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Cisco Phone Systems Review 2018


Cisco Logo

 


Looking for a Cisco phone system? Then you have come to the right place!

Cisco has long been a household name, especially in the Asia Pacific region.

Founded in 1984, Cisco has quickly become the largest networking company in the world.

Today, they have a significant market share in networking, with more than 72,000 employees and annual revenue of £37 Billion (2017).

They focus solely on the internet and phone communication and is continually looking to innovate to stay at the forefront of their field.

If you haven’t already decided on purchasing a Cisco phone system, this article will answer all the questions.

By the end, you will know whether they are a good option for your business.

What’s in this review?

 

How much does a Cisco phone system cost?

 

Firstly, a Cisco phone system is built up using multiple pieces of hardware. These are the different items that you will need:

  • Endpoints: Phones, video conference screens, and table speakerphones.
  • Switches: The internal switchboard that connects all your endpoints.
  • Routers: Connects your switches and endpoints to the outside world.
  • Call manager: A device that manages all your incoming and outgoing communications.

Note that all the following prices are excluding vat and shipping and will vary depending on your local distributor or Cisco partner.

 

End Points

The primary function of the whole phone system is to support your endpoints.

Unlike the background equipment, you will use your phones or video boards on a daily basis, so the better the endpoint, the better you feel about the whole system.

 

Cisco Phones

Here are some of the best phones that they have to offer. These models range from simple versions to full option phones with video capabilities.

ModelPrice
Cisco Unified SIP 3905 VoIP Phone £72.65
Cisco Unified 6901 SIP Slimline IP Phone £58.95
Cisco 6851 SIP Phone £134.49
Cisco IP Phone 7861 £171.73
Cisco Unified IP 7975 G-VoIP Phone £184.53
Cisco IP Phone 8865 £219.93

 

Room Video devices

Taking conferencing to the next level, Cisco room video devices are known as Webex team.

So, video conferencing help teams keep in touch with superior picture and audio quality.

ModelPrice
Cisco Spark Board £3,672.60
Cisco Spark Room 55 £6,522.70
Cisco Spark Room 70 £30,468.44
Cisco Telepresence MX 700 £42,013.88
Cisco Telepresence MX 800 £37,584.68
Cisco Telepresence MX 800 Dual £33,790.80

 

Switches

Switches are one of Cisco’s bread and butter products and are compatible with a variety of endpoints.

The product you choose will depend on the scale of your business; they have options for small to enterprise level businesses.

ModelPrice
Cisco SG550XG-48T-K9 £5,760.06
Cisco Industrial Ethernet 5000 Series £11,005.87
Cisco Nexus 93120TX Switch £27,520.57

 

Routers

Cisco Routers reliably connect you to the outside world.

Cisco routers are what earned them their popularity, and something in their range will suit the size of your business.

ModelPrice
Cisco ISR4451-X/K9 £4,538.42
Cisco 2010 Connected Grid Router £18,461.01
Cisco NCS5501 £56,704.62

 

Unified Communications (Call manager)

A unified communication platform can interconnect customers, coworkers, and partners from any device.

This all-in-one system makes collaboration as simple as making a phone call.

ModelPrice
Business Edition 4000 £3,749.25
Business Edition 6000 £4,863.89
Business Edition 7000 £17,615.08

 

What products does Cisco offer?

 

Cisco offers all the components to create a flawless phone system.

So, you can choose where you want to spend more for extra bells and whistles and what you can do without to control costs.

Here are their leading products:

 

Endpoints

Starting with Cisco phones, these are the components that you will see and use on a daily basis, so it’s essential to get one that will serve your purposes.

Picking the right one for you will improve your day.

Phones

ModelFeatures
Cisco Unified SIP 3905 VoIP Phone
  • Single-line IP phone
  • Up to 2 simultaneous calls
  • Monochrome display
  • Hands-free
  • Designated telephony keys
  • Wall mountable
Cisco 6851 SIP phone
  • Backlit display
  • Hearing aid compatible
  • Headset jack
  • Volume control
  • Backlit indicators
  • Call control
Cisco Unified 6901 SIP Slimline IP Phone
  • SCCP, SIP VoIP Protocols
  • DHCPP, static IP address
  • Power over the internet
  • Hearing aid compatible
  • Wall mountable
  • 1-year warranty
Cisco IP Phone 7861
  • Grayscale display
  • Hands-free
  • Dedicated keys
  • 16 programmable quick dial numbers
  • Power over the internet
  • High definition audio
Cisco Unified IP 7975 G-VoIP Phone
  • 5.6-inch colour touchscreen
  • Wideband audio
  • Hands-free
  • Ethernet switch
  • Quality of service
  • Volume control
  • Designated quick dial buttons
  • Mute function
  • One-touch voicemail
  • Headset jack
  • Navigation cluster
Cisco IP phone 8865
  • 720p HD desktop video
  • Exceptional video and audio clarity
  • Personal mobile integration
  • Bluetooth, wired and USB headset capabilities
  • Wifi fidelity
  • Five programmable direct dial keys

 

Cisco Video Rooms (Webex)

Cisco’s state-of-the-art conference rooms and boards provide superior video and audio quality to enhance all collaborating teams.

So today, Cisco uses a newer version called Webex team, and their impressive features change the traditional working environment.

ModelFeatures
Cisco Spark Board
  • 4k Ultra HD camera
  • 12-element microphone array
  • 55-inch screen
  • 1080p Full HD video
  • Bluetooth
  • Whiteboarding pen
  • Proximity technology
  • 1-point touch
Cisco Spark Room 55
  • 5k Ultra HD wide angle camera
  • 4k screen
  • Voice pick-up
  • Dual screen
  • Wifi
  • Cloud and on-site network integration
  • 10-point touch
Cisco Spark Room 70
  • Wireless presentation
  • Webex pen or finger touch
  • 70-inch touchscreen
  • 4k camera and screen
  • Built-in 12 camera array
  • Intelligent Proximity
  • A virtual team from any device
Cisco Telepresence MX 700
  • Dual 55-inch LCD monitors
  • 1080p30 HD screen
  • 1080p60 resolution camera
  • 2000w amplifier
  • Proximity intelligence
  • 10Mbps bandwidth
  • Four screen split
Cisco Telepresence MX 800
  • 70-inch LCD monitor
  • 1920 x 1080 screen resolution
  • 2x 1080p60 resolution cameras
  • 2 Cisco table microphones
  • 2000w amplifier
  • Proximity intelligence
  • 10Mbps bandwidth
  • Support Cisco touch 10
Cisco Telepresence MX 800 Dual
  • 2x 70-inch LCD monitor
  • 1920 x 1080 screen resolution
  • 2x 1080p60 resolution cameras
  • 2 Cisco table microphones
  • 2000w amplifier
  • Proximity intelligence
  • 10Mbps bandwidth
  • Support Cisco touch 10

 

Switches

They offer top-of-the-line switches for small-sized business to major data centres.

The models are all scalable, so they can grow along with your requirements.

Even if expansion isn’t your focus, the reliability of these machines will impress you.

ModelFeatures
Cisco SG550XG-48T-K9
  • High-performance 10Gb Ethernet
  • Power over Ethernet
  • 48 ports
  • Managed switch
  • Eight units per stack
  • Quality of Service
  • MAC address-based security
  • Supports 4094 VLANs
  • And 8000 IPv4 routes
  • And 4000 IPv6 routes
Cisco Industrial Ethernet 5000 Series
  • Rugged unit for challenging conditions and temperatures
  • High-performance 24Gb Ethernet
  • 28 ethernet ports
  • Robust resiliency and enhanced security
Cisco Nexus 93120TX Switch
  • 10Gb Ethernet
  • 16k longest prefix match
  • 88k hostable entries
  • 32k IPv4 routes
  • 1000 virtual routing
  • 64 multiple spanning tree instances
  • 96k MAC address table entries
  • 96 ports
  • Managed switch

 

Routers

They are the king of all things internet.

Their routers are known for reliability and are capable of running 24 hours a day seven days a week, so your business is never unreachable.

ModelFeatures
Cisco ISR4451-X/K9
  • 32 max flash memory
  • Status indicator
  • 8Gb install size
  • Rack-mountable
  • Ethernet, fast and gigabit ethernet, data link protocol
  • 16Gb max support size
  • 90-day warranty
Cisco 2010 Connected Grid Router
  • 1Gb Ram
  • 256Mb flash memory
  • Ethernet, fast ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, Data Link Protocol
  • Rack-mountable
  • Wired connectivity technology
  • Uses Cisco IOS IP Software
Cisco NCS5501
  • 800Gb max capacity
  • Cisco ISO XR software
  • 64Gb storage
  • 32Gb DRAM system memory
  • Intel 9-core processor
  • Quality of service
  • 1/10/25/40/100 Gigabit ethernet

 

Unified Communications (Call manager)

Cisco bridges the gaps between all flat forms into one unified system under their Business Edition line.

From line-phones and IP phones to conference boards and routers, Cisco Business Edition makes interconnectivity seamless between systems.

ModelFeatures
Business Edition 4000
  • 200 maximum users
  • Cloud-managed
  • Telefony and voicemail collaboration capabilities
  • 1,3 and 5-year subscriptions
  • Supports 7800, 8800 IP phone series
Business Edition 6000
  • 1000 maximum users
  • Cloud-managed
  • Voice and video calling, voicemail, conferencing and hybrid services
  • Cisco collaboration flex plan
  • Supports 7800, 8800, 6900, 3900 IP phone series
  • Jabber Soft client
  • Supports Cisco hybrid services
Business Edition 7000
  • 1000+ maximum users
  • Cloud-managed
  • 3000+ maximum devices
  • Stackable for additional capacity
  • Voice and video calling, voicemail, conferencing and hybrid services
  • Cisco collaboration flex plan
  • Supports 7800, 8800, 6900, 3900 IP phone series
  • Jabber Soft client
  • Supports Cisco hybrid services

 

What type of support can you expect?

 

As a company with worldwide operations, you are promised 24/7, world-class customer care and support.

You can ask for solutions or technical problems by calling their Technical Assistant Centers (TAC).

TACs are all licensed and run by world winning certified engineers and technicians who know their products inside and out.

Along with Cisco TAC services, their global website has a considerable amount of detail about their products, so if you prefer you can find answers for yourself.

 

Cisco Sales Team

 

Cisco takes great care when making contact with you.

The company wisely knows that excellent customer service makes loyal customers.

According to Cisco statistics, over 73% of the customers will change brands if they are mistreated, so customer service is a top priority for the company.

So what does that mean to you?

It means that you are in the best hands when it comes to purchasing from Cisco!

Cisco makes it easy and effortless on your part.

You can either buy directly from them or from one of many licensed partners that they have.

When you have made up your mind which pieces of hardware might work best for your business, Cisco will arrange a video conference with you to discuss what you need.

This way, you don’t need to leave your office to get a face-to-face service from Cisco’s experts.

 

Cisco Contracts

 

They offer lots of flexibility when you are purchasing your system, you can get by hardware outright, get help with installation or choose an ongoing service contract.

Maybe you don’t have a lot of cash to invest in an advanced Cisco communication system?

If this is the case, Cisco has you covered with their finance options. You can pay off your system over several years at a low-interest rate.

They also offer bundled hardware and service options so you can be sure your system will keep humming along perfectly.

If this pay-as-you-go option is what you are looking for, you have three contract options:

Multi-year Services
To avoid putting a large capital upfront, the Multi-year service will lock-in the price you purchased the contract and kept that price until it has been paid.

This way, you won’t have to worry about increased price changes.

Maintenance and services only
Service only option if you already have your hardware or will be mixing their hardware with other products.

Bundled Services
Get the whole package with a bundle.

This contract will cover the hardware and software that you need, as well as their service and maintenance, all for a simple monthly price.

 

What do others have to say about Cisco?

Unsurprisingly for such a large company, Cisco gets the full spectrum of online reviews from its customers.

Some customers love their products and support, and other customers are very unhappy.

Across the board, customers are happy with the quality of their hardware and talk about how long their products last.

Complaints, like those on Trustpilot, are usually about their customer service.

Despite Cisco’s focus on customer service, thing sometimes still fall through the cracks.

Some complaints from more technical customers were about staff not having all of the product knowledge that they need.

Of course, these reviews are subjective and cannot be taken as representative of all customers.

All in all, it’s safe to say that you can’t go wrong with their manufactured products, as they seem to be universally seen as excellent quality.

 

Is Cisco the best in class?

 

As one of the largest suppliers of corporate phones, they are a baseline that other suppliers can be compared against.

Below we compare Cisco to major competitors:

 

Office phones

SupplierCiscoAvayaPanasonicSamsungToshibaShoreTel
ReliabilityExceptionalVery ReliableVery ReliableReliableReliableReliable
QualityExcellentExcellentExcellentGoodGoodGood
PriceHigher endMid rangeHigher endHigher endMid rangeMid-range

As you see, it comes down to a quality/cost trade-off.

Cisco is a fantastic choice if you want a high-quality phone that will last.

But you might also be looking at Cisco’s teleconferencing and video conferencing capabilities.

Cisco’s Webex system is used by many of the largest corporations in the world, and for a good reason.

Below we compare the features of Cisco Webex with the other systems you might be looking at:

 

Teleconferencing and Videoconferencing technology

SupplierCisco WebexZoomMicrosoft Teams
Meeting Capacity1025 users500 users250 users
Webcast Capacity40,000+10,00010,000
Cloud, on-premises and hybrid system hostingYesNoNo
MPEG4 recordingYesYesNo
Content storage integrationYesYesYes
Connects with VIA H.323 and SIP devices Yes, at no costAdditional CostAdditional Cost
Personal rooms with advanced featuresYesYesLimited features
Team collaboration featuresYesNoYes
Video CallbackYesNoNo
Background noise detectionYesNoNo
Augmented reality capabilitiesLimitedNoNo
Simplified scheduling from mobile devicesYesNoNo
Native sharing from mobileYesYesNo
Prevents unauthorized meeting attendeesYesNoNo
Auto-lock personal roomYesNoNo
Secured meeting contentYesYesNo
One-button joinYesYesLimited
Support for multiple devices in a single meetingYesLimitedNo

 

Should I use Cisco?

 

Cisco serves professional, high-quality products with reliable systems.

If you choose to go with them, your system will last for a long time (until you get tempted to upgrade!) and will work like a treat.

The price might be the only downside, especially if you are a small business starting out.

If you are running a mid-sized operation looking to grow, then a Cisco system with financing could be a good choice, as you can quickly expand.

Cisco is an obvious choice for large organisations, especially those with international offices.

Video Conferencing through Webex can be a game-changer, reducing expensive travel for critical internal meetings.

Additionally, a reliable teleconference system is essential for regular meetings and projects across multiple offices.

Their WebEx system is known to be incredibly reliable and has all the tools your employees will require.

 

Final Verdict

 

Finally, Cisco is known for its excellent quality, and its name is synonymous with teleconferencing.

They manufacture a wide range of products so they can supply your entire phone setup.

This makes it easier to get support and maintenance when you need it.

However, as a high-end brand, you will be paying a bit more for your Cisco system.

But it’s superior quality and reliability will be worth the investment in the long run.

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