash: You can ALSO! use EVERY free softclient with asterisk too. This is no “strength” of Swyxx !
So please stay real if you compare prices:
Gimme a price with all needed modules for a 50-seat callcenter and then see the Zero (in Numbers: 0.00000) for the same serversoftware on the asterisk side: You have NO room to talk about pricing man…
And to get you back into the reality:
The standard office is NOT accepting softphones, the still want/demand hardphones.
You might want to refresh your information with current surveys.
This is the digium board, the Asterisk board, visited by people who DID already choose Asterisk.
Plain silly to come here start trying to advertise is product not remotly as powerfull as Asterisk.
How can i say that ? Oh…easy: Ive tried Swyxx and it was missing so very many needed things making it unusable (V5…, Groupfunction, callgroups, off-duty times alternate routings etc)
Not a smart move to come into the Digium/Asterisk forum trying to preach the new (Swyxx)-Order…
And rightly so and I guess having started this thread asking for direct comparisons might stir up a bit of a heated debate.
But then again it’s valid to start a discussion about the two systems. And yes, Swyx is too expensive but a reasonably competent system. I don’t know enough about Asterisk to say what features are missing,