Do I need a PBX?

ip-communications

#1

All,

I picked up some GXP2100’s for a local not-for-profit. They are familiar with traditional key system features, quaint things like “hold”, which now appears to be a relic.

I guess to duplicate that experience, I need to be implementing something like Shared Call Appearance or Call Park keys. They are using voip.ms as their provider (with an ATA at the moment). Unfortunately it does not appear that voip.ms supports these sorts of things.

Do I need to be using a UCM or Asterisk PBX sort of thing to make this happen?

Any tips anyone can provide to help replicate the simplicity of the old-school hold button would be appreciated…


#2

Can you be more specific by what “traditional key system features” means? That is, you mentioned “quaint things like hold” even though the GXP2100 has a hold button in the lower left corner of the dial pad. How does this button differ from the experience your clients want?

I normally would recommend a UCM6102 PBX because it works exceptionally well with voip.ms (the same provider I use). But there are many features in the UCM series that the 2100 phones may not be able to take advantage of and the UCM requires some expert programming skills. It seems like quite a purchase when the hold button by itself and voip.ms’s cloud PBX features should work just fine.

Edit: note that the UCM series and voip.ms are both built on the Asterisk system. The features you see in voip.ms under places like DID numbers > Voicemail will be similar if not identical to the basic features you’d find in the UCM. The difference is that the UCM lets you upload your own hold music for call queues. It looks like voip.ms only lets you pick from their list of generic hold music.


#3

Jason,
The hold button does not function as users expect, in that it holds a call exclusively on the phone that put it there, rather than allowing the held call to be visible on all phones and retrievable there as well. Bob pushes “hold”, pages Jill, and announce there is a call holding for her on line 2. She picks it up without any fuss on the nearest phone, not having to know any parked call retrieval codes, nor does Bob need to know anything about call parking. Additionally, Bob can keep an eye on how many calls are holding and have some sense of how busy things are getting. Yes, I know there are far more exotic ways of doing such things, but the hold button and line status lights were a very simple and intuitive thing, requiring about 60 seconds of training.

I think under the VoIP paradigm as I’m understanding it is that the closest thing would be dedicated park keys appearing on every phone. “Jill, you have a call on line 2” is still a thing, even though it’s not actually a line, but a virtual call being parked. If it makes everyone happy to call Park 101 “line 1” they can call it that & I’ll label it like that. But dedicating a soft key requires a GXE pbx according to the manual, so that idea isn’t going well either.

I also see the Shared Call Appearance feature, which sounds just like what I’m after. But I don’t see that it can be used with anything but PBX’s running Broadworks software. Here is GS’s tech note about this feature:

“Grandstream GXP21xx/16xx SIP phones support BroadWorks Shared Call Appearance feature. Shared Call Appearance allows multiple phones to share one extension number and manage a call as a group. Incoming calls will appear at multiple locations simultaneously. All devices where call appearance is shared can be used to answer an incoming call or make a call as if it is the main user. Calls can be transferred between two phones by simply putting the call on hold at one phone and picking it up on the other. Line keys light up or flash in different colors, allowing all people sharing the extension to monitor the call status. One important application for Shared Call Appearance is for an administrative assistant/executive scenario.”

I understand the voip.ms ring groups for the DID’s, but I cannot see any way to achieve the rest of this with their feature set. Nor did they have a clue what I was after when I sent them a note.

Thanks!


#4

It is possible to set up phones directly to a SIP Provider. Based on the cost of a small UCM I would recommend a UCM to have access to all the features that you would want.
This will save time on both configurations, maintenance, and efficiency.


#5

haef, IMHO, I would also suggest moving your users away from the old method of “pick-up line x” to using call park, etc. The learning curve is not that much and it moves the staff forward.

Call Park already shows up by default on the soft keys, so its just showing them new correct button to push to put someone in park.

You can also program a VPK to monitor the first x (I suggest 2) parking spot (701 & 702 with a UCM with default settings). They would then have the same visual of lit button to push.


#6

Ah! Call park as hold. Yes, of course. When you meant old school you meant 70’s old school. (I only go back to Late 80’s Panasonic which kinda sorta mostly supported the line park system.)

Yes, I think your solution requires either a Broadsoft PBX or a GS PBX heavily modified for dedicated call park as hold … assuming the GXP2100 hold button can accommodate that behavior. You might have to move to a GXP2160 for the necessary number of BLF keys.

For a UCM61xx solution, I would:

Set up call park range with n000 as the general call park extension.

Set up a button labelled hold that transfers a call to n000. The transfer announces which park extension the call is sent to.

The attendant then announces, “Bob you have a call on line x” where x is the last digit or last two digits of the call park extension.

Bob’s phone has a series of BLF buttons all set to speed dial n001 - n009 to pick up the parked call. Perhaps BLF programming allows the key to flash when the call is parked.

This is a general outline, not necessarily specific programming. This is an intriguing idea to explore, however. When I have an opportunity, I will see if I can work out a scheme.


#7

Jason,

I don’t see the need to change the default range from 700…

What are you thinking about here.

As far as a call park button, the UCM /GXP will put a call park button as a soft key automatically.

In my experience, unless you have a lot of concurrent calls parked, you only need 2-3 keys programmed for monitoring 701, 702 & 703.


#8

I admit my old school really is old school!

Everyone is correct that some change in the way of users doing things is going to have to happen. I just know it will go better if there are dedicated park (etc) buttons I can point at.

I don’t think more than 2-3 calls at a time would ever get parked, so the smaller phones shouldn’t be an issue for now.

As I mentioned above, I see this bit in the phone’s manual:

“SPECIAL SOFTKEYS (Only for GXP2120/GXP2110/GXP2100 when integrated with GXE5024/5028)
When the phone dials out, the Call Park softkey will display on screen. To park the call, press the “CallPark” softkey and select a green MPK to park the call on available parking lot.”

Methinks I’m going to order a UCM6102. That will expedite things and having the FXO/FXS ports will help their transition.

Thanks again for everyones’ help!


#9

Point of clarification though: In the Broadworks Shared Call Appearance feature I mentioned above, is this a feature that requires a Broadworks PBX?

Or is it just called that because it’s Broadworks concept but it will work without Broadworks PBX?


#10

Its a broadworks specific feature, you can just use standard BLF keys with call park and park hints though.


#11

On a Grandstream UCM it is called SLA (shared line appearance) I believe.


#12

For parking you need a PBX.

The UCM does support call park with keys (MPKs) that are green when empty and turn red when you park someone in it, so it’s easy to resume the call somewhere else. TO park just press the park key in green while in a call, and to resume just press the red park key.

The Broadworks features do need a Broadworks PBX.

SLA in the UCM is only for analog lines. Although the phones support SLA with other PBXs (such as Broadworks.) The “simplified” difference between SLA and parking is that in SLA people can barge in a current call (like in a home landline) and parking is a way to put a caller to hear music and then resume the call on any other office phone. Commonly SLA is a premium on big PBXs, and parking is commonly what offices use (since it has the privacy that none other person is going to eavesdrop on your call.)

So you should be good with a UCM (it has parking and it’s very easy to configure and use.)

Now since you have a GXP2100 (a phone already EOL) the parking lights might not work, so someone with a UCM and one of those phones can test it out for you. But all the new ones do light up their keys for parking.


#13

[quote=“CyFo, post:12, topic:16644”]For parking you need a PBX.

The UCM does support call park with keys (MPKs) that are green when empty and turn red when you park someone in it, so it’s easy to resume the call somewhere else. TO park just press the park key in green while in a call, and to resume just press the red park key.

The Broadworks features do need a Broadworks PBX.

SLA in the UCM is only for analog lines. Although the phones support SLA with other PBXs (such as Broadworks.) The “simplified” difference between SLA and parking is that in SLA people can barge in a current call (like in a home landline) and parking is a way to put a caller to hear music and then resume the call on any other office phone. Commonly SLA is a premium on big PBXs, and parking is commonly what offices use (since it has the privacy that none other person is going to eavesdrop on your call.)

So you should be good with a UCM (it has parking and it’s very easy to configure and use.)

Now since you have a GXP2100 (a phone already EOL) the parking lights might not work, so someone with a UCM and one of those phones can test it out for you. But all the new ones do light up their keys for parking.[/quote]

I have a UCM out there with 2100 series phones and they parking BLFs work fine


#14

Update: Got UCM6102. Slowly getting it to come together. Not done yet, but thanks for the pointers!

Don’t think the SLA thing is going to work, mainly because it seems applicable only to the FXO ports. But I think call park will be just fine.

Aside for voip.ms users: Don’t know what the official word is, but adding voip.ms SIP’s, which have underscores in them with the voip.ms naming scheme, does not work in the new firmware. See my comment in the release notes about dealing with this.

p.s. What the hell is with the forum aptitude test required with every post??? Like I’m not getting enough brain exercise from their products…


#15

[quote=“haef, post:14, topic:16644”]Update: Got UCM6102. Slowly getting it to come together. Not done yet, but thanks for the pointers!

Don’t think the SLA thing is going to work, mainly because it seems applicable only to the FXO ports. But I think call park will be just fine.

Aside for voip.ms users: Don’t know what the official word is, but adding voip.ms SIP’s, which have underscores in them with the voip.ms naming scheme, does not work in the new firmware. See my comment in the release notes about dealing with this.

p.s. What the hell is with the forum aptitude test required with every post??? Like I’m not getting enough brain exercise from their products…[/quote]

Questions will go away after a few posts, keeps spammers out.
_ and - issues have been reported, you would likely want to open a ticket to find out which firmware broke that and either downgrade to a working version, use the wizard every time you need to change a setting, or wait for the fix.


#16

[quote=“lstutesman, post:15, topic:16644”][quote=“haef, post:14, topic:16644”]Update: Got UCM6102. Slowly getting it to come together. Not done yet, but thanks for the pointers!

Don’t think the SLA thing is going to work, mainly because it seems applicable only to the FXO ports. But I think call park will be just fine.[/quote]

Questions will go away after a few posts, keeps spammers out.
_ and - issues have been reported, you would likely want to open a ticket to find out which firmware broke that and either downgrade to a working version, use the wizard every time you need to change a setting, or wait for the fix.[/quote]

:-[ Sorry, I just realize you said that very thing about SLA.


#17

Re. BLF:

By any chance, does BLF mean something different in VoIP land than BLF as historically used? I configure BLF and I get a continuously lit green key. It dials the extension like a speed dial key if poked.

I saw a thread elsewhere saying BLF just means the monitored set is live. Nothing to do with on/off hook status.

Is that true?

Then I’m back to part of my original problem: How does Bob see if Jane is on her phone??? Being that she is down the hall out of sight…


#18

Haef, I believe the BLF should turn red when the person is on the phone.


#19

Yep, the underscore in user names issue is a real pain for us voip.ms users. I ultimately had to abandon using subaccounts so that I could make my primary 6-digit account the trunk.

The good news is that not using subaccounts also means that voip.ms and UCM61xx boxes can successfully talk over IAX2! I cannot tell you how much an improvement in call quality comes from just this tiny little detail.


#20

Nope. All green, all the time. I’ve opened a ticket about this.

As an aside, I wish GS would not use status indicators dependent on red/green indicators. A significant number of people cannot tell the difference due to color blindness.