Posted by: paragon | January 2, 2009

ShoreTel IP Voice PBX: What’s New in ShoreTel Version 8?

The ShoreWare Call Manager is given a whole new look in ShoreTel 8. A new, more modern user interface has been created that both improves the visual look of the application, but also improves the usability as well.

In this release, ShoreTel introduces a new modular window design that locates supporting features such as visual voice voicemail, call history, directory, and the speed dial list directly in the Call Manager window. Each feature is accessed via the selection of a TAB located at the bottom of the window instead of requiring a separate window be opened.

The user interface has also been re-organized to simplify in-call management. Previously, users were required to take two (2) steps to access common features such as transfer, conference, and hold. They had to first select the call they wanted to act on and then select the desired action at the top of the window. In the new ShoreTel 8 release, in-call management features are now located immediately beside the call information enabling more intuitive feature access.

Office AnywhereTM configuration is simplified in the improved Personal Call Manager as well. Users can now access their Office Anywhere settings directly from the Personal Call Manager window without first opening the options window and the application now remembers previous settings enabling rapid changes between frequently used numbers.

The Personal Call manager continues to provide inbound call information, a directory, Outlook Integration, QuickDialing for making calls and easy access to end- users options as before. The application also still sup­ports multiple display modes including the full detailed view, the smaller compact view but now adds two (2) new docking views, on left and right side, in addition to the previously available top and bottom views.

The Personal Call Manager now supports the display of phone presence for users when dialing using the QuickDialer. This feature, previously provided via the Advanced Call Manager, is now part of the Personal Call Manager. With this release and the integration of telephony status displays into the Personal Call Manager, the Advanced Call Manager is discontinued. Upon upgrade, all Advanced Call Manager users will be migrated to the Personal Call Manager which now contains the phone presence display and other features previously only available in the Advanced Call Manager.

ShoreWare Professional Call Manager

In ShoreTel 8, a brand new Call Manager option is introduced. The Professional Call Manager brings a consolidated or unified communications environment right to the end- users desktop. The Professional Call Manager includes all the capabilities of the enhanced Personal Call Manager (described above) but adds to this rich

video calling, soft phone capabilities, a Contact Viewer, and the ability to integrated with 3rd party presence servers to provide integrated IM and presence. More details on these new features are include:

Video Easy to use point to point video supporting 640×480 bit resolution is integrated into the new Professional Call Manager. To support this new video feature, ShoreTel is using the state-of-the-art video codec called H.264/SVC which provides minimal latency, real-time video that is highly resilient to network congestions. This enables high quality video that can be sustained through periods of network congestion.

Contact Viewer A user configured display that lists key colleagues with their current phone presence. Users select the people they communicate with most and add them to the contact list for quick access. When the added contact is a member of the enterprise and a user of the ShoreTel system, the Contact Viewer also provides a full time display of the user’s phone presence.

SoftPhone The integrated soft phone allows users to turn their personal computer into their telephone when connected to a suitable broadband connection to the enterprise.

IM and Presence The Professional Call Manager provides user’s access to other user’s IM presence information and the ability to send and receive instant messages to/from other users through the Microsoft LCS 2005 server. Acting as a client to the Microsoft presence server, the call manager consolidates this capability with the voice and video features of the Professional Call Manager to provide a unified communications experience. .

Email Support Once a contact is found via the QuickDialer, users are now also given the option of emailing the identified contact.

SIP Device Interface ShoreTel 8 introduces integrated support for SIP endpoints, devices, and applications that comply with RFC 3261. SIP devices are supported by the ShoreTel Voice Switches, without the need for additional servers, as extensions on the ShoreTel system making it easy for users to leverage these devices.

Users that choose to use a SIP device have access to a sub-set of the features available to users that select ShoreTel handsets. For more details, please consult the the ShoreTel 8 Release Notes.

When configured as an extension, SIP devices will be dial-able by the system, included in the auto-attendant dial-by-name directory, have an associated voice mail box. Registered SIP devices can also be monitored via ShoreWare Director e.g. in the IP Phones page. These are features previously not available to SIP devices when configured with the SIP trunk interfaces.

New ShoreGear Switches

Along with ShoreTel 8, ShoreTel is introducing two (2) new ShoreGear voice switches.

ShoreGear 30 The ShoreGear 30 is a micro site switch targeted for branch locations with up to ten (10) users. The switch is packaged in ShoreTel’s newer 1 U, half width rack design. It supports 10 IP phones users, two (2) analog phones or FXS ports, and two (2) analog trunk (FXO) ports. In a typically small branch configuration, the switch would be deployed with 10 ShorePhone IP Telephones, two (2) fax machines, and 1 to 2 analog trunks for emergency services. Voice mail and trunking would be provided for the site by the main or headquarters location.

The ShoreGear 30 includes ShoreTel’s distributed call processing software insuring that telephony services for the remote location will be fully reliable during WAN outages. During these outages, local analog trunks would be used for PSTN dialing. In addition, a second switch can be deployed at the location when redundant services are required. In that configuration, the ShorePhone IP Telephones will automatically switch to the second ShoreGear 30 should a problem arise with communicating with the first switch.

The analog ports on the ShoreGear 30 can be recon­figured to support additional IP phones. Each analog port reconfigured for IP phone support enables the switch to support five (5) additional IP telephones. When all four (4) ports are re-configured for IP phones, the switch supports a total of thirty (30) IP phones.

The analog phone ports can also be configured to support either SIP trunks or SIP devices.

ShoreGear 24A The final addition to the ShoreGear family is the ShoreGear 24A Voice Switch. The ShoreGear 24A is a new switch developed specifically to support customers with a need for higher density analog phone deployments. This full-width Voice Switch provides 24 analog extension (FXS) ports for connecting analog phones or fax machines. The ShoreGear 24A can be reconfigured to provide 24 “make-me” conference ports.

System Security

128-Bit Encryption ShoreTel 8 enhances overall system security by increasing the strength of the integrated media encryption and by improving the security measures through which access to the system’s built- in diagnostics tools are protected.

In previous versions of the ShoreTel system, end-users calls could be encrypted using a 64-bit encryption key. With this security in place, it made listening in on ShoreTel calls difficult. In ShoreTel 8, the encryption process is hardened through the use of a 128-bit encryption key making it far more difficult to eavesdrop on calls.

Diagnostic Utilities The ability to access diagnostics tools is further secured in ShoreTel 8. The increased security measures apply to the ipbxctl, phonectl, and burn-flash diagnostics tools.

Enhanced Manageability

Voice Mail Reporting Voice Mail reports are added to the ShoreWare Director application in ShoreTel 8 to provide the administrator tools to monitor voice mail disk space utilization. Similar to other reporting tools in ShoreWare Director, voice mail reporting is provided on multiple levels. When first accessed by the administrator, the system will provide a system level report. From this report, any individual server can be accessed to view a more detailed, server level report.

System Voice Mail Report The system voice mail report lists usage statistics for all servers in the ShoreTel system including the Headquarter Server and all Distributed Voice Services servers. This system report lists voice mail resource data for each server in the ShoreTel system.

Server Voice Mail Report When an individual server is selected from the system report, a second layer of statistics is reported via server report. The server report reports voice mail usage information for the specified server and for users assigned to that server.

The report lists usage statistics for the fifty (50) largest mailboxes on the server. The mailboxes are sorted in order of the amount of disk space used and provide total storage usage and message count and age for new, old, and saved messages.

Logging Voice Switch Maintenance Commands Administrators can control switch maintenance oper­ations from Quick Look pages in ShoreWare Director. Starting in ShoreTel 8, maintenance commands invoked on ShoreGear Voice switches will be logged in the Windows Event Log on the server. With this feature, details of the maintenance commands issued, including who initiated the command are logged and can be easily traced when needed.

New ShoreTel IP Telephony Features

In ShoreTel 8, additional telephony features are provided that enable the system to better meet customer requirements. Key additions include extended codec and codec negotiation options, ring-down, support for call-by-call signaling on 4ESS trunks, and the ability to forward calls on monitored extensions to voicemail.

Expanded Codec Support

In ShoreTel 8, new options are added for media encoding. Three new codec options are added. Any of the three can be selected for inter and intra side calls. The new options are:  G.722 | BV-32 | BV-16

Codec Negotiation In ShoreTel 8, the system now supports a SIP negotiation method that complies with the Offer / Answer model defined in RFC 3264. This permits codec negotiation between endpoints for multi-media communication sessions that include simultaneous audio, video, and data.

Ring Down Ring down enables automatic dialing from one telephone to one or more destinations. Ring down is activating a call by pushing a particular button on a phone or lifting a handset on a phone dedicated to automatic ring down operation. No dialing is required to initiate a ‘ring down’ call.

When the feature is used, the target phone rings continuously until answered or the calling party replaces the handset to cancel the call. Ring down ‘circuits’ may be configured as unidirectional or bidirectional meaning that they can be configured with a fixed source-destination configuration or can be configured such that either side of the configuration can be the source and start the call and either side can be the destination and receive the call.

Call By Call Signaling Support on 4ESS Trunks In previously releases, the ShoreTel system did not support call-by-call signaling on 4ESS trunks. This configuration is used by ATT on their 4ESS trunks and the lack of support for this configuration required partners to have to contact ATT on each install and request this feature be disabled. Starting in ShoreTel 8, call-by-call signaling is now supported. It is activated when SDN or MEGACOM services are selected. This removes the need for ShoreTel partners to request AT&T reconfigure the trunk

Additional Changes in ShoreTel 8 In ShoreTel 8, the migration from “JET” database technology (also referred to as Microsoft Access) to MySQL is completed. Previously, the CDR database was migrated to the new MySQL infrastructure. In ShoreTel 8, the configuration database is migrated and the two databases are combined. The database continues to reside on the Headquarter Server.

This change to the database infrastructure provides enhanced performance, higher reliability, and lays the groundwork for larger system capacity.

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS

ShoreTel 8 is a released for use in the United States ONLY. The software will not support any site located outside of the United States. Systems with international sites configured CANNOT be upgraded to ShoreTel 8.

The ShoreGear 24A includes ShoreTel’s distributed call processing software insuring that telephony services for the remote location will be fully reliable during WAN outages. The ShoreGear 24A does not support IP Telephones, SIP trunks, or SIP device interfaces.

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