From the Enterprise VoIP Experts

August 08, 2013

Grandstream Re-enters the IP-PBX Market

By Analyst, Business VoIP

Grandstream Networks has re-entered the IP-PBX market with the UCM6100 IP-PBX, a new all-in-one communications appliance aimed at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), multi-site offices and home users currently using a legacy PBX.  UCM6100 is a single, compact unit that is easy to install and manage and enables some more advanced voice, video, mobility and data capabilities for SMBs, without the licensing fees often required by competing solutions.

This is not the first IP-PBX from Grandstream, a designer and manufacturer of SIP phones, IP Video phones and analog adapters and gateways. The company initially entered the PBX market in 2008 with the GXE502x IP-PBX and then discontinued the product in 2011. Grandstream’s GXP telephones, video phones and gateways utilize the SIP protocol so they continue to interoperate with most service providers and third party open standards-based SIP platforms.

Grandstream, however, has seen a need for a feature-packed, yet very affordable, SMB appliance. Phil Bowers, Marketing Communications Manager at Grandstream Networks, explains, “We have designed our UCM6100 series with a set of features, an aggressive price point and no licensing fees to enable our resellers and distributors to win new clients by moving legacy PBX users over to an IP PBX system. The UCM6100 series packages all of the important features SMBs need in an easy-to-manage IP PBX at a price point that makes moving to VoIP a logical decision. Our UCM6100 Series provides a simple, cost-effective, initial implementation that will expand the IP PBX marketplace for other offerings by eliminating the traditional barriers that keep many potential users from moving to a VoIP system.”

Like the earlier appliance, the new UCM6100 Series promises both affordability (list price starts at $399) and advanced functionality for the SMB, combining voice, data, fax and video communications within a single, compact unit. However, the UCM6100 Series is completely redesigned with robust hardware and runs Asterisk open source software that is expandable, customizable and connects to any SIP-compatible endpoint, application or platform (the earlier GXE502x system used proprietary hardware and software).

UCM6100 also scales to 500 endpoint registrations for up to 500 users (versus 100 on the earlier system) and supports 30-60 concurrent calls and up to 32 conference attendees, depending on the model type. Additional capabilities include Gigabit Ethernet connectivity and integrated Power over Ethernet, built-in USB and SD peripheral ports and 4GB Flash Memory for storing voicemails, auto attendant, IVR, music on hold and call recordings.

Advanced Features  

The UCM6100 Series supports popular voice telephony features, but also enables some built-in advanced functionality without any additional cost, as follows:

  • Voice – The system supports typical phone system features such as voicemail, auto attendant, intercom and group paging, call forwarding, park and transfer, ring/hunt groups, but also more advanced capabilities not always included in the standard system price such as a customizable, 5-level IVR with the auto attendant and a call center (ACD) function that has several routing options (based on skills, availability and busy level), call queues and in-queue announcements. The UCM6100 Series also has an audio conferencing capability with up to three or six password-protected bridges for 25 or 32 participants per conference depending on the UCM model.
  • Video – UCM6100 supports point-to-point video calling and 3-way video conferencing using any SIP video endpoint, including Grandstream’s GXV3140 or GXV3175 IP Multimedia Phones.  The system also integrates with SIP-compliant door access or video surveillance cameras for security and monitoring, even remotely. Grandstream recently introduced a range of GXV HD IP outdoor cameras designed for harsh outdoor conditions and the IP Cam Viewer mobile application for remote video surveillance. Users can conveniently monitor a Grandstream GXV IP video camera remotely using an Android, Apple or BlackBerry smartphone or tablet.
  • Mobility – Users will be able to register a smartphone or laptop as an extension on the system, for making and receiving calls whether they are in or out of the office. The system also supports softphone clients such as CounterPath’s Bria for audio and video (downloadable from the Google Play and Apple App Store) and Grandstream’s DP715 DECT phone for in-building and campus wireless needs. As noted above, Grandstream’s IP Cam Viewer mobile application is also available remote video surveillance using a mobile device.
  • Data – The system collects Call Detail Records (CDRs) which are easily accessed via the built-in Web interface for viewing phone usage or for billing, as well as other data solutions like call recording, corporate directories across locations, sending voicemail and fax messages to an e-mail account and a built-in system backup feature that saves configuration settings and files to an internal flash drive or an external SD card.
  • Web Administration - A Web browser interface for administration makes it easy to manage the system, locally or remotely. A 128x32 pixel graphic LCD indicates system status and displays a menu of options for viewing events, device and network information (an admin interface for users is in development). The system is ‘plug and play’ with auto discovery and registration of SIP endpoints (Grandstream SIP endpoints now, and other vendor’s SIP endpoints in testing). Additional phones and offices are easily added using the Web interface (Grandstream refers to this as “Zero Configuration Provisioning”).

Four Models

Grandstream is offering the UCM6100 IP-PBX appliance in four model types; each utilizes the SIP protocol for internal and external communications (50 certified SIP trunking providers), but have differing analog trunk and station port configurations for devices such as fax machines and interconnecting PSTN trunks to the appliance. All hardware and software is included in the price, with no additional license fees to activate functionality and no recurring costs. And, Grandstream states that future firmware updates will be free for the life of the system.

  • UCM6102 ($399): two PSTN Line FXO ports, two analog telephone FXS ports
  • UCM6104 ($499): four PSTN Line FXO ports, two analog telephone FXS ports
  • UCM6108 ($949): eight PSTN Line FXO ports, two analog telephone FXS ports
  • UCM6116 ($1,799): 16 PSTN Line FXO ports, two analog telephone FXS ports

Availability: Grandstream Networks UCM6100 IP-PBX is available now worldwide. A series of feature updates are expected over the coming months, including additional multi-lingual voice prompts, auto call-recording options and enhanced Zero Configuration provisioning.

Edited by Ryan Sartor