3Com NBX V3000 Analogue Platform review

Price when reviewed

3Com’s latest NBX V3000 is aimed at SMBs fed up with the limitations of standard PBXs. It delivers VoIP services to user bases of ten and above, and is designed to be easier to use than competing products. Many features such as voicemail, TAPI, hunt groups and email integration are provided as standard, and it’s highly scaleable as the system can support up to 1,200 users.

3Com NBX V3000 Analogue Platform review

In this exclusive review, we look at the V3000 Analogue Platform, which provides four PSTN ports along with fax and passthrough PSTN ports. The V3000 supports a number of operating modes, with the first functioning at Layer 2, where it identifies 3Com’s IP phones by their MAC address. If you’re using SIP services, the second mode will assign an IP address to each phone. Note that the V3000 doesn’t support standard consumer-type SIP accounts, but works with trusted end points. Services such as those offered by BT will recognise the source IP address of a call and allow it to use its SIP gateway. Lastly, you have IP-on-the-fly, where remote users may have an IP phone at the other end of a VPN tunnel, and when picked up the V3000 automatically dishes out an address.

Installation is remarkably easy, as you connect the V3000 to the network, add your PSTN lines and plug in your IP phones as required. All 3Com IP phones are PoE enabled, and we tested successfully using an HP ProCurve 2626-PWR switch. The V3000’s web interface is easy to use and, prior to running the auto-discovery routine, you can set up an extension range and a dial-plan for three- or four-digit extensions. Regional settings can be configured, and the V3000 is supplied with 18 predefined country and language options.

You can now assign names to each discovered phone and, for larger installations, you can use a barcode scanner and load phone MAC addresses into a spreadsheet. Each user can then set up their voicemail by pressing the blue button on the phone and following the verbal instructions.

Each analogue line card can have its own group of IP phones and auto-attendant, and for the latter you can assign different actions and messages for open, closed, lunch or other hours. Custom messages are easy to create, as you just select an extension number and use the phone to record your messages. You can also assign hunt groups to each auto-attendant and choose from three call modes to determine the ring sequences.

Email integration is just as easy to configure. We added a new MAPI account to Outlook and provided our extension number and password, plus the appliance’s IP address for POP and SMTP. The appliance could then send emails to us with voicemail attached as WAV files. You can also use your extension number to log in to the web interface and remotely access voicemail.

During testing, we were impressed with the V3000, as it’s extremely user-friendly. SMBs can now safely throw out their old PBXs and replace them with a feature-packed VoIP solution that can be up and running in minutes, and can scale easily with demand.

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