Phone System Upgrade

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Allen Mundt

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Feb 19, 2021, 10:42:53 AM2/19/21
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We are in the process of formulating a plan for upgrading our phone system.  I was not involved when it was installed, but I want to say that I think it is an old key system.  It is klutzy to change announcements, and is just not very user friendly.  We would be in the 5-10 phone instrument range if I count them all up.  Having some additional (Read: modern) capabilities would be nice.

Any thoughts?

In Him,

Al

Allen Mundt

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Feb 19, 2021, 11:13:59 AM2/19/21
to WELSTech, Allen Mundt
...and as I think about it, we are going to need a company to buy and install it.  We are in Sussex Wisconsin, a western suburb of Milwaukee.  Thanks

Michael Plocher

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Feb 19, 2021, 12:38:10 PM2/19/21
to Allen Mundt, WELSTech
 Hi Al --

If I am understanding your question, a VoIP system can meet your needs. We installed one in our school four years ago for about $9000 which included 25 phones along with installation/initial programming and 16 hours of training. Within this cost was a $2300 NEC SL1100 IP kit that came with six 24-button phones. Maybe something like this kit would meet your needs?  Our NEC SL-1100 model is considered outdated now with the SL-2100 being newer. Below is a list of items we needed. Since we already had a Gigabit Cat6 network with open ports in the rooms that needed phones, we didn't have any additional networking costs other than patch cables and a PoE switch which is used to power the phones.

As far as "modern" capabilities go, I do have a port open on our network so our vendor can remote in to the VoIP SIP server and work on things if needed. However, manuals are online so I usually reprogram things myself. We've added phones over the years to the original 25 we purchased. Plugging them in to the network they power right up, are assigned their own IP address and are ready to go with minimal adjustments. We went with a local low power phone vendor from southern Minnesota. I'm not sure who to recommend in the Milwaukee area. Hope this gives you some things to ask about as you contact vendors.

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Thanks,
Mike
 


"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith..." Ephesians 2:8


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Denice Turpin

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Feb 19, 2021, 1:07:03 PM2/19/21
to Michael Plocher, Allen Mundt, WELSTech

There is a member at Zion, Hartland, who works for a local company that designs and installs phone systems – at least she did. I am checking to see if she still works for them. They installed the phone system at Zion’s school and it was a smooth process.

 

Denice

 

From: Michael Plocher <mplo...@splnewulm.org>
Sent: Friday, February 19, 2021 11:38 AM
To: Allen Mundt <allen...@gmail.com>
Cc: WELSTech <wels...@groups.wels.net>
Subject: Re: [WELSTech] Re: Phone System Upgrade

 

 Hi Al --

 

If I am understanding your question, a VoIP system can meet your needs. We installed one in our school four years ago for about $9000 which included 25 phones along with installation/initial programming and 16 hours of training. Within this cost was a $2300 NEC SL1100 IP kit that came with six 24-button phones. Maybe something like this kit would meet your needs?  Our NEC SL-1100 model is considered outdated now with the SL-2100 being newer. Below is a list of items we needed. Since we already had a Gigabit Cat6 network with open ports in the rooms that needed phones, we didn't have any additional networking costs other than patch cables and a PoE switch which is used to power the phones.

 

As far as "modern" capabilities go, I do have a port open on our network so our vendor can remote in to the VoIP SIP server and work on things if needed. However, manuals are online so I usually reprogram things myself. We've added phones over the years to the original 25 we purchased. Plugging them in to the network they power right up, are assigned their own IP address and are ready to go with minimal adjustments. We went with a local low power phone vendor from southern Minnesota. I'm not sure who to recommend in the Milwaukee area. Hope this gives you some things to ask about as you contact vendors.

 

 

Thanks,

Mike

 



"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith..." Ephesians 2:8


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On Fri, Feb 19, 2021 at 10:14 AM Allen Mundt <allen...@gmail.com> wrote:

...and as I think about it, we are going to need a company to buy and install it.  We are in Sussex Wisconsin, a western suburb of Milwaukee.  Thanks

On Friday, February 19, 2021 at 9:42:53 AM UTC-6 Allen Mundt wrote:

We are in the process of formulating a plan for upgrading our phone system.  I was not involved when it was installed, but I want to say that I think it is an old key system.  It is klutzy to change announcements, and is just not very user friendly.  We would be in the 5-10 phone instrument range if I count them all up.  Having some additional (Read: modern) capabilities would be nice.

 

Any thoughts?

 

In Him,

 

Al

 

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Joshua Schoeneck

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Feb 19, 2021, 1:07:12 PM2/19/21
to Allen Mundt, WELSTech
Mark Robinson from TSR Solutions (mrob...@tsrsolutions.com) is in the Milwaukee area. He was a big part of the ShopWELS program that the synod used to have and does a lot of work with VoIP. I'm sure he would be happy to discuss options with you.

AT KMLHS, I just finished putting in a new VoIP phone system using phones and a controller from Grandstream. The system included about 125 phones and cost about $10,000 for equipment only. We did the install and programming ourselves and were able to mostly use our existing network infrastructure. The setup took a fair amount of time and required a good deal of research, but I'm happy with the functionality we now have (replaced an 18-year old Toshiba system). We purchased the phones through IP Phone Warehouse (https://www.ipphone-warehouse.com/), which is a national reseller but is actually based in Milwaukee. I was happy with the service and pricing we received from them.

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Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School
Joshua J. Schoeneck
Registrar, Director of Technology, Technology Instructor
Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School
262-677-4051 x4045
mobile: 262-225-7308
joshua.s...@kmlhs.org
Educating for Life and for Eternity

Denice Turpin

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Feb 19, 2021, 1:13:54 PM2/19/21
to Michael Plocher, Allen Mundt, WELSTech

Carolyn Lentz, the person I mentioned, works for TriTech Corporation. Their phone number is 262-717-0037. You can find more information about them on their website, IT Support, Cybersecurity, VoIP, Cabling, Printer Repair | TriTech (tritechcoa.com).

 

Denice

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Ben Polzin

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Feb 21, 2021, 3:02:23 PM2/21/21
to Denice Turpin, Michael Plocher, Allen Mundt, WELSTech
Hi Al,

I agree with the advice shared here. I think the most important is to find a local company that can help you with the install and maintenance. We've had a VoIP system at our church and school with ~25 handsets for over 10 years now. While I don't love the system, the local company that helped us install it has been fantastic with their support. They've also helped us move from phone lines delivered over a T1 to multiple SIP providers in those 10 years with significant savings each time.

The phones, phone system and installation are up-front costs, but also pay attention to the ongoing phone service costs. Your old key system likely has a handful of analog lines providing phone service. Those can each cost $50 per month or more depending on the services included and key systems will often have 2-10 of them. It can add up quickly!

A new VoIP system will work best with a SIP trunk and there are plenty of providers to choose from. Your local telco likely has an offering here or there are national providers that can deliver this service over your existing Internet connection. Running phone calls over the Internet doesn't take much bandwidth, but it needs to be consistent so consider how reliable your Internet connection is when making this decision. A number of years back we saved almost 40% per month by changing all of our phone lines and Internet services at once. Right now, we use an Intermedia SIP trunk for our phone lines. We pay ~$110/mo for 50 DIDs (phone numbers), 4 sessions (concurrent calls), 1200 minutes of long-distance, and one electronic fax number/mailbox that allows us to send/receive faxes from our computers. It's been very reliable.

If you're out shopping around for phone systems these days, you'll undoubtedly come across some UCaaS offerings (UC as a Service). These are cloud-hosted phone systems like Jive (GoToConnect), RingCentral, 8x8 or Zoom Phone. The only thing you have onsite are the actual phones (which they sometimes give you for free with a multi-year contract) and you pay a monthly subscription cost per phone. The industry overall is really trending towards this model, but I just can't understand the financial side of this for organizations our size. The typical subscription per phone is $15-30/mo and if you have more than 3 or 4 of these the annual cost is substantial. I have trouble making a 2-year ROI work out much less the 5-10 year lifespan you're likely to get out of an on-premises VoIP phone system.

Also, be aware of new E911 legislation in Kari's Law and Ray Baum's Law for newly installed phone systems this year. Wisconsin doesn't have any additional legislation here yet, but for others following along in other states check your local state laws as many have more requirements. Here's a good summary: https://www.west.com/legal-privacy/e911-regulations/

One last suggestion. All other things being equal, if you're able to go with a system that uses "generic" SIP phones like Poly or Yealink they'll provide you with flexiblity down the road. These phones work with many different phone systems. A few years back our phone system got fried by a power surge due to some utility work nearby. If we had generic handsets instead of proprietary ones, we would have gotten a cheaper, more user-friendly replacement phone system. But we were locked in due to the proprietary handsets of our system. The cost of replacing 25 phones at typical prices of $80-250 each took that option away.

Ben

Allen Mundt

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Feb 22, 2021, 10:41:07 AM2/22/21
to WELSTech, Allen Mundt
Thank you, everyone!

On Friday, February 19, 2021 at 9:42:53 AM UTC-6 Allen Mundt wrote:
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