After reading your article on voice over IP solutions (“Voice over IP: Your call,” November/December 2003), it seemed like we must be in a different dimension.
We installed a VoIP solution from 3Com, and we had none of the problems your contacts were talking about. It took about three months total, including training. We have 190 phones and nine buildings.
The 3Com NBX system does not run on Windows at all, so maybe that’s why our system is so reliable–and, of course, we have no virus issues. I would not want to rely on Microsoft products for something critical like our phone system. We have had no down time at all. We had one problem that turned out to be a problem with our T1 line from Verizon (our phone company).
We have uninterruptible power supplies at every wiring cabinet (we already did), and if we lose power in the district, the phone system stays up for about 45 minutes–but the power has not been down that long. Our old wired phone switch went down immediately when we lost power.
We didn’t have to put in any additional wiring at all and we have no performance problems, we did not have to fool around with any packet setting or anything else. It just works.
Most modern phone systems are digital, so you can’t use fax machines or modems on them, either. Our old Rolm system at my IBM office 15 years ago was digital.
Maintenance is a breeze with our web-based control program: We can add, modify, or change anything right from our desks.
This is a poor district with two tech people, and the phone system is not a service issue. Obviously the 3Com NBX system has something going for it. You probably should have talked to installations supplied by some other vendors.
–Roger Ransom, Director of Technology, Bangor Public Schools, Bangor, Mich.