Choosing a VoIP vendor: A 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 voice over IP (VoIP). The features in this series describe the evolution of VoIP, its use cases and important criteria to consider when buying a VoIP service. The series also compares the top VoIP products in the marketplace. This article gives an overview of NEC's VoIP systems.
NEC's Univerge SV series IP PBX systems are designed to meet today's business VoIP expectations by supporting commonly found VoIP telephone features, while at the same time providing unified communications (UC) features to enhance productivity.
The NEC Univerge VoIP PBX features various models geared to support different sized businesses. All models support SIP, analog and NEC digital endpoints. SIP trunking is supported across the whole series, while traditional PSTN and ISDN (BRI/PRI) connectivity is also offered, depending on the system's configuration.
The NEC VoIP lineup offers six IP PBX models and various hardware additions to expand connectivity and user support. The wide range of models makes NEC Univerge ideal for both small and medium-sized businesses, as well as large enterprises with thousands of users.
Businesses that invest in NEC's Univerge can expand their system's capacity by purchasing additional chassis and stacking them together. This modular design provides great flexibility and helps keep the costs under control.
How NEC's Univerge models stack up
The Univerge SV8100 is the entry-level NEC VoIP model. It supports stacking to provide a total of 512 phones depending on the phone configuration. A total of 200 SIP trunks are supported, but simultaneous calls are limited based on the available IP resources. The SV8100 is housed in a 19-inch chassis with six expansion slots or, if you're tight on space, a 9.5-inch chassis is available with three expansion slots. Customers can populate the expansion slots with cards that provide additional interfaces to connect SIP trunks, PSTN, BRI, PRI lines, digital NEC phones, analog phones and more.
The Univerge SV8300 is geared toward small and medium businesses supporting a maximum of 1,536 phones, a total of 512 trunk interfaces (PSTN/PRI/BRI) and 512 SIP trunks. These maximum figures are only possible when stacking multiple Univerge SV8300 systems together. The SV8300 is housed inside a 2 rack unit (RU) chassis and offers six expansion slots.
The Univerge SV8500 can support a staggering 4,000+ phones, 1,500 PSTN trunks, 4,000 PRI channels and 4,000 SIP trunks when stacked with multiple identical systems. Customers with increased trunk requirements can also look at the additional trunk chassis available to help expand connectivity.
The Univerge SV9100 is the entry model of the SV9000 series, designed primarily to offer extensive UC features. It, too, supports stacking and comes in 9.5-inch and 19-inch form factors, offering support of up to 896 IP phones depending on the phone models and system configuration. The unit supports a maximum of 400 PRI/BRI channels, 400 PSTN trunks and 400 SIP trunks.
The Univerge SV9300 is offered only in a 19-inch form factor with support for stacking and a maximum of 1,536 phones, depending on the phone models and system configuration. The unit supports SIP trunking, PRI/BRI and analog trunk support, with up to 512 trunks of each type available.
The Univerge SV9500 is the largest model currently available and stands out from the rest in many ways. It is the only IP PBX offered in a chassis configuration or a prepackaged rack server (Express 5800 Server) and VMware ESXi virtual appliance. The SV9500 supports up to 4,000 phones per system and a maximum of 1,524 trunks (PRI/BRI/analog/SIP), depending on its configuration and high-density analog and digital interface gateways.
Univerge offers extensive features, management capabilities
NEC Univerge IP PBX systems can integrate with Outlook to provide click-to-call functionality and support for mobile devices. NEC VoIP offerings have their own custom softphone application that eliminates the need for a physical phone device and extends the desktop around the world.
The Univerge lineup stays on par with other vendor offerings with the support of voicemail, auto-attendant features, unified messaging, cost control tools, advanced operator consoles and many more options for businesses. Licensing is managed using key-activation codes purchased by the business from an NEC partner.
Pricing for the Univerge systems varies and is determined by several factors, including the features chosen. As with most vendors, NEC's Univerge IP PBX can be purchased through official partners, though NEC offers direct sales and support services for large enterprises.
Management of the Univerge series is performed via a Web-based interface, while companies with multiple NEC VoIP systems can use the NEC Enterprise Manager Univerge MA4000 for day-to-day tasks. The MA4000 provides centralized management for all Univerge series products, yet some NEC documents incorrectly note support only for the 8000 series. More information on the product and its capabilities can be found on the Enterprise Manager website.
NEC offers a range of IP, digital, wireless and analog phones designed to cover almost every work environment.
While most of NEC's IP phones have been designed to work seamlessly across all Univerge IP PBX systems, the UT880 and DT800 IP desktop telephones have been specifically designed for the SV9000 series IP PBX, offering increased functionality and capabilities, such as LCD touchscreen (UT880 only), support for NEC UC applications, Bluetooth connectivity options and many more features.
A full list of phones can be viewed on NEC's website.
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