After taking on the Grandstream IP PBX UCM based products , We have a few installed , they are a great little product loaded with small and medium business features . Low cost simple installation if you go thru the pain of your first and second installation ( Learning Curve ) , it was actually not bad to build ! There are caveats as with every IP VOIP Based system on the market today as they all claim some sort of enhancements and great features until you install them and find their weaknesses .
We cannot put all of our findings in this post but We have tried to give you as much info as we could for now ! More to come later on !
We have installed a few but 2 we will mention as they all seem to have the same plus and minus qualities !
A 6204 with a 4501 Digital gateway and a 6208 - 5 line systems .
One great mentionable feature :
Analog line tools as I am impressed with as we had some imbalances on the Telco side ( Everyone knows how that goes with Verizon or other carriers ) , and the 620XX actually has a button on the analog lines screen to check line voltages and impedances and balance the lines automatically and worked !
Takes a LOT to impress me today but this is a great tool ! 1 Line would not come up and we used the tool to see if we could balance the line as low voltage etc. type of issues . It worked and the line was restored ! Telco end of line type as in miles from the Central Office on Copper with the splice bag wide open and wet up on the pole .
So here we go with a quick list of a few noticeable issues and kudos !
System 1 : UCM 6204 with a Digital 4501 Gateway
The system uses a built in feature called zero config on ALL UCM IP PBX products . Takes a bit to get used to and make sure you have an internet connection otherwise a lot of hair pulling and cross eyed moments attempting to figure out why things do not work as the system on boot needs to talk to Grandstream , download updates and templates as well . The system can be set up with templates and adjusting user features and button programming via the templates . Not a bad idea as they are similar to a Class Of Service in modern PBX systems . Going individually into each telephone and setting buttons up can be time consuming as this allows you to set a template for the telephone style , 1600 1700 2100 2600 series as a Telephone example , and everyone gets what the template dictates . Of course multiple button patterns and feature choices = multiple templates .
4501 Single Span digital Gateway
The 4501 Gateway was actually pretty industry standard in a simple network with no surprises albeit reverting to Chinese language every time you log on and off . We had 2 networks : 192.168.2.X network routed to a 192.168.1.x network . For the Gateway and the UCM 6204 , Once the network changes for standard setup were made , on to the PRI as nothing here to say except all industry standard to start ! Standard telco features but a bit confusing attempting to take engineering developer language with Telco language !
Once you see the feature sets it is pretty simple to set up and get running !
However one HUGE NO NO in the telephony Engineering World !
Collision on trunks a serious reality on a busy system !
How many times have we heard this before ?
Get ready for it if you have a busy span , 12 or 23 Channels , We had 12 on a frac PRI Span with a selected D channel which was working pretty well , but they do NOT support descending order ( Choose last channel for outbound calls ) . It does not work , So we opened a ticket almost a year ago on it and they told us that it is not supported at this time but in the future- blah blah blah for no way as the feature request was like a bill in Congress ! Gone and forgotten , move on etc. What was very bothersome is the fact that Grandstream Engineering does NOT see this as a serious issue !! We asked too !!
Seems that these systems are designed for sip trunk type networking features rather than the traditional type of telco supported analog and or digital type systems . Features like call forwarding and redial not working on analog and digital trunks but do on sip based trunks . We have not yet tested out complete feature sets on SIP Trunks as we are working on it as we speak , but have found an eerie pattern here . Caller ID name and number format caller id changes all work rather well with no problems if set up correctly .
6208 Analog lines and features
Be careful as issues with features . Redial which I have been trying to get working for almost a week now , still will not work . Simple feature that should just work right ? Nope . After inserting a 9 into the 2616 phone , it works ! However internal features like call pick up now see a 9 added into the string ( ** ext # now 9**ext # and other feature sets affected as well ) . is this a way to address this issue ? Not sure as we have tried several other unsuccessful ways like appending and prepending dial plan entries on the system to no avail also as It seems as tho the feature sets again , work really well with sip trunks but not with traditional circuits as it is claimed . Another open ticket with Grandstrema and it does not look good for a simple resolution ! Hate to say anything bad but the world will NOT convert 100% to sip products overnight and Grandstream's lack of leadership in support to resolve these with Engineering , well , is not conducive to the customers requests . These are great products for small businesses as low cost easy to install and great technically except for features ! Sorry to say this as they also close tickets out without resolution and Sales never returns calls or gives completed answers to questions when you bring customer issues to light . We have 4 tickets right now with no resolution for a year or less . So why continue to install the product ? Because of the cost which today is mainly one of the only reasons for products like these . If you or your customer can work around these issues , then they can be a great little product as its not all bad !
Grandstream 2600 Carrier grade Telephones
So these systems paired with 2100 and 2600 series telephones work rather well and we love the 2600 series WIFI phones for easy set up and ease of use to the end user ! We loved the phones as they work ! Again feature sets must be controlled by the IP PBX and NOT the phone !
Setting the Telephone and Networking up was easy as :
SSID log in to your network
SIP Server IP Address
And you are up and running !
The telephone , if the templates are set up correctly , downloads the info from the UCM 6200 template prebuilt and the buttons are correct . We can talk more about protocols like LLDP and others but not now as we used all of the basics ! Great color display Caller ID functions are spot on and the buttons are ok but need to get used to .
So overall not a bad little system but get ready for some fine tuning on the installation at almost every site ( As we all know every site IS truly different also but a bit more with these systems ) . Are there some flukes ? Sure but overall manageable as there are some things and quirky reminders of being an Asterisk system and small business etc. but overall it is not a bad little unit for the cost ! After many years in the VOIP IP PBX business , and many years prior to that in the Call Center technology , PBX Digital and Analog world of yesteryear , Todays world is a LOT different than years ago as quirks like this are accepted as works as designed types in the IP based PBX world . Again its all about the cost and the features as we love the 2600 series wireless telephones as they work and work well !
Hope this helps and please reach out if any questions or comments !
RPOC Telecom !