How Many Calls Can Your PBX & Hardware Handle?

It seems like software PBX vendors are very "coy" about saying what hardware is required for what call volume. A lot of equivacating, etc. What most people want is just an idea: What are people doing out there? In this blog post I'll give what some brave vendors are giving as examples.

Brekeke PBX (Windows/Linux)
Brekeke has a Windows based PBX product and they have a nice chart in their electronic user manual at . I've been hearing good things about these folks and just noticed this very nice chart as I was perusing their product. Below is a screenshot of the page:

Yeastar BizPBX (Windows/Linux)
At this page Yeastar say that:
Intel Core Duo & 2G RAM for 64 Simultaneous calls & 4 Skype trunks; Windows XP Professional SP2 or Windows 2003 SP2.
This one is a bit unusual as they throw in 4 Skype trunks. But one thing it shows: Skype trunks are "expensive" performance wise!

snom ONE Windows Phone System (Linux/Mac/Windows)
snom ONE is a B2BUA system so all traffic flows through the PBX. snom suggest 150 extensions as a good system size for todays servers using snom ONE. But on their forum they note that many more extensions can be registered (1500 extension system in production) as this takes very little CPU--the key is simultaneous calls. In this post it is noted the 250 extensions and 50 simultaneous calls should not be a problem on todays servers.

3CX Phone System
In a blog post in 2010, 3CX did some benchmarking on a Intel Atom processor and concluded that they will handle roughly 20-30 calls well. You can read the whole article here:

If you have more SIP PBX server sizing resources, I'd be glad to hear from you!

Missing 3CX Feature List Looks Like snom ONE Current Feature List?

[Fair Disclosure: I have contributed thousands of posts to the 3CX forums, our company, Landis Computer, was the first 3CX Premium Partner in the world and I have co-written a book on 3CX . Currently we do Windows communication solutions consulting on the products snom ONE, 3CX and Microsoft's Lync Server 2010. Note that we are currently a snom reseller and recommend snom ONE for our clients, but I will try to give both sides.]

[Note: I made some serious mistakes on the blog post! Actually some features I though were not in snom ONE ACTUALLY ARE! They are listed in read. Soo, even less more missing 3CX features snom ONE has!]

I was reading over the 3CX suggestion list today and was thinking...
hmm...the missing 3CX phone system feature list looks surprisingly close to the current snom ONE phone system feature list! ;-) I'm astonished.

Comparison of Some of the Missing Features:

A yes indicates that snom ONE has implemented this feature already. This was done quickly so if there is an error please let me know and I'll correct. (Note that snom ONE missing feature list is below also.)

Automatically Set a different attendent message for Holidays = Yes
Ability to Disable Voip trunks = Yes
Busy Tone Instead of License Message = Yes
Extension can be part of multiple groups = Yes? (outbound calling groups handled smoothly)
Music on Hold Live Stream Ability = Yes
Active Directory Integration = No (snom ONE does not integrate to AD. It also does not import AD like 3CX does)
Server Health Page = Yes
Bank Holidays = Yes, Partially. (snom ONE does not do 1st monday, but does do date range and one off's.)
Bulk Extension Import/Export = Yes
Ring Back for Call Parking = Yes
Seperate Greeting for each presence mode = Yes, partially. (snom ONE has 5 voicemail greetings set via voicemail menu )
Ability to Change Trunk Names = Yes
Increment Next Extension Number = No
Copy Settings Among Users = Yes, BLF assignment is much easier to manage. No copying required.
Chat History/Logging of chats = No
Ringgroup Mailbox = Yes
Different Operator for each extension group = snom ONE can do multitenant which accomplishes this and more.
Average Wait time announcement in queues = No, position but not wait time.
Multiple break in announcements in queues = Yes, 10 messages and music on hold is automixed too!
Softphone syncs Outlook Contacts = The Personal Call Assistant Imports Outlook contacts, but not syncs
Import/Export Rules = snom ONE domains can be sent to a different snom ONE install.
Global Change to a specifc field in extension = No, but some fields in snom ONE can be cleared/changed globally: clear cellnumber, reset DND status, clear emailaddress, etc.
Recorded Call available from User Portal = Yes
Extensions Grouped into "Call Pickup" Groups = Yes
Improve System Logging Features = Yes, Excellent logging

Monitor Max Number of Trunk Lines in Simultaneous Use = Yes, a live graph
Granular Control of User Portal = Yes (SysAdmin | Settings | User Page Control)
Live Queue Call Statistics Monitoring = Yes
First Time Voicemail Setup Prompt = Yes
Indication of what codec is in use = You can press ? on snom phone during call to see codec in use.
Confirmation on restart all = Yes (not needed because there is 1 service and it is rarely restarted)
Display Caller ID from PBX PhoneBook = Yes
Send Fax Plugin = No
More options when leaving a voicemail = Yes
SNMP Interface for Monitoring = Yes
Ability to change other users status/presence = No
Clear Log File Should Clear Log File = Yes
Hierchical Structure for Extensions Groups = Yes (each user can see the extensions they need to on Operator panel)
Queue Missed Calls Should not show on phone = ?
Anti-Hacking Features = Yes (list of addresses, email to admin, etc)
Record Prompts using Handset for Digital Receptionist and Call Queue "Extensions" = Yes
Record Digital Receptionist Prompt from Handset = Yes

I stopped after first two pages.

More Items:
Allow Extensions to be grouped into Call Pickup Groups: Yes
Music on Hold Volume: Yes, via the MOH server. Also built in MOH is right volume.

Some Area 3CX Phone System Excels:
-Great Call Assistant (software call assistant)
-Great reach products: iPhone app, Android App, Softphone
-Easy gateway provisioning
-Wider handset support

With the free edition of snom ONE you get all  those features above (and lots more:call recording, call center features...) for 10 extensions and no call limitation. snom ONE free is made to work with snom's free softphone or snom deskphones and limited non snom devices. (2) If you don't like snom deskphones then snom ONE is not for you.

3CX Missing Features:
snom ONE Feature List:
snom ONE Missing Features:

Linking Windows PBX and Lync Server: Death Clutch or Bridge to Future?

It seems the requests to integrate 3CX and Lync just won't stop even though 3CX has made it clear this is not going to be a "match made in heaven" if they have anything to say about it. 3CX's CEO, Nick Galea, has made a perfectly astute and accurate assesment that the 3CX phone system is on a direct collision course with Lync Server.

Although not the first to do it, 3CX has been the most effective at getting the message out that your PBX can and will eventually run on a Windows Server. My opinion is that 3CX's marketing engine is sheer genius in how it has pushed out this message until Microsoft has picked it up themselves. In what is surely a bittersweet move for 3CX, Microsoft will most likely be the unknowing benefactor of this momentum.

Windows-based Sofware PBX's Are Vulnerable to Lync
My observation is that in the SMB space Lync Server is becoming a steam roller that is heading directly for PBX's everywhere. No one is in more direct path of Lync than Windows PBX': 3CX, pbxnsip, snom ONE and others. And among that group 3CX seems especially vulnerable.

Why Is 3CX Vulnerable to the Lync "Steam Roller"?
3CX is especially vulnerable for several reasons. Because it has been designed exclusively for Windows it is not well suited to porting to other platforms like Linux, MAC or embedded devices, one possible escape avenue. (snom ONE for example has a Linux and Mac following) 3CX also has the handicap of being a relative software PBX newcomer:  needing to fight stability issues evidenced by frequent updates, lack of some PBX features, and a large but less experienced VAR channel. One last thing is that 3CX is not well suited to hosted senarios because of a lack of multi-tenant capabilities. (One of the key reasons Microsoft buried its own SMB PBX WindowsXP Embedded based-product, Response Point, was because it was not designed to do hosting well)

Where Can Windows PBX Vendors Shine?
In my opinion it is only a matter of time until Microsoft makes Lync Server as easy to install as its famed Small Business Server. From OCS 2007 R2 to Lync 2010, the product has become exponentially simpler to implement. In the mean time what do Windows PBX's need to do to stay relevant? And extend their time in the sun?

Low Infrastructure Requirements:  snom ONE has done especially excellent on this one. The snom ONE pbx application is only about 16MB in size meaning it can run on about anything including small embedded devices. With snom ONE there are also almost zero O/S requirements. 3CX has also done excellent in this area although they have more operating system prerequisites.

Ease of use: This is an area that 3CX has given huge amount attention and they have been rewarded handsomely for it. 3CX has made sure that the uninitiated "IT guy" can get a simple 3CX system up and running. The first thing that comes to mind is the wizards to setup PSTN/PRI gateways which otherwise can be the most trouble prone part of a software PBX setup. (next only to firewall traversal)

Efficiant & No-Fiddle Ongoing Administration:

Competetive Cost: 3CX has traditionally been the "low price" vendor among commercial Windows PBX vendors out of nessesity as a newcomer with less mature product and less features. But recently with snom's aquisition of pbxnsip a new dynamic among Window's PBX's: snom is not dependent on profits from the software PBX alone and can "subsidize" its quite mature product, snom ONE, with deskphone sales. But in any case Windows PBX vendors are less investment than Lync server both infrasture and licensing wise.

Do Core PBX Features Well: On this one snom ONE hits a home run. It has spent years adding core pbx features to its solution and has pretty well nailed most features users coming from legacy pbx's want.

Basic UC stuff like Instant Messaaging & Presence: Lync does IM, desktop sharing, video conferencing and integration to CRM/Sharepoint/Outlook in such a smooth and natural way this is not a place pbx vendors should try to beat them at. It's a loosing battle. But PBX vendors should develope basic IM, Presence, etc so it takes some of the pressure off company's who need basic versions of these features.

Perhaps you have some more ideas? I'd love to hear your comments.

Options to Integrate Your Windows PBX and Lync?
-Get a snom phone as they can register to Lync and your PBX at the same time--and set Lync presence "on call" status automatically (even for 3CX) Click here to see it in action.
-Consider snom ONE Windows-based PBX. Integration to Lync is supported. Free 10 extension system.
-Watch this forum thread: click here

I think anyone in the Windows communication field needs to take a hard look at Lync.

Discussion on Integrating 3CX and Lync Server

Sample Patton Smartnode 4912 12-32 Port FXO Gateway Config for snom ONE/pbxnsip

We spent quite a bit of time collaborating with Patton to get this config for the Patton Smartnode 4912 12 port FXO (12-32 port models) to work with snom ONE (aka pbxnsip). So here it is!

Click Here to Download

snom 300 SIP/Lync Compatible: The Cheapest SIP Phone in the World Series - Part 2

This phone is the lowest cost deskphone from snom. It really stands out from the crowd of SIP phones in general because it is not only a SIP phone but also Lync compatible deskphone! And all that for $129 MSRP. It has the enterprise features too: POE, 10/100 switch, HD audio ready (you buy the handset ;-), 6 programmable buttons/lights (count 4 or 5 if you subtract the 1 or 2 you HAVE to have for a conversation.), a speakerphone, and even 3 way conference call via the phone. (if you have the right buttons assigned).

I really think snom is providing a great segway into the UC world with their well positioned handsets. Buy snom deskphones and get their free snom ONE phonesystem (Windows/Linux/Mac) for free now and be ready for the Lync Server revolution when you can afford it. (and it is just a matter of time before people are buying Lync instead of phone systems--EVEN FOR SMB!)

-no vm button!
-no nice way to print button labels?
-6 button/LED-taken up with normally dedicated buttons!!
-2 minute boot time

-Lync Compatible Device (see snom 3xx registered to Lync on this video)
-HD Capable (not HD handset)
-Zero touch provisioninh with snom ONE PBX
-Dual SIP Stack: Lync & SIP
-10/100 switch
-Free snom ONE PBX that runs on Windows/Linux/Mac
-Very low Power consumption.

-Sorry I can't get over it, but no dedicated voicemail button? even the lowly spa301 has dedicated button!

-Get your free copy of 10 extension snom ONE Phone system for Win/Linux/Mac and have not only low cost handset but phone system!


See Part 1: Cisco SPA301 - Cheapest SIP Phone in the World Series

snom M3 to be Discontinued and Will Give Way to snom M9

It looks like the snom M3 Dect phone will be discontinued in favor of the new snom M9 DECT phone. This is good to know because I was wondering if snom will carry both of the units. The M9 SIP DECT phone will add idle roaming, Lync/OCS compatibility, and higher handset and call volumes. The snom M9 is on the cusp of being available at distribution in the USA with distributors estimating later this month ETA.

Watch the whole video here:

Why Windows Phone 7 Is Great for Business & Why It's Not #wp7 #android #iphone #webos

I was just reading an article on Windows Phone 7 for business. I thought I'd quickly post my "why its hot/why its not" from my point of view. I won't be long winded.

What Is Already Great for Business:
-The perfect blend of business and personal life: Your exchange and gmail accounts handled superbly
-Built in Outlook client is very nice. (supports multiple Exchange, gmail,hotmail, etc accounts)
-The Facebook contact integration is just incredible.
-Sharepoint Integration Is Cool: It's sync'd so you can search your Sharepoint 2010 list even offline.
-Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote: View and Edit these documents, Sync to Sharepoint 2010
-OneNote Sync'd Everywhere via Skydrive (very practical cloud senario at zero cost for tiny SMB)
-Dynamics CRM Client (by CWR : goto minute 23)
-IP Camera Viewer for Wp7 is great for monitoring your workplace IP ams (and its free!)

What Needs to Be Improved:
-Office Documents ALL need to sync to Skydrive (Like OneNote currently does to skydrive and all office does to sharepoint 2010)
-There needs to be a Lync 2010 client for Windows Phone 7
-Built-In RDP client (for all the geeks out there)
-True VOIP/softphones Apps (skype/SIP/IM) (requires sockets access not yet available)
-The ability to access hardware more directly to drive augmented reality apps
-Ability to get corporate apps on the device without going through the marketplace
-A lot of the more specialized industry apps only to be found on iphone, android and windowsmobile.

Microsoft Powerpoint About Why WP7 for Business:

My Article on Pros and Cons of Windows Phone:

TalkSwitch Also Uses RTX Dect Phone

Just noticed that it appears that TalkSwitch also uses RTX to make their DECT IP phone! Hmmm…Does ANYONE make their own DECT Phone? ;-)

In a previous article I explored who the OEM is that is making everyone's SIP DECT phones. It seems like a lot of deskphone companies are having one OEM make their SIP DECT phones. That would not be a problem except that there seems to be a common build and firmware quality with units originating there.
There is (at least) one exception that I know off: The snom M9. The firmware in the snom m9 is entirely snom designed and there are some interesting innovations because of that: Lync Server compatibility, DECT roaming capability, 4 calls per base station, IPv6 ready and the promise of solid snom quality firmware.

TalkSwitch Uses RTX Dect Phone:

Windows Phone 7 Momentum Shows No Sign Of Slowing: Kindle, Flickr & Heading for 6000 Apps #wp7 #windowsphone

Windows Phone 7 momentum shows no sign of slowing. Apps are being added at a dizzying rate. (6000 apps expected in 2 days)  Big players keep joining Windows Phone. The last two that come to mind are Kindle and Flickr. Microsoft itself is working at an unusually aggressive pace by releasing a fairly sizable update (copy/paste, performance improvement, improved marketplace app) after only several months with more on the roadmap already.

To read my personal experience with Windows Phone 7 click here.

At Current Rate WP7 will be at 6000 apps in 2 days:

Big Players Keep Joining the WP7 “Movement”:

WP7 Update Details:

Real Life Experience Upgrading to 3CX Version 9

Gone Digital outlines their real-life experience upgrading 3CX to version 9.
Also takes a look at how the new forwarding rules work.

Take a look at:

3CX Releases Another Security Patch for the 3CX Phone System

3CX releases another security patch for version 9 and encourages users to change Tunnel and bridge passwords to something secure. Security is no joke.

I wrote an article on SIP security which phone system admins may have interest in:

Read 3CX Blog Post:

Windows-Based Communication Server Appliances Just Got Cheaper

It looks like all the talk of Windows 7 running on ARM processors is true. And so now those low cost ARM appliances may also become available to Windows-based PBX servers. While a Windows PC will likely cost $300-$400USD a small SheevaPlug appliance can be as little as $129. (1GHz, 512MB RAM, 512MB Storage). (I have no idea if Windows for ARM will run on sheevaplug, just a comparison). I am understanding that app's that run on this new version of Windows will need to be compiled for the ARM processor so this will likely hold up some vendors.

The snom ONE IP phone system is ideally suited for these small appliances because it has low memory requirements, small hard drive footprint (50MB!) and the code is extremely efficient and there are very few dependencies on O/S components. (like databases, web server etc.) Because of this snom ONE IP has been ported to various operating systems and hardware. (Linux, Windows, Mac, Sheevaplug Linux)

The 3CX Phone System for Windows may have a harder time taking advantage of this new development because of dependencies on .Net Framework, web server, and database engine. Also the 3CX application size and memory requirements may tax lower cost ARM devices. 3CX has been more focused on developing the 3CX softphone for various clients such as Android, iPhone, and Windows than porting the server component.

Freeswitch is an OpenSource, cross-platform (linux/mac/windows) "soft switch" which could also take advantage of this move although it appears to be more focused on Linux and does have a considerably larger installation footprint. (200-300MB installation?)

Because of Lync Server's high CPU requirements due to the RTAudio codec I don't expect ARM to come up as an option. (But costs to implement Lync Server 2010 have dropped for other reasons-- it now can run on 1 server) (DC +1 that is).

While in reality the server cost in a large PBX solution is certainly a small percentage, for smaller systems this can be a chunk of the cost. Take the fan less, no moving parts, lower power consumption, small, quiet and low cost it does make an interesting appliance for the low end of the SMB market. Especially if software based PBX vendors want to provide a pre-packaged appliance for small sites.

Read more about ARM and Windows 7/8 Below:

snom M9 To Hit USA in January 2011?

According to a snom support person the snom M9 SIP DECT phone should be available in the USA in the January 2011 time frame. Billed as the "first Lync" Dect phone, it also brings DECT roaming between multiple base stations. (albeit not during a live call)

snom is also quick to note that this device is entirely owned and manufactured by snom. (unlike the snom M3) That means it has a full snom firmware, allows roaming between multiple DECT access points (when not in a call), allows 4 calls and 9 handsets (versus m3's 3x8), and can act as a full Lync Server 2010 endpoint! It can also sports several apps including RSS feeds, support Vcard 3.0 and can do over the air FW upgrade.

The snom m9 and m3  seem to share a similar housing (similar in quality but not identical in shape; M9 has a new button design), both screens are 128 x 128 color and the primary charging cradle appears similar. (while m9 also can be charged with mini USB)

snom has been working hard to bring the new snom m9's firmware up to speed. They seem to be focusing on features around integrating the m9 into a PBX senario at this time but it's not hard to recognize that people may want to use this device in a standalone fashion as well. Will snom accomodate that?

While I do not own a snom M9 (because it's not available in the USA), I did have had a chance to look at one for a few minutes. I'll admit  I was expecting the phone to "feel" more like an enterprise grade (think Cisco  79xx/ Spectralink) portable phone. (perhaps too high expectations?). The fit and finish looks and feels largely like the RTX sourced M3--which is to say, just a bit cheap. (and, I should add, very similar to other dect handsets in this price range) Although I do think the new rounded buttons will be an improvement over the M3's tiny, flat buttons.

Another thing I noticed is that while it is mentioned that USB can be used as a method of charging the M9 users should note this means removing the battery cover. Perhaps not a great day to day option?

As I think about the m3 and m9 a question does come to my mind: Does snom plan to continue both units?
Update on 02/2011: snom m3 will be discontinued.

I think the big value that snom M9 brings to the DECT field is the snom SIP firmware. Among other things this allows this phone to be a Lync Server 2010 endpoint--a first.

Available Jan 2011: Click Here
Read More About snom M9: Click Here