Cisco, Avaya, Asterisk, Infinity – choosing VOIP for your boss

Let’s start …


Cisco is a popular brand, and brands want everything. Not everyone has money on them, but this circumstance only fuels the interest in Cisco from the side of business structures. So suddenly, Cisco becomes an indicator of the rating of companies. Cisco provides a comprehensive solution that includes computing, network, storage area network, security and L4-7 services. In addition, they provide a large number of options and many opportunities for scaling data centers.

Cisco provides FEX (Fabric Extenders) for Gigabit Ethernet, unified ports. Using DCB (Data Center Bridging) allows an Ethernet-based network to transport LAN / SAN traffic.

However, the adjustment will cost a decent amount. Plus, even with the instructions in hand, not every guru can figure out what is inside. To administer this system, you need to purchase a license, as well as pay for training your specialist or call for a specialist from Cisco, which is also far from cheap.

Adding new users, expanding the number of IP-phones, etc. needs the investment. At the same time, you will not have this problem with Asterisk. You can add as many subscribers as possible, you would have enough skills or wit to ask on the Internet from more knowledgeable people.

They say that you will need a specialist only if you want to integrate Cisco. And to install additional modules of VOIP interfaces, FANSO or other cards, you again need licenses.

Cisco produces its own equipment, so if the company does not get the budget for a fully-equipped PBX with the appropriate marking, the opportunity to put the software itself also disappears.

Cisco adequately works with any PBX, but here with the Cisco PBX – not all IP-phones work. Cisco offers a complete set of virtualized products: Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Switches, Virtualized Security Gateway (VSG), virtual network access module (vNAM) and Virtual Wide Area Application Services (vWAAS). But the extensibility of Cisco software is seriously limited when it comes to the integration of unified communications providers.


Avaya has not gone far from Cisco in terms of services provided. It is the same ready-made automatic telephone exchange with own equipment. Reliability, as a rule, is based on cost, because most executives consider expensive = reliable, and explaining them to the contrary will cost you tremendous efforts. It may be customized by a trained specialist, or you can do it yourself if you understand the intricate instructions.

Call Center Avaya uses voice recognition technology that, with outgoing calls, increases the number of connections with a person, not with IVR, fax or voice mail. Avaya works with Communication Manager, which in turn exits MutiVantage. Because of what, our opinion is – there are many unnecessary functions, settings, etc. For example, the quality of documentation lacks pretty much.

Avaya produces a very good equipment. You can work on it. But, naturally, if you already have Cisco, it’s better to put Cisco. Your administrator only learned the instructions, how to retrain already. Do not interfere with these two platforms together, unless you are, of course, a guru with a lot of experience.


Infinity wins by convenience and simplicity: it has a great functionality on statistics, to collect information from IVR. At the same time, the Asterisk is also simple in usage and it has all the same options, but you need a person who would show you how to configure VoIP system. Unlike other platforms with a mostly tree-like IVR-menu, Infinity made it graphic. It is well visualized, and it’s not only user-friendly but also convenient.

The huge downside from our point of view is that Infinity runs on Windows, while others prefer a more reliable Linux. Should we explain that there will be more bugs?

Again, Asterisk also has a similar interface, but they come in the form of separate modules, including OpenSource. If there are a desire and a little time, then you can put it and sort it out.


The asterisk stands out most of all from this group with one significant indicator: Asterisk software does not need additional licenses, both when connecting additional SIP numbers, and when integrating with plug-ins.

Moreover, any system administrator can google search and find relevant topics in the forums for setting up Asterisk. Moreover, the instruction is clearer and more convenient if the specialist is really a specialist, and did not come to you from the street. Therefore, you do not need to spend extra money for training or calling tech support.

Failures happen, but they are easier to eliminate and they do not cause such a stormy panic as when working with popular brands. Well, Asterisk is a less popularized platform. Although many people know about it. And all because in theory Asterisk can perform all functions as well as the above analogs, if only there is a specialist developer.

Let’s sum up:

Again a bit of our personal and deeply subjective opinion. Having studied the options, and while not having prices from suppliers to implement a “turnkey”, we prefer Asterisk. The price consists of 3 components: Cost of equipment (IP phones, gateways) + cost of telephone platform and software + cost of adjustment.

The cost of equipment, in fact, is not significant, because It can be selected for use with all VOIP-systems, so the cost of the telephone platform + setting becomes the main ones. Therefore, you can purchase equipment and try to set up the Asterisk. If everything goes well, we are sure your management will like this option.