Ericssonï¿½s 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 ï¿½pizza boxï¿½ IP-PBX. Originally
owned by TouchWave, Ericsson bought TouchWaveï¿½s 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 Ericssonï¿½s 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 ï¿½scratchï¿½ 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 ï¿½5ï¿½ 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 ï¿½heartbeatï¿½
to any other WebSwitches on your network. If one of the WebSwitches fails,
it will disconnect that WebSwitch from the ï¿½cloudï¿½ and offer alternate
routing. It also features a ï¿½common dialingï¿½ 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 employeeï¿½s 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
Other features include:
- SNMP v2 support;
- Direct inward dialing (DID) Support;
- Operator groups;
- Gateway for incoming Web-based callers (ï¿½click-to-callï¿½
- Gatekeeper registration for H.323 wireless and wired IP terminals.
We used Empirixï¿½s 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 ï¿½ 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 ï¿½ 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.
WebSwitchï¿½s TFTP provides Layer 2 and Layer 3 support for quality of
service (QoS). For Layer 2, it supports IEEEï¿½s 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, itï¿½s 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
Wireless VoIP Test
As part of our test setup, Ericsson shipped us a Symbol Technologiesï¿½
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 ï¿½00ï¿½ 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). Itï¿½s a Windows-based attendant console that combines
operator-specific telephony features with directory and messaging
capabilities, to make operators and receptionistsï¿½ 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.
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 itï¿½s actually ï¿½integrated
messagingï¿½ as opposed to true ï¿½unified messaging.ï¿½ 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 ï¿½ 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, weï¿½d like to see
WebSwitch offer a ï¿½trueï¿½ unified messaging option.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
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 WebSwitchï¿½s
hard drive ï¿½ it doesnï¿½t actually delete the e-mail message within
Outlook. Thus, you then have to click Outlookï¿½s delete button to delete
the e-mail message as well. Thus, a ï¿½one-clickï¿½ delete feature would be
nice (Amazon ï¿½one-clickï¿½ lawsuit not withstanding). Currently, the
WebSwitch only supports POP3, thus weï¿½d like to see IMAP4 support in a
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 weï¿½re
currently testing. We currently use a phone system that has no OGM limit. We
like the ability to have a standard ï¿½in officeï¿½ OGM that is static, a
second static ï¿½Iï¿½m out for the dayï¿½ 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 ï¿½Iï¿½m out for the dayï¿½ and the standard in
the office message without having to overwrite the Iï¿½m 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 ï¿½in officeï¿½ message and
an ï¿½out of officeï¿½ message. Weï¿½d like to see this increased. Also, weï¿½d
like to be able to quickly change the OGM on the fly from the Phone Manager
Another feature weï¿½d 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 didnï¿½t appear to
be a feature available from the administration GUI.
Finally, weï¿½d 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 ï¿½feelï¿½ to them, as opposed to a Windows 98 or Windows XP type ï¿½feelï¿½
There are several reasons why TMC Labs liked the WebSwitch 2000. Itï¿½s
quite powerful and feature-rich considering its compact size, and we liked
that itï¿½s H.323-compliant and also works quite nicely with Symbolï¿½s
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 ï¿½finishing touchesï¿½
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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