Toshiba IPedge EP review
The IPedge EP delivers enterprise-level IP telephony and conferencing features at a reasonable price
Review Date: 14 Dec 2012
Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell
Price when reviewed: £7,499 (£8,999 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
IP telephony systems can be prohibitively expensive for small businesses, but Toshiba’s new IPedge EP has these customers firmly in its sights. It represents the cheapest of a family of three appliances, a desktop unit supporting from eight to 40 users with an extensive range of communications features.
It slots into an existing network, where it requires only a single IP address. Its main role is as a standalone server but it’s also well suited to branch office deployments. Using Toshiba’s IPedge Net feature, multiple appliances can be linked together over a WAN, where the primary node provides centralised management of all secondary nodes.
The appliance supports Toshiba’s IP5000 series of hands-free IP phones and its forthcoming IP4100 DECT SIP phones. Laptop and PC users can also get in on the act using Toshiba’s SoftIPT Softphone client or the Call Manager Windows application.
Full access to all features is provided by a single web interface, and a four-step network wizard helps installation. The IPedge EP supports all the main SIP providers and can handle up to 20 separate accounts.
For testing we took up Toshiba’s offer of remote access to its own IPedge EM appliance. To link our appliance to the remote unit, we created separate trunks for incoming and outgoing calls, and to ensure call security we ran this over an IPsec VPN to Toshiba’s offices.
The appliance provides a set of core features that can easily be expanded by adding extra applications. Standard features comprise the IPedge Core software, which provides call handling, and Media Server for audio processing. The Media Server plays, records and mixes audio streams, manages audio compression and decompression and applies noise cancellation. Other audio duties include hold music, ad hoc conferencing and group paging.
During setup, directory numbers need to be assigned to handsets, and this can be achieved in a number of ways. The appliance can create a range, you can do it manually, or you can automate the process by linking each one to a handset’s IP address. After this, you decide which functions are available to users and groups. Voice mailboxes are a standard feature and these are assigned during directory number creation. Each voice mailbox has an extension number that users dial to access messages. All Toshiba IP phones also have a mailbox quick-access button, which flashes to alert the user to new messages.
If permitted, users can also access the management console by logging in with their directory number and password. They can access their personal telephony settings and modify functions such as redial on busy, call holding, call forwarding and key-strip assignments. We also loaded the SoftIPT app on a Windows 7 system where it picked up the IPedge appliance and worked seamlessly. The interface is identical to the physical IP phones, and it supports all features available to them as well.
The system’s call-conferencing system is provided by the Gemini Conferencing Server app, and adding licences enables web and video capabilities. After creating moderators, you define your conferences and for web access provide a URL. Slick integration with iCal-enabled apps enables invitations to be sent directly from the portal. Clicking the iCal button for our conference entry provided an ICS file, which automatically opened Outlook on our host system and created an invitation email, complete with the conference URL, dial-in number and access code.
We found web and video conferencing easy to set up. Our users dialled the access code, loaded a web browser from the email URL and as soon as the moderator joined, they were able to share their presentations, documents, desktop and webcam. During testing, we also used the IP phones for a variety of calls and to talk to Toshiba’s engineers. Call quality was extremely good in all cases and indistinguishable from PSTN calls.
The price we’ve shown is for the IPedge EP appliance licensed for 16 users with 16 IP5522F-SD handsets, the Standard Call Manager and the conferencing server licensed for four voice, video and web channels. This price also includes a site survey, on-site installation and training by a Toshiba reseller.
The IPedge EP is a small but well-endowed IP telephony system, ideally suited to SMBs and branch offices. It’s packed with features and, unlike some competing systems, doesn’t have any hidden costs.
Author: Dave Mitchell
Mike Smith - Aspect Business Communications
Being part of the UK trials for Toshiba’s IPedge, I can concur with this write up from Dave Mitchell. From and engineering and maintainer point of view, this product really delivers, it simply works.
We installed an IPedge EP in our office and an IPedge EC in one of our customers. Our customers needs were Fax to desktop, remote worker (overseas), Voicemail with unified messaging, Softphone when working off site, Auto-Attendant and they are now actively looking to turn on the Web Collaboration and Conferencing features. The existing ISDN30 was connected using an Audio Codes gateway, but this may well become redundant with future plans to migrate to IP trunks.
I now have an excellent customer case study and a number of other opportunities to deploy IPedge that I am working through with my customers both existing and new.
By Mike_AspectBC on 19 Dec 2012
- Microsoft yanks Windows 8.1 update after crash reports
- Microsoft backtracks on blocking out-of-date Java
- Gartner: time to start planning your Windows 7 upgrade
- Still on IE8? You've got 18 months to upgrade
- Who's buying Chromebooks? American schools
- Microsoft targets Windows in next Patch Tuesday
- Microsoft to block old ActiveX controls in security push
- Samsung and Apple call off all legal disputes, except in the US
- Microsoft ordered to hand over European data
- Will the next Windows 8.1 update arrive next month?
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- How to turn off Google Location Tracking
- 20 years of PC Pro: our greatest review mistakes
- 20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List
- Wikipedia's "right to be forgotten" protest hits the wrong note
- 3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies
- 20 years of PC Pro: What amazed us in our first issue
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- How to set up a wireless hotspot for your business: give customers free or paid for internet access
- Five worst SMB security threats... and how to solve them
- Doing business in a social era
- How to configure SysLookup for your network
- The 18 best Outlook tips for increasing productivity: become an Outlook expert with these lesser-known tips
- Office: should you buy it, rent it - or dump it?
- Small server vs cloud: which is best for SMBs?
- The best mobile apps for business
- Windows XP: Microsoft’s ticking time bomb
- gTLDs: what your business should know about new domain names
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office