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Product Reviews
June 2002

WebSwitch 2000

Ericsson, Inc.
1555 Adams Dr.
Menlo Park, CA 94025-1439
Web site: www.ericsson.com

Price: $450 per user for this sample configuration: 1 WS2000 M4 (4 slot chassis), 1 T1 card (will do T1 or ISDN PRI), 32 IP channels (supports 32 concurrent calls from the trunk side to the IP phones), 32 Ericsson 3413 IP phones, 1 Operator Work Station License, 48 One Box Lite (Unified Messaging) Licenses

Editor's Choice Award

Installation: 5
Documentation: 4
Features: 4.5
GUI: 3.75
Overall: A-

Ericsson�s WebSwitch 2000 IP-PBX has certainly evolved considerably since TMC Labs first test-drove it back in March 1999. The WebSwitch sported a bright reddish-orange color in a small 1U-size format that further enhanced its image as a �pizza box� IP-PBX. Originally owned by TouchWave, Ericsson bought TouchWave�s WebSwitch product and has added several new features and switched to a more subdued blue color. We examined the WebSwitch 2000, which is capable of linking the remote/branch offices of larger corporations as well as migrating your current circuit-switched PBX into the VoIP realm.

The WebSwitch 2000 comes in two models: The M2 (smaller unit) and the M4 (larger unit). Each unit offers business-class voice services on a real-time operating system, and includes key features such as automated attendant, voicemail, unified messaging, CTI, third-party application support, and call logging. The D.N.A. Application Suite (operator console) for the WebSwitch 2000, OneBox UM Lite, and Phone Manager (desktop call control) are value-add applications. Additionally the WebSwitch 2000 supports standard H.323 compliant gateways and gatekeepers as well as H.323 compliant terminals.

Two of Ericsson�s engineers came to TMC Labs to assist in the installation and demonstration. Installing the WebSwitch 2000 was such a piece of cake we almost felt guilty that Ericsson flew all the way out from California to Connecticut to aid in the installation. However, they took us through several of the advanced features that saved us the time it would have taken to figure it out on our own. The WebSwitch 2000 was pre-configured with IP settings and several extensions already set up, so installation was simply a matter of connecting Ethernet, power, and phone wires.

However, because we were curious how easy it was to configure the WebSwitch from scratch, we had Ericsson demonstrate a �scratch� template configuration and then added extensions, voice mail boxes, operator extensions, etc. We were able to configure a fully operating IP-PBX with auto-attendant and voice mail in less than five minutes, which resulted in the excellent �5� rating for Installation.

The WebSwitch architecture supports up to 96 extensions (IP and analog combined) and up to 76 trunks (IP, analog, and digital combined). Additionally, it supports up to 32 analog trunks and up to two digital (E1/T1) trunks. In addition, the architecture provides the �heartbeat� to any other WebSwitches on your network. If one of the WebSwitches fails, it will disconnect that WebSwitch from the �cloud� and offer alternate routing. It also features a �common dialing� plan to allow end-users to simply make calls and let the WebSwitch worry about how to route the call. One example of this convenience is that you can access fellow employees simply by dialing their extension even if the employee�s extension is located across the IP network on a different WebSwitch.

The WebSwitch supports autoattendant, ACD/call queuing, and offers user prompts in various languages. The voice mail system features a 60-hour storage capacity per WebSwitch 2000 and up to 100 messages may be stored per extension. Also, up to two personalized greetings per user are available. In addition each unit is TAPI, CSTA, and TSAPI compliant for integration with third-party applications. It also creates call detail records for call accounting packages.

Other features include:

  • SNMP v2 support;
  • Direct inward dialing (DID) Support;
  • Operator groups;
  • Gateway for incoming Web-based callers (�click-to-call� applications); and
  • Gatekeeper registration for H.323 wireless and wired IP terminals.

We used Empirix�s Hammer VQT system to measure latency and voice quality. The results for G.711 codec were a PSQM score of 0.35 (excellent) with a latency average of 100ms. Considering the latency was roundtrip � from a Hammer T1 into the 1st WebSwitch, then across an IP network into the 2nd WebSwitch and finally out a 2nd T1 back into the Hammer � 100ms was very good. We changed to the G.729ab codec, which resulted in 13ms more latency (due to compression) and a very respectable 1.99 PSQM score. Also, the WebSwitch lets you set the attenuation gain on the voice in case it is too loud or too soft.

WebSwitch�s TFTP provides Layer 2 and Layer 3 support for quality of service (QoS). For Layer 2, it supports IEEE�s 802.1D/802.1P/802.1Q layer 2 class of service (CoS) priority tagging. For Layer 3, it supports RFC-791 Internet Protocol Type of Service (ToS), and RFC-2474 Differentiated Services Field (DS Field). The protocols supported include H.323 v2, H.225, H.245, G.711, G.723.1, G.729ab, and GSM EFR coding support. Other capabilities include G.168 echo cancellation, Adaptive Voice Activity Detection (VAD) for silence suppression, and Adaptive Comfort Noise Generation (CNG). With all of these standards supported, it�s no wonder the voice calls sounded so good.

The WebSwitch 2000 chassis is available with two (M2) or four (M4) universal slots. These slots may contain a 16-port analog extension card, an eight-port analog trunk card or a digital trunk card (supporting a range of protocols such as ISDN/QSIG PRI and CAS for E1 or T1 markets) in any combination. For VoIP capabilities, VPM cards, scalable from eight to 32 concurrent IP channels per WebSwitch, can be added.

The WebSwitch 2000 features a distributed architecture allowing it to daisy-chain up to 20 WebSwitches on the same LAN or across a WAN on multiple sites to form a WebSwitch cluster. If more capacity is necessary, additional WebSwitch clusters can be networked via an external gatekeeper using the standard H.323 protocol.

WebSwitch Net Manager
The Net Manager application displays the WebSwitch 2000 settings through a Windows-based app using a tree-like hierarchal structure. We liked Net Manager quite a bit since we were able to quickly and easily configure multiple WebSwitches and download (or retrieve) the configurations to each WebSwitch.

Wireless VoIP Test
As part of our test setup, Ericsson shipped us a Symbol Technologies� wireless (802.11b) Net Vision voice and data IP phone and a Unidata H.323 phone to prove interoperability with third-party phones. We made test calls using the Symbol wireless IP phone and the Unidata phone. In both cases the voice quality was excellent.
Next, we tested the ability to get an outside trunk line from a remote WebSwitch. From the Norwalk WebSwitch M4, we picked up the receiver, hit the route code �00� to reach the San Francisco WebSwitch M2 and received a second dial tone.

WebSwitch Phone Manager
WebSwitch Phone Manager features desktop call control as well as visual voice mail, configurable address books, speed dial, redial, caller ID, call history, call notification, and user roaming. Overall, this application was pretty feature-rich, but we felt the GUI could use some sprucing up. Another desktop call control application we tested was the D.N.A. Operator Workstation (OWS). It�s a Windows-based attendant console that combines operator-specific telephony features with directory and messaging capabilities, to make operators and receptionists� jobs much easier. The D.N.A. directory is based on SQL 2000/MSDE 2000 and supports up to 250,000 directory entries. Like the Phone Manager, it was feature-rich, but it too could use some sprucing up of its GUI.

Voice Mail
The WebSwitch comes with OneBox UM Lite, which unifies voice mail, e-mail, and fax into one POP3-compliant inbox. Currently, the WebSwitch stores voice mail on its own internal hard drive, which means it�s actually �integrated messaging� as opposed to true �unified messaging.� True unified messaging is where the voice mail, faxes, and e-mail are all stored in the same information store. However, not having true unified messaging is not necessarily a disadvantage in this case. Having integrated messaging is especially convenient for branch offices that do not have local Exchange Servers or have to synchronize across leased data lines to a centralized Exchange Server � this is well known to chew up leased-line bandwidth. Also, if the voice messages were stored on a centralized Exchange Server (or other e-mail server), playback of voice messages could easily clog the leased lines due to their file size. Nevertheless, we�d like to see WebSwitch offer a �true� unified messaging option.

We had a minor usability complaint with managing the voice messages from within Outlook. In order to delete the voice message, you had to first click on a drop-down box, and then choose the icon for deleting the voice mail. However, this action only deletes the voice mail message from the WebSwitch�s hard drive � it doesn�t actually delete the e-mail message within Outlook. Thus, you then have to click Outlook�s delete button to delete the e-mail message as well. Thus, a �one-click� delete feature would be nice (Amazon �one-click� lawsuit not withstanding). Currently, the WebSwitch only supports POP3, thus we�d like to see IMAP4 support in a future release.

Since TMC Labs has tested so many phone systems, we find features in other products that make us want to see that feature in the product we�re currently testing. We currently use a phone system that has no OGM limit. We like the ability to have a standard �in office� OGM that is static, a second static �I�m out for the day� message. Finally, we like to have a third OGM that is dynamic and is re-recorded depending on the circumstance, such as on vacation, currently away at a trade show, etc. This allows you to toggle between �I�m out for the day� and the standard in the office message without having to overwrite the I�m out for the day greeting when you need a more specific out of office greeting.

Currently, using WebSwitch you can only have up to two personalized outgoing messages (OGM) per user; essentially an �in office� message and an �out of office� message. We�d like to see this increased. Also, we�d like to be able to quickly change the OGM on the fly from the Phone Manager app.

Another feature we�d like to see is the ability to make system changes without having to reboot the WebSwitch. We were told that this feature will be available soon. We had difficulties figuring out how to map each physical IP phone to a specific extension number. Usually this is done by mapping the MAC address to a specific extension number, however this didn�t appear to be a feature available from the administration GUI.

Finally, we�d like to see some improvement in the desktop call control applications, including the operator console and the Phone Manager applications. They both appear antiquated in their style, having a Windows 3.1 �feel� to them, as opposed to a Windows 98 or Windows XP type �feel� to them.

There are several reasons why TMC Labs liked the WebSwitch 2000. It�s quite powerful and feature-rich considering its compact size, and we liked that it�s H.323-compliant and also works quite nicely with Symbol�s wireless IP phones. The configuration and administration of the WebSwitch 2000 was so simple, VARs, interconnects, and even the corporate telecom guy would certainly love the product. Although we had several suggestions in the Room for Improvement section, except for the desktop call control GUI, they were all very minor in nature and would merely put the �finishing touches� on a fine product. TMC Labs would highly recommend the WebSwitch 2000 for small to medium sized businesses and branch offices looking to move to a converged VoIP platform.

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