I have received feedback from a lot of readers regarding the Linksys Voice System blog last week. Several people found it intriguing enough to call me and have a discussion about their experiences with the system. I appreciate that. Please continue to contact me.

Switchvox SoHo or Switchvox SMB?

This week I would like to take a look at another prominent VoIP PBX; Switchvox. Switchvox has two different versions to offer consumers, the SoHo edition and the SMB edition. There are a few notable differences between the two offerings. The SMB edition has conference bridge functionality, extension groups, the Switchvox switchboard, enhanced call que statistics and more complex IVR actions. The SOHO has a basic conference room, will only allow you to distinguish between groups to make multiple directories, and has some call center features, but the SMB has more robust reporting and supports a less advanced auto-attendant style IVR. Should your business outgrow SoHo phone systems edition Switchvox allows you to upgrade to the SMB edition for $1,500.00.

In summary, the SoHo is meant for a really small office, perhaps looking for an auto-attendant but not looking for voice and data integration, also not needing any intercom because the other users in the office are probably going to be in ear-shot anyway.

Buying Decisions: Linksys OR Switchvox?

There are numerous differences between the Linksys LVS-9000 and the Switchvox platforms. I will mention just a few determinative features comparing the two systems. The Linksys Voice System has a sixteen user limit, the Switchvox system is uncapped. And by uncapped I mean that it is technically capped depending on your bandwidth limitations and need for QOS (which is almost always the absolute highest priority in my experience).

Switchvox systems generally work with twenty-three concurrent calls, a number that assumes at any given time some users will be taking an inbound call, others will be making an outbound call, and some will be checking voicemail. Twenty four concurrent might not sound like a lot when comparing the number of users (sixteen) from the Linksys system, but keep in mind that the numbers are different. The Switchvox system is talking about concurrent calls; the Linksys system is talking about total users. Twenty four concurrent calls is generally a number equated with business having over one hundred users. Each system also uses IP Phones differently.

Both the Linksys IP PBX and the Switchvox VoIP phone system will accept any SIP compatible phone: Grandstream, Linksys, Cisco, Polycom, Aastra to name a few. The LVS-9000 features are limited if purchasing any non-linksys phones (notably the message waiting indicator light will not work). Switchvox features are not limited by the phones; however Switchvox will not support anything other than their own pre-provisioned Polycom phones. Switchvox also offers a robust and user friendly GUI, whereas the Linksys system does not.

Benefits of Switchvox / Switchvox sold to Best Kept A Secret Technologies

The SoHo has its place, but for the relatively small price difference I find that most clients prefer to purchase the SMB edition. I had one such client conversation this week. The prospect calling in, needed an in house 15 user VoIP phone system solution, and though he fit into the user number that the Linksys system could provide my prospect was looking for a system that would scale to a larger 20 user operation. He also had a need for the easy to use drag and drop functions with a customizable interface. After discussing the benefits of Switchvox and revealing a free demo of the “switchboard” feature the customer was ready to order.

I recommended:

A one year support contract from Switchvox at $499; although the Switchvox system ships at nearly a plug and play level, the customer did not have any technical staff in house to assist with the installation and support of the system.

The customer did not need any analog phone line capability or an analog PCI card would have been suggested.

The customer was using an existing T1/PRI line so for $664 a provisioned Digium TE110P was added for connectivity to the PBX.

We discussed the differences between the IP301, IP501, and IP601. His desired price point was in the IP301 range however the customer needed the full-duplex speaker phone for each user and the Polycom IP-501 provided the best value with the features he needed at $264 ea. They also purchased a new conference phone.

Lastly, Best Kept a Secret Technologies needed an analog conversion for his FAX machine a Switchvox provisioned Linksys SPA-2102 was added at $109.

Total system cost was $7,727.00.

Switchvox SMB Topography for Best Kept a Secret Technologies

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