Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to Citel’s FAQs page. Here you will find answers to your questions about our customers and key products, including links to more detailed information where appropriate. Product and technical information for deployed Citel equipment, including installation manuals and user guides, is available in the Citel Support Wizard.
Current Citel Clients
What does your client base look like?
Our clients include a broad spectrum of enterprises including SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises) with 20 – 500 stations enterprise-wide, large enterprises, and government entities. Our solutions fit particularly well in verticals such as health care, education, and financial services, but are deployed in numerous types of enterprises.
Do you have any case studies that I can review?
Yes. Click here for Case Studies. We are continually adding to our library of case studies and white papers.
Portico™ Telephone VoIP Adapter (TVA™)
What are the benefits of Portico TVA?
Portico TVA allows enterprises to obtain the enhanced features of VoIP without a LAN assessment or upgrades, expensive new IP phones, or business disruption. Enterprise migration to VoIP is more affordable, faster, and easier with Portico.
Who should consider Portico TVA?
Any enterprise that wants the benefits of VoIP without the typical expense and disruption should consider migrating to an IP telephony platform with Portico TVA.
Does it matter how many locations or employees there are in the enterprise?
Not at all. One of the cost benefits of VoIP is its ability to seamlessly link distributed locations over a public or private IP network, utilizing only one telephony platform. One or more Portico TVA units are deployed at each location (instead of new IP phones and LAN cabling), and connect directly to the platform over an IP network.
How much money can the enterprise save by deploying Portico TVA instead of a “rip and replace” VoIP migration strategy?
Enterprises typically save between $200 and $700 per port in migration costs with Portico TVA. Savings depend on the extent of LAN upgrades needed to provide sufficient bandwidth for voice traffic, and the type of IP phones that would have been selected.
What new equipment does the enpterprise need in order to deploy VoIP using the Portico TVA solution?
With a premise-based solution, the enterprise will need to select and install an IP PBX, and deploy one Portico TVA for every 24 users (12-port configurations also available for smaller deployments). With a hosted service provider, the only new on-premise equipment needed is Portico TVA units.
The enterprise won’t need new phones and LAN upgrades to support the additional voice traffic?
No new phones or cabling are required. With Portico TVA, digital (PBX), P phone (Centrex), and analog handsets are enabled with IP features and functionality, and applications that require a larger screen are accessed through a browser window. Voice traffic travels over existing Cat3 cabling to the Portico TVA, where it is translated into a packet-based VoIP communication. Additional LAN bandwidth is not needed.
What if the enterprise plans to deploy new IP phones for some staff anyway?
A partial deployment of new IP phones frequently doesn’t add enough traffic to the LAN to require an upgrade. However, it’s recommended that the enterprise assess its available bandwidth before adding voice traffic to the LAN.
Can the enterprise keep its PBX and use Portico TVA to obtain the enhanced features and benefits of VoIP?
No. Only IP telephony platforms, whether delivered via a service provider or an on-premise IP PBX, can provide VoIP’s extensive features that improve productivity and simplify voice communications.
Are there enhanced features provided by the IP solution that do not pass through Portico TVA to the end user?
Almost all VoIP features will pass through to the end user. Some are mapped to the phone, while features that require a larger screen, like Call Manager, are accessed through a browser window. Occasionally a specific feature from an IP PBX or hosted IP platform won’t pass through, but this is rare, and can usually be determined before deployment.
How is Portico TVA installed?
Installing the Portico TVA is very straightforward.
With a hosted service provider:
- Select and sign up with a service provider
- Connect Portico TVA to the WAN connection
- Disconnect the handsets from the PBX, and connect them to Portico TVA
- Configure the handsets via web interface and terminal connection
- Disconnect the PBX
With an on-premise IP PBX:
- Install and configure the IP PBX
- Connect Portico TVA to the IP PBX over the enterprise LAN or the Internet
Steps 3, 4, and 5 are the same as with a hosted platform, above.
What kinds of handsets interoperate with Portico TVA?
Portico TVA interoperates with more than 75 handset types from major manufacturers. Click here for the complete list.
Can I use multiple handset types with a Portico TVA deployment?
Yes, but only one brand per Portico TVA unit. Each Portico TVA unit is configured to work with a specific brand of manufacturer’s phones. For example, one Portico TVA unit can connect multiple Nortel Norstar® handset models to the IP telephony platform, and a second unit can connect multiple Avaya Definity® handset models.
Which IP telephony platforms is Portico TVA compatible with?
Portico interoperates with leading platforms from Asterisk, Avaya, BroadSoft, Cisco, MetaSwitch, Pingtel, and Sylantro.
What is EXTender? What is PBXgateway?
EXTender is the name for a suite of Citel products that extend the features and functionality of a central PBX or Key system to branch offices, call centers, teleworkers, and mobile phones.
PBXgateway is the termination device installed at the PBX location in conjunction with an EXTender deployment.
What are the benefits of the EXTender/PBXgateway product suite?
They allow distributed enterprises to eliminate PBX and Key systems at remote locations. All employees utilize the same fully featured central PBX, saving money on equipment, maintenance, coordination, inter-office calls, a unified dialing plan, and more. EXTender and PBXgateway solutions also scale easily to the growth of the location. As new stations are added, another port on the EXTender and PBXgateway are utilized; when port capacity is reached, additional units can easily be added.
Who should consider deploying an EXTender/PBXgateway solution?
Any enterprise with workers at multiple locations and significant investments in PBX infrastructure and equipment can benefit from an EXTender/PBXgateway deployment.
Does it matter how many locations or employees there are in the enterprise?
Scalability is limited only by the station capacity of the central PBX and available bandwidth.
How much money can the enterprise save by deploying an EXTender/PBXgateway solution?
For an existing branch office or call center considering a new PBX, savings can amount to several thousand dollars. Instead of installing the new PBX or Key system, the location is outfitted with one or more EXTenders, and depending on network connection, an access device. Even if the remote location’s existing system is still usable, centralizing voice network administration frees up IT resources and reduces telecommunication expenses by up to 30%.
With single user deployments, savings vary widely, depending on whether the user also maintains an office workstation and how many outbound calls the user makes. Centralized voice network administration adds considerably to the savings realized with a single user deployment as well.
How does the enterprise determine which EXTender/PBXgateway solution(s) is best for its needs?
There are several types of EXTenders, each for a different enterprise configuration. In summary:
- EXTender 1000 is for teleworkers with analog lines
- EXTender 3000 is for teleworkers with ISDN lines
- EXTender 4000 is for teleworkers with broadband Internet connections
- EXTender 4100 is for teleworkers and small office/home office (SOHO) users with broadband Internet connections
- EXTender 6000 is for branch offices and call centers of up to 12 people, and can scale with the growth of the remote location
- EXTender IP6000 is for branch offices and call centers that plan to migrate to a VoIP telephony platform within two years
- EXTender 7000 is for branch offices and call centers of more than 12 people, and can scale with the growth of the remote location
EXTenders are terminated by compatible PBXgateways; in the case of EXTender 1000, 3000, 4000, and 4100 units, small deployments can also be terminated by series-specific switch modules.
PBXgateway I is compatible with EXTender 4000, 4100, 6000, and IP6000.
PBXgateway II is compatible with all EXTenders.
Click here for more detailed information on each product in the EXTender/PBXgateway product suite.
What equipment will the enterprise need in addition to the Citel units to deploy an EXTender/PBXgateway solution?
All deployments require compatible handsets at each remote location. The EXTender 4000, 4100, 6000, IP6000, and 7000 also require a network access device at both the remote and central location.
How are the EXTender/PBXgateway installed and configured?
The EXTender is connected to the phone(s) and the appropriate connection at the remote location.
The PBXgateway is installed within 500 feet of the central PBX. A network access device or router may be part of the configuration as well; click here for product spec sheets including sample configuration graphics, or talk to a Citel representative to find out exactly which equipment will be needed.
Configuration is completed via intuitive web interface and/or terminal connection, depending on EXTender model.
Which PBXs are the EXTender/PBXgateway product suites compatible with?
EXTender and PBXgateway solutions are compatible with leading PBX protocols, including Alcatel, Avaya, Ericsson, Iwatsu, NEC, Nortel, Panasonic, and Toshiba. Interoperability varies by EXTender; click here for product spec sheets, or talk to a Citel representative.
Which handsets are the EXTender/PBXgateway product suite compatible with?
EXTender and PBXgateway are compatible with more than 125 handset types. Click here for the complete list.
Does the enterprise have to use the same type of handsets at each location?
No, but all phones must be the same brand as the PBX. For example, if the PBX is a Nortel Norstar®, then all handsets must be Norstar as well, but can be a mix of model numbers.