UC products: A comprehensive buyer's guide
A collection of articles that takes you from defining technology needs to purchasing options
Editor's note: This article is part of a buying guide on unified communications. The features in this series describe the evolution of UC, its use cases and the important criteria to consider when buying a UC product. The series also compares the top UC products in the marketplace. This article gives an overview of Mitel communications products.
Mitel's MiVoice MX-ONE is a complete SIP-based unified communications (UC) solution designed for companies of all sizes. The MiVoice MX-ONE can scale from 100 to 500,000 users, making it one of the few products capable of supporting so many users.
The MiVoice MX-ONE supports voice, instant messaging (IM), presence, video conferencing and other services, making it an attractive option for any company looking to upgrade or replace its existing voice over IP (VoIP) or telephony infrastructure with an advanced UC service.
Mitel delivers full unified communications and collaboration (UCC) services -- such as mobility clients, IM and presence services -- via its Mitel MiCollab. Think of MiCollab as an essential add-on to MiVoice MX-ONE to get the most out of the UC services supported by Mitel communications products.
Following the trend of open software, the MiVoice MX-ONE runs under the Linux SUSE operating system, providing a stable and reliable system.
The MiVoice MX-ONE consists of three basic components: MX-ONE Service Node, MX-ONE Media Server and MX-ONE Manager Suite. Customers that require connectivity to traditional PSTN or ISDN networks or use legacy devices, such as analog phones, can purchase a MX-ONE Gateway chassis.
Service Node accommodates different user profiles
The MX-ONE Service Node is the heart of the Mitel communications services provided by the MiVoice MX-ONE solution. This SIP-based Mitel communications server undertakes the tasks of registering SIP endpoints, connecting with Active Directory for user authentication, call signaling, call routing, controlling hardware and software media gateways, and much more.
With version 6.0 and above, the Service Node provides native support for 64-bit operating system architectures, helping ensure performance during installation and upgrade times. Mitel has also added native IPv6 support -- a feature that is growing in demand as we slowly shift to IPv6 addressing due to the depletion of the public IPv4 address space. Equally important, dual-stack -- IPv4 and IPv6 -- SIP clients are fully supported, which means calls between IPv4 and IPv6 clients are possible, but need to transit through the MX-ONE Media Server.
Licensing is based on five different user profiles. Each profile has a number of feature packages enabled to help cover various user requirements within any company. The five profiles are:
- Basic user: Full PBX features.
- Legacy user: Basic user features, plus voicemail.
- Entry UC user: Legacy user features, plus BluStar Web client.
- Standard UC user: Entry UC user features, plus IM, presence, softphone and more.
- Premium UC user: Standard UC user features, plus mobility, video and more.
The Service Node supports both single-server hardware platform and virtualized platform, with the ability to handle up to 15,000 SIP users and 15 media gateways on a single-server configuration.
By adding multiple MX-ONE Service Nodes and media gateways, companies can expand the system to support the amount of users and sites required. Administration of the Service Node is performed via the MX-ONE Manager Suite server using a Web browser.
Finally, the Service Node can be deployed using the N+1 redundancy technique, which means an additional server can be added to the installation. So, if an active server fails, the backup server takes over with the failed server's data, thus eliminating server downtime and service interruptions.
Media Server an essential part of UC deployment
The MX-ONE Media Server is a software-based media gateway that provides transcoding services, manages real-time transport protocol (RTP) media resources and protocol conversion between endpoints. It supports protocols such as SIP and H.323, and helps manage conference calls.
The Media Server is also responsible for terminating and maintaining SIP trunks with telecommunications providers, making it a necessary component for any UC deployment.
While the MX-ONE Media Server adds another server to a Mitel communications solution, the good news is it can easily reside on the same server or virtual machine as the MX-ONE Service Node, considerably helping the hardware consolidation process.
Manager Suite features Web-based interface
The MX-ONE Manager Suite is designed to let administrators manage the MiVoice MX-ONE components from a single Web-based application. End users can also use the Manager Suite to manage their personal accounts and preferences.
The Manager Suite smartly integrates all offered services into its Web-based interface, making the MiVoice MX-ONE appear as a single system regardless of the number of MX-ONE Service Nodes and media gateways installed throughout the company.
The Manager Suite consists of the following modules:
- The MX-ONE Service Node Manager, used for the configuration of the MX-ONE Service Node system functions.
- The MX-ONE Provisioning Manager, used for user configuration.
- The MX-ONE Traffic Manager, used for traffic monitoring and system performance.
Media Gateway Units connect with telecom providers
The Media Gateway Units are hardware-based media gateways that provide connectivity with PSTN and ISDN telecommunications providers and legacy phone devices.
Depending on the size of the telephony infrastructure, one of the three following models can be selected: MX-ONE Slim, 1U chassis; MX-ONE Lite, 3U chassis; or MX-ONE Classic, 7U chassis.
All gateway units are fitted with the necessary digital signal processors, based on the maximum amount of PSTN or ISDN interfaces available on each model. The larger MX-ONE Lite and MX-ONE Classic products offer plenty of expansion space for companies with increased PSTN or ISDN interfaces and legacy phone devices.
Mitel MiCollab enables mobility services
To deliver complete UC services to its users, Mitel MiCollab enables businesses to use the latest technology offerings on smartphones, tablets and other similar devices.
Mitel MiCollab is fully compatible with the MiVoice MX-ONE v6.0 SP2 or later, and can run on its own dedicated hardware server or within a virtualized server. Both VMware and Hyper-V environments are fully supported.
Administration of MiCollab is performed via a Web browser, making it simple to administer from virtually any location.
A core component of MiCollab is the MiCollab Client -- software that installs on laptops, smartphones and tablets, allowing users to access a number of important UC services, such as:
- Presence: Real-time updates of a user's status, such as "on a call" or "away from my desk," and quick chat messages.
- Messaging: Fast access to voicemail with visual information on the person who left the message.
- Softphone: Extend the desk phone to the mobile device and make or receive phone calls.
- Mobility: Enable workers to be fully mobile with access to their phone or extension.
- Point-to-Point Video Collaboration: Allows users to place or accept a video call with the click of a button.
- Integration with Business Applications: Enhance the user experience and productivity by integrating MiCollab Client with Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, Google, IBM Sametime and more.
Current Mitel communications offerings are clearly capable of delivering quality UC services for companies of any size. And thanks to the vendor's modular offerings, the products should meet any budget.
Track the development of Mitel's mobile UC products.
Discover how interoperability impacts the adoption of UC solutions.
Learn about which UC vendors offer the best video conferencing.