Rant about the nbx 100

Rant about the nbx 100

Warning! If you have an NBX go down at night and your local support people don't do 24 hr support you CAN NOT get support the US tech support line.

Randmon details about the nbx

NBX version 3_0_13 has disk mirroring in software. This "feature" is only turned on with a license key for the NBX super stacker product. I am highly offended that this feature that adds reliability isn't on by default for all systems. I'm in Australia and I have a serious question about 3com's duty of care if the product has protection aginst disk crash but they refuse to activate it for marketing reasons. I believe this practice in a phone system (that could be used to make emergency calls) is illegal in Australia. According to Australian law, if I have another disk crash and this software isn't working, we have a legal calim aginst 3com. You can bet I'll take the option.

The old story:

At work I was attempting to buy a new phone system. All I need is about 32 phones with modern features. Most of the old BAPX systems providers are going under so I was looking at the new IP based systems. The options I can get in Australia are the 3Com NBX 100 and the Cisco call manager based system. Based on past history, I would choose the cisco solution since they have a great reputation for solid software but they decided to risk all that and run Call Manager only under Windows and Blowing their reputation forever.

So I start looking at the #2 solution and while looking for tech support on the web I find that 3Com has absolutely no tech support info about the NBX on any of their web sites. What kind of networking company are they if they can't even use the web themselves.

Update I decided on the 3Com NBX 100 anyway. We ordered it and it arrived 4 days latter. Because I wasn't happy with the whole situation, I held back and only ordered a base system of the main unit and 4 phones and a few line cards. For some reason the Analog terminal card will be a few weeks late. I plugged in the ISDN card but the system didn't see it. I find out that we need 2_8_8 of the software to run that and system came with 2_6 and there was no web site to download the current version. A call to the sales guy at Plestel and he said a tech would call me back in 1/2 hr. I get a call from the tech and he has the new software but its not online and considers emailing me the 30mb image but only has a 56k dialup line so he offers to burn a CD and I pick it up Monday and it was already after 6:00pm.

I run the network at work. I've run networks before and I buy quite a bit of gear and if this product is a "convergence product", I expect it to be supported like a network product. I want to be able to pick up the phone and talk to someone if it dies and if I need the current version of the software, I expect to be able to download it from somewhere.

Since I had all weekend with a non operational phone system, I started looking at it a bit closer. The NBX 100 appears to be bread box sized rack mount case that has several cards that let you plug in stuff. From the network point of view, it looks like a single device at the end of a primitive 10mb 1/2 duplex Ethernet connection. Inside there is a different story. Each "channel" is its own device so the 4 port ISDN card is in fact 4 Ethernet devices that hang off of network inside the box. Its design shows much in common with some of the smart network devices concepts coming out of MIT. It uses vxWorks as its core operating system as well as the operating system from some of the add in cards. The system also makes use of existing solid technology such as the University of Washington's IMAP tool kit which means it uses solid, tested code and not something scraped up under a time deadline that is almost compatible. The NBX 100 shows both its MIT heritage and its design age. The device has 10base2 coax connectors. I haven't seen that on a new bit of gear in a long time. I would be surprised if anyone ever used it. Maybe 3com could save a bit of cash by not putting that expensive connector on the board.

I could recomend the nbx if they fixed a few thigns:

Some other minor details I found with it

Just as soon as I have more time, I'll put together a few apps that run under unix to do the call reporting and TAPI like things. If you want a real Aussie language pack, let me know since I suspect we are going to have to rerecord everything.

The ONLY online tech support I can find is here at the NBX Group

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