This all-in-one small business router includes a smart phone system.
Looking to modernise your business’s phone system to take advantage of lower-priced Voice-over-IP (VoIP) calls and advanced business features? A cloud-based virtual PBX such as the service offered by MyNetFone makes this relatively easy.
However, if you prefer to run your own IP PBX in your office, the DrayTek VigorBX 2000ac router is a good, affordable way to do this. You’ll need a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trucking service from the likes of Optus or MyNetFone to connect to the public telephone network, but the IP PBX itself is on-site in the router.
We’re big fans of DrayTek’s small business routers, and the VigorBX 2000ac delivers combines their trademark strengths with the integrated IP PBX. Along with dual-band 802.11ac wireless, it offers triple wide-area network redundancy, a firewall with Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI), optional web-content filtering and all the virtual private network (VPN) services you can eat.
It works brilliantly as a small business IP PBX, with support for 12 SIP trunks, 50 IP phone extensions and 20 simultaneous calls. Call handling features are extensive, and include dial plans, hunt groups, voice mail, an auto-attendant and much more.
The router's web interface provides plenty of wizards covering initial setup, VPNs and, of course, management of the IP PBX itself. WAN failover support is excellent: the router has an integrated ADSL2+/VDSL2 interface, along with a Gigabit WAN port, and will accept a 3G or 4G USB adapter.
Via the Ethernet WAN port, we had internet access running in under minute, enabling us to jump right into the IP PBX. Our first job was to link the router to our SIP trunking provider, which was as easy as you could ask for: after we'd entered our account details, the web portal immediately showed it as registered.
We then defined our office hours, so the auto-attendant could give appropriate messages to callers depending on the time of day, and set about creating extensions. For each of these, the process lets you define a unique number, create a user account with a password and a voicemail PIN, and specify which SIP trunks they're allowed to use. It's also possible to set certain extensions to use PSTN lines, so you're covered if internet access goes down.
Next, we customised each extension's call answering modes: if a call goes unanswered for so many seconds, is busy or offline, it can be passed to voicemail, forwarded to another extension or group or passed to the auto-attendant. For general call handling, the IP PBX comes with a bunch of predefined messages, but to use the auto-attendant you'll need to record some messages of your own, using a regular phone on one of the analogue ports. Once this is done, a wizard takes you through all the necessary steps to ensure a caller gets to the right person.
Incoming voicemail is, by default, stored on the router's embedded NAND flash. This offers a decent amount of space: after we'd left ourselves nine messages, totalling around 4.5 minutes, it showed 99% capacity still remaining. You can prevent chatty callers from eating up all your storage by limiting messages to 30 or 60 seconds: those who need a bigger buffer can plug in a USB flash drive and use that instead. If you've set up an SMTP mail server for the router, voicemails can also be forwarded to their recipients as email attachments and immediately deleted from its internal storage.
Sadly, the extension auto-provisioning feature proved to be a non-starter with our Yealink IP phones: we entered their MAC addresses as requested, but they refused to pick up profiles. This wasn't a deal-breaker, as we were able to register them by manually entering account details in each phone's web interface, but having to do this for every user could be an annoyance for a larger office.
Trying out DrayTek's free Windows softphone wasn't a seamless experience either. The utility is over five years old, and refused to work with the integrated audio systems on four of our test PCs. It did install successfully on a PC with a Creative Labs sound card; then we found that IP PBX auto-discovery didn't work either, so we had to enter account details manually.
These provisioning issues may make it a tedious task to get set up, but this router can't be faulted for its call-handling features. Small businessess that don't want a cloud-based solution will find DrayTek's versatile VigorBX 2000ac has every networking angle covered.
This review is based on an article that originally appeared at IT Pro.