The S100 phone system from Yeastar Information Technologies is the next evolution of the company’s PBX (News - Alert) platform and with this release, the company aims to go way upmarket. This solution, and the S-Series as a whole, provides an array of components and new features that should help Yeastar differentiate itself in the marketplace to win more and larger customers.
Affordability, dependability, performance, and security are among the values of the S-Series. The unit under test has an MSRP of $999. The products come with a three-year warranty, which is certainly industry-leading. These solutions were designed with the future in mind.
You might be tempted to think this low-cost solution skimps somewhere. We however, couldn’t find any skimping. Consider for example, the industrial quality Freescale (News - Alert) CPU (the i.MX 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 Quad Core) to handle the places people tend to put PBXs like warm closets, oil rigs, and warehouses and factories. The DDR3 1GB RAM (News - Alert) is supplied by Samsung; the 8GB flash memory by Toshiba. And the Molex connectors have gold plating three times thicker than industrial standards.
“These systems have huge capability in performance and are designed to last, with capacity to add new functions, and whatever services in the future the industry will throw at us,” says Stephen Corrigan (News - Alert), vice president of sales at Yeastar.
The power adapters, supplied by MeanWell, feature an impressive mean time between failures of more than 560,000 hours, which equates to nearly 64 years. The company also upgraded the flash memory sizes, allowing the PBX to be upgraded significantly via software.
“The build quality and the components we’ve used are unlike anything out there,” Corrigan says.
We concur, the value here is remarkable.
The unit can support 100 users as well as 30 concurrent calls while an upgrade allows it to expand to 200 users and 60 concurrent calls. The system supports SMS as well as bulk SMS messaging. It runs Asterisk (News - Alert) 13, and call recording is free. There is GSM support, which can help in failover situations – and support is unlimited to dealers/resellers/VARs/MSPs. A number of phone types are supported, and we can expect more apps and phones to work with the PBX in the future.
The system was ready to go out of the box. The administrator manual showed us how to install each expansion module if we needed to. The installation guide is 122 pages in length and covers everything from marketing the IP PBX by touting some of the above features to diagrams showing the various ports.
The documentation was excellent. Everything was clear and concise and of excellent quality. Some of the areas of focus in this document include PBX Monitor, allowing an admin to monitor the status of extensions and trunks as well as a guide for users to set up email, SMS, and much more.
This product is feature-rich, providing everything a user might need. More established brands will likely have more partners that work with their PBX and more software upgrade capabilities, but those come at a much higher cost, and as we mentioned previously, Yeastar continues to expand the capabilities.
The modularized App Center is among the key features of this solution. It’s a repository that holds all non-core functions of the PBX. That includes things like LDAP, phone templates, and third-party integrations. As a result, extra non-core functionality can be downloaded to the PBX without the need to provide and install new firmware. This should equate to lower maintenance costs.
The Event Center is another important aspect of this solution. It speaks to the needs of both end users and partners, as it makes the PBX responsive on any number of failure triggers. When an event like a SIP trunk registration failure or an attempted security breach is detected, for example, the system will respond by any combination of email, a phone call to a cell number or extension, or an SMS to alert users there’s a problem.
This solution also comes with a built-in firewall, IP blocking, and other security and auto protect features.
Speaking of security, this solution allows for multi-level administration rights, so individuals or teams can manage extensions, but without having access to the infrastructure itself.
The construction of the system is solid. However, we would have liked the front ports to be labeled 1 through 8 without the need to read the manual.
We placed numerous calls and the quality was great in all cases.
We were impressed with the build-quality of the unit as well as the specs regarding the internals.
We’ve already mentioned several of the points of differentiation for this solution. However, we will reiterate here that it offers a high level of value – you get a reasonable price for what appears to be a bulletproof system. If the open source OS scares you, it shouldn’t, as at version 13 of Asterisk, it is quite stable. You also get lots of memory and the App Center allows for numerous upgrades. SMS and wireless connectivity are also two great features.
Ease of Use
The interface is clean, and we enjoyed the white on blue contrast of the menu system, which reminded us of past versions of Windows. Everything was amazingly straightforward to use, and we experienced no hiccups.
This is where the company shines. A VAR or MSP can easily compete with any cloud system by charging monthly for this IP PBX. The only thing they would miss out on is the disaster recovery features of the cloud. The system itself has wireless backup, meaning connectivity redundancy is already built in.
Having said that, you can experience cloud outages as well – so the disaster recovery advantages of cloud may be minimized if you had a long-lasting UPS and generator on your premises.
We got the sense there weren’t many people working in support out of the Texas office, but they were highly responsive and reacted quickly to help us solve any installation questions we threw at them.
Room for Improvement
We would like help from submenus when configuring and setup configuration wizards, which would have meant less time referencing the manual. We like the App Center idea and are hoping for many more apps to be brought out to keep up with more advanced features of some of the more established brands. We do, however, expect them to come out over time.
The Yeastar S100 is an incredible value. It’s insanely inexpensive for everything you get.
The company may not be well known in the U.S., but we expect that to change. Let’s put it this way: If you have 40 users, you can pick up one of these units from your reseller for potentially less than you pay a cloud vendor for one month! And, you wouldn’t need to pay any more if you add 60 more users.
For that price, you will get an IP PBX built to withstand rugged environments, wireless backup, SMS support, the ability to upgrade through apps, and the ability to double capacity on demand (at a cost, of course).
The single drawback when compared to the cloud is if you have a flood or local disaster, you won’t have phone access. But as mentioned above, cloud vendors have outages as well.
But the bottom line is that the Yeastar S100 is a highly disruptive phone system based on the solid value it presents to the market.
Edited by Alicia Young