CT Labs was asked by Technology Marketing Corporation to evaluate the Pingtel SIPxchange PBX product. CT Labs (www.ct-labs.com) performed the tests and evaluation on the Pingtel SIPxchange PBX in the CT Labs Rocklin, CA facility, concluding the effort with this report. This report appears here in abbreviated form the full report appears online at tmcnet.com/173.1.
The SIPxchange PBX product was found to be easy to install as supplied to us in its typical form as a turnkey solution. CT Labs was able to set the system up and get it working with the preconfigured desktop phones in about 30 minutes. It was slightly more difficult, however, to get the SIP softphone to register with the SIPxchange server. Overall, though, the installation was found to be straightforward.
The SIPxchange features were found to be comprehensive for a basic SIP PBX. While this was not the focus of this test, we understand that the next release (due out in October) will include many new features, including Meet-Me Conferencing and ACD features. The sidebar entitled Pingtel Version 3.0 New Features provides a list of the new features that will be announced at the Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO in Los Angeles (www.itexpo.com) on October 24.
The documentation and integrated help were found to be well-organized, easy to comprehend, and provided much helpful information. The administrative and client GUIs were easy to use with a simple structure and clearly labeled options.
Our manual testing of features and functionality went well, with calls between the variety of supplied desktop and softphones connecting properly and providing a high level of voice quality.
The excellent performance results from our automated call-handling load tests showed that the SIPxchange PBX can easily handle heavy call loads of station-to-station as well as trunk-to-station calls.
Overall, the CT Labs found the Pingtel SIPxchange to be a solid, dependable system that is easy to install and use, and provides a solid level of performance. Product evaluation scores of the CT Labs evaluation of Pingtels SIPxchange can be found in Table 1.
General Goals Of The Evaluation
The "guiding light" questions that we are attempting to answer as a result of performing the test procedures and analysis for this product are as follows:
1. How easy is it to install and set up (a) the PBX server components; (b) a client workstation; and (c) an administrative console?
2. How easy is this system to administer and maintain from (a) a local console; and (b) a remote console?
3. How easy-to-use are the products graphical user interface programs (administrative as well as client programs, if available)?
4. How do the integrated voice messaging and auto attendant features compare with typical enterprise voice mail systems in terms of feature depth?
5. How do the supported SIP Phone devices perform with respect to perceived speech quality and call handling?
6. How effective and helpful is the products documentation package?
7. How effective and helpful is the products on-line help for the products graphical user interface programs?
Vendor Equipment Provided
The vendor was asked to provide CT Labs with the following:
A fully turnkey solution with processor and memory support chosen to correctly match the production requirements for the trunk and station line density of the unit provided.
Support for standard auto attendant and voice mail features.
At least three desktop SIP phones and one Pingtel softphone.
Telephone line support requirements:
Trunk-side lines. Systems with trunk line support for T-1 CAS (robbed bit).
Station-side lines. Support for a minimum of 32 stations.
Provide CT Labs with optional installation and setup assistance by a trained system installer for one to two business days.
Pingtel supplied CT Labs with a turnkey SIPxchange system installed on a Dell PowerEdge SC420. This was connected to a Cisco Catalyst 3524-PWR XL switch, which was used for connecting all the internal phones and our workstation (used to access the administrative and client Web-based GUIs). An AudioCodes TP260 gateway card was already installed in the Dell server to provide us with T1 trunks using ISDN PRI signaling.
For the automated call-handling tests, an Empirix Hammer FX-TDM was connected via T1 to the Audio-Codes gateway on the Dell server so that the Hammer FX-TDM could place PSTN calls into the system. An Empirix Hammer FX-IP was also connected to the system via Ethernet through the Cisco switch and registered as 96 SIP station phones. For the station-to-station tests, the Hammer FX-IP used 48 of its registered SIP station channels to call the other 48 registered SIP station channels on the Hammer. For the trunk-to-station tests, the Hammer FX-TDM placed PSTN calls into 23 of the T1 trunk lines on the system and placed calls to the 96 registered SIP station channels on the Hammer FX-IP.
Installation And Configuration
A total of 30 minutes was spent connecting up all the items. From there the server was started up and station calls were placed between the pre-assigned Cisco and Polycom desktop phones. About an hour was then spent installing the Pingtel SIP softphone and registering it with the Pingtel server. While it was simple to install and set up the Pingtel SIP softphone for peer-to-peer mode, it took longer to get it set up as a registered phone on the Pingtel system. After trying to accomplish this using the Pingtel SIP Softphone documentation, CT Labs had to ultimately contact our Pingtel support representative. The rep then walked us through the registration process using the Web-based interface on the softphone itself, which was not an option that we saw in the documentation.
Pingtel noted that the Installation Guide is mainly used by resellers and system integrators, although some large enterprise customers prefer to install the software on their own networked Linux servers.
Overall, we rated the installation and configuration of the SIPxchange an 8.5.
CT Labs found this product to have a good feature set comprising all the features that most small businesses would need in a SIP PBX (with the exception of call park/pickup).
Overall, the current set of Pingtel SIPxchange features was rated an 8.7.
To read the full report online, please visit tmcnet.com/173.1. IT
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