An Introduction to Mitel’s MiVoice Office 250 Telephone System
The Mitel MiVoice business communications platforms are a range of collaborative solutions, from onsite telephony systems to cloud-based software. The idea is to enable businesses to take advantage of advanced communications benefits and to ‘Do more with less’, ultimately becoming more productive, more flexible and more responsive.
The Mitel Office 250
The MiVoice Office 250 telephone system (formerly Inter-tel 5000/Mitel 5000) is an element of MiVoice that has been in existence for many years, in different forms, and has a reputation as a stable, well built and feature-rich system. It is a hybrid digital and IP solution, the key features of which include:
- Unified Voice Messaging with email synchronisation
- Voice Conferencing
- Desktop phone twinning
- Enhanced audio conferencing
- Built in analog trunk ports
- Built in analog station ports
To this day it very much remains a current, core product of Mitel’s and is still one of the most popular phone systems around. It does pretty much what it says on the tin- supports up to 250 users.
The MiVoice Office product has gone through a few design changes over the years, with the core hardware originally comprising of striking blue casing with bare metal line cards and modules for connecting lines and extensions. Now we have the black and silver HX chassis with a modern look and a shift away from deep 1U units to a more compact, almost stubby 2U box which distributes weight in a more sensible way (see image above).
Administration and Security
The administration of the system has remained the same since the inter-tel days, with just a few tweaks here and there and a few new features added over the years. Much like the Avaya IP Office product, basic administration tasks are simple to perform, and using logic alone, a non-trained user would quickly learn how to administer extension names, hunt groups etc. This usability is one of the key benefits of a MiVoice solution.
Another benefit is that the system is a secure one. The possibility of conflicts and duplications across a network is almost entirely prevented, due to a built-in ability to scan the entire configuration whenever a change is made. This displays errors if a duplication occurs, preventing you from continuing until resolved.
Handsets and Maintenance
The handsets on the system are, again, well-constructed and are made of solid, hard-wearing materials. The higher-end handsets have colour LCD screens which look great when loaded with company logos to give a more customised, impressive appearance.
There is the choice between Digital handsets and IP handsets offered by Mitel, with there often being a case for one over the other dependent on the current network in place or needs of the company. However, compared to Avaya’s offering, there is slightly more work involved in installing digital phones on a Mitel system. A single connector provides 16 extensions, which requires spreading across a patch panel during installation, unlike Avaya’s IP Office (read our product review here) where all digital extensions are presented with an individual port on the system, making installation extremely straightforward.
As with most telephone systems today, remote access is available and secure, so supporting the Mitel MiVoice system quickly and identifying any issues is a breeze for maintainers. Users can also easily be given their own profiles to make changes and identify likely causes of any issues themselves, if required.
Modern DECT phones are also available with MiVoice, which connect to the base of a desk phone, removing the need to install wall-mounted base stations. These add a bit of freedom whilst still being fully integrated with the system and featuring many of the most used functions and features.
There have been big changes recently to the phone handling software, with Mitel adding their own brand to the product previously managed and supported by a third party called Xarios. Mitel’s Phone Manager has had a design overhaul and now has a more recognisable, modern theme similar to Lync or Skype. Instant Messaging, user status and directory access features are now much easier to use and more integrated than they were previously. The Phone Manager, again, does what it says on the tin- allows you to use your Mitel handset as easily as possible.
With the MiVoice it would be fair to say that no matter how a company operates, the system can be tightly configured to integrate fully, and enhance working practices to ensure maximum productivity. This is all from the base package, without the need to spend a lot to on advanced features often sold as extras with other systems.
In short: although slightly more fiddly when it comes to digital handset installation, the Mitel MiVoice 250 system is a good value system that delivers a wide range of capabilities and is easy to use, and extremely scalable. Its hybrid Digital/IP nature is a big selling point, giving a company flexibility, and the end result is a system which can greatly enhance whilst also simplifying a businesses’ communications with its customers, employees and other collaborators.
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