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What should be considered when deciding between Cisco and Mitel?

What should be considered when deciding between Cisco and Mitel?

My company is in the process of moving to a new building where we plan to deploy VoIP. I currently have Cisco's Data Infrastructure and Mitel Voice PBX equipment. I prefer Cisco since their maintenance is via Cisco, while Mitel's is through the local value-added reseller (VAR) and is voice only. Also they offer no onsite data expertise, though another sister company under their umbrella will be available to help.
I am concerned about this arrangement, as we have ten showrooms across the country and I don't believe we'll get four hour onsite service as originally planned. I believe the answer is obvious, but I am trying to remain impartial.
In your opinion, what should we consider when deciding between Cisco and Mitel?
Mitel was certainly an early player with Voice over Frame and other technologies. I tried to reach them for comment, but have not yet received a response.
Mitel, if you would like to weigh in, by all means, let me know and I will include your content!

There are things that you want to look at between the two systems -- warranty, capabilities, interoperability, scalability, etc. You certainly want a list of support contacts for each site regardless of vendor -- although, in my experience, there are more who support Cisco over Mitel.

Another thing to check is whether your local carriers support the same equipment. Some require that you have a Cisco router and this may or may not work well with your Mitel depending on features and functionality. Also check to see how they handle priority and quality of service. I'm not sure on the Mitel VoIP. Since I could not reach them, I would hate to comment based only on web information, as there may be some special requirements or software that is needed. I would also recommend looking at market share and the stability of the company.

According to the data sheet that I found at Mitel's Web site, you would also need a separate interface if you were running Ethernet IP native to your branch. This could be a downfall with the new Ethernet-in-the-first-mile (EFM) standard and many cable companies, as well as Regional Bell operating companies (RBOC) supporting Ethernet native to your envirnoment. It also appears that this model supports a lower node count than the Cisco box. Make sure you check the interface speeds as well. This one is 10/100 with a gigabit uplink. If you plan to move to gigabit for video phones and other things down the road, you may have to upgrade the Mitel gear.

This was first published in April 2006
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