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  • Anyone doing ShoreTel VoIP over the Internet(VPN)?

    We recently purchased the ShoreTel system for 1 site. Over the next couple years we would like to expand it to all of our sites (6 total). The optimal solution would be to move our entire WAN to MPLS. However this is not the most cost effective solution and our organization may not be able to afford it. We currently have 2 T1's of internet bandwidth at our HQ and use Cisco PIX Hardware VPN to various types of internet connections at our branch offices.

    My question is this, has any one had good success running a VoIP system (specifically ShoreTel) over VPN on the public internet? We would have to invest in better internet connections at some sites but it would probably be cheaper than a whole new MPLS network. Any thoughts & experiences would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • #2
    Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. You just have to try, then when the calls sound like junk...you get to sit on the phone for hours trying to get the ISPs to fix some of the routes to improve ping times and decrease hop counts. It's the public internet and it's not always voice friendly, you just have to roll the dice.

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    • #3
      quality

      If you simply dont have the money,and have no other choice, maybe.

      If you need it to work without question, then its not a good idea.

      How far an area do your sites span? same city?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by eazeaz View Post
        How far an area do your sites span? same city?
        We have 2 in the same city, 2 in adjoining counties, and 1 that is about 100 miles away.

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        • #5
          We do it, we have 7 locations locally that run a VPN connection to each location. Through the VPN data and voice cross the connection. Works great if both sides have good bandwidth quality.

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          • #6
            Vpn

            If all your sites are on the same ISP, you stand a change at fair results.... if not, or if DSL is involved, you probably wont enjoy the outcome.

            Many times you can totally redesign a network, getting rid of the vpns, duplicate services, etc and not spend a ton of money. The end result is usually far superior.

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            • #7
              We do it between two sites. Quality is fair to poor, but then so is the Internet connection at one of the sites. We put in place a traffic shaping device which has helped immensely.

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              • #8
                I've had great success using Sonicwall TZ 170's to VPN two sites together, and then running both IP phones and soft phones between sites.

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                • #9
                  IP VPN's often disappoint. What you can try to do to mitigate your non QoS connection is to only allow 4 digit calling between sites.

                  Therefore don't allow users at site A to use trunks at Site B (via class of service) and vice versa.

                  Try to point 800 numbers to the local offices (if possible) instead of pointing all 800 at the main site.

                  If possible, try to use the same internet provider for all the locations, if possible.

                  Utilize local voice mails at each remote site, to prevent using the WAN for voice mail. In the near future the V boxes will provide this functionality but until they are more stable, use Distributed Voicemail Servers.

                  Ken

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                  • #10
                    We do it from NYC (branch office, 1.5Mb) to California (HQ, 3.0Mb) over a Cisco vpn for 3 or so users. It works ok but not 100%. Adding QoS in both routers is a must but QoS still can't help inbound traffic much so you are at the mercy of the net.
                    I couldn't add a switch in NYC so everything runs over the internet. What was disappointing was that without an additional switch in ShoreTel 8 I could not define the branch office as a separate site so couldn't increase it's compression without affecting HQ. Tried it anyway - G.729 and the call quality was terrible, now running in wideband again.
                    Also for local NYC DIDs had to go to a SIP provider then forward them to our PRI. felt like a bit of a hack..

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                    • #11
                      Works great!

                      We have 9 offices around the country that use the ShoreTel system over our VPN and it works great! In most locations we use Cisco routers, but in a few we are using Watchguard. 7 offices use T1 lines, one uses DSL, and one uses 20Mb cable. The only office that ever seems to have any issues is the office with the cable connection (VPN is always going down).

                      The calls are very clear more than 95% of the time. The only issues we really have are with the ShoreTel SIP conference phones. Sometimes the connection to these phones are poor, and very random.

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                      • #12
                        T1 experience

                        Before we moved to MPLS, we had 1 T1 dedicated at each of the 2 locations in separate counties (and carriers). The locations were about 35 miles apart.

                        On a Shoretel7 system, configured at 8k between sites, we used to get about 15-17 simultaneous calls before they started to break up, keeping in mind observing would count as 2 calls. When the calls did break up, it affected everyone at the same time, possibly dropping all the calls.

                        I did tweak the VPN settings at the time, pinging between locations to see what encryption levels gave me the best speeds and lowest latency.

                        At most times it worked great, but we moved to MPLS because it never goes down, and the speed and latency between locations is excellent.

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                        • #13
                          I was going to suggest the same (MPLS) , it is the only way you can get SLA's via the public internet.

                          And most clients should be able to understand this solution - once you point out the fact that the public internet there is really is no control on what may take place and for VOIP , that is not so good when your running remote office locations with more than one phone.

                          We have had fair success with Site to Site VPN's using SonicWall with one home based phone over cable networks but there were times that the connection would die for a bit of time or choppy voice and such.

                          Since you went to MPLS I can see by your post it was a much better case , any issues rear their ugly head ? What about the cost , is MPLS costly?

                          Cheers,

                          -DS


                          Originally posted by dish1up View Post
                          Before we moved to MPLS, we had 1 T1 dedicated at each of the 2 locations in separate counties (and carriers). The locations were about 35 miles apart.

                          On a Shoretel7 system, configured at 8k between sites, we used to get about 15-17 simultaneous calls before they started to break up, keeping in mind observing would count as 2 calls. When the calls did break up, it affected everyone at the same time, possibly dropping all the calls.

                          I did tweak the VPN settings at the time, pinging between locations to see what encryption levels gave me the best speeds and lowest latency.

                          At most times it worked great, but we moved to MPLS because it never goes down, and the speed and latency between locations is excellent.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Talkshore View Post
                            What about the cost , is MPLS costly?
                            When we looked into MPLS about 6 months ago, it was too expensive for us. The cheapest sites were $550/month, others that were farther away from AT&T's POP were $800, & $1000 a month. And AT&T was the cheapest carrier for us, as most of our sites are in their area. We're still on VPN for now. We can't justify $550/month (or more) for offices with 10-15 people in them.

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                            • #15
                              T1 codec question

                              Currently we have a 10Mbit fiber to our HQ and just deployed 7 phones at a branch office just 2 miles away that have a full T1 for data. The branch office is connected via a Cisco PIX 501 tunneled to a Cisco hardware VPN concentrator. Average ping is 23 ms with no traffic. There are a total of 7 thin clients at the office so there isn't a whole lot of data traffic to worry about. At both offices data and voice reside on their own vlans on layer 3 switches.


                              Now for my question: which codec would you recommend to handle 10-12 calls. I don't ever see this happening but I should plan for it. I saw the installation guide for 8.1 had a chart to setup Admission Control Bandwidth, so that information would be good to know as well. From what I have read an Intra site call doesn't count against ACB, so I guess this only pertains to inter site?

                              Just looking to see if I need to edit the sites codecs list...seems like many admins create their own list instead of leaving the defaults. Currently the intra using High Quality, while inter is using Medium Quality. Am I wrong to assume that Inter site means my HQ to my branch office.

                              Any input on these questions is GREATLY appreciated. Thanks in advance!
                              Last edited by hollow; 05-14-2009, 10:02 PM.

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