CISCO vs. ShoreTel: a Comparison of IP Phone Systems

CISCO vs. ShoreTel: a Comparison of IP Phone Systems

CISCO vs. ShoreTel: a Comparison of IP Phone Systems

As far as Voice over IP phone systems is concerned, Cisco and ShoreTel comparison is the industry's most prominent communication providers. If you’ve boiled your choices down to either one of these two companies, it pays to do some research before making a final decision. This CISCO vs. ShoreTel IP phone systems comparison should help you understand the basic features and benefits of each company’s VoIP offerings.

Get to know the competitors

Cisco is a multinational IP phone systems corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells networking equipment. Headquartered in San Jose, California, Cisco has more than 75,000 employees worldwide. The IP phone systems company was founded in 1984 by a group of computer scientists from Stanford University.

ShoreTel is a Sunnyvale, California-based VoIP phone system provider founded in 1996. The IP phone systems company offers on-premises and cloud-based Voice over IP phone systems solutions and unified communications (UC) tools. ShoreTel has more than 2,000 partners worldwide and serves customers in over 100 countries.

Features and Benefits Cisco and ShoreTel IP phone systems 

Here’s a quick overview of the key features and benefits of Cisco and ShoreTel IP phone systems:

  • Cisco IP phone systems are designed for businesses of all sizes. The company offers a wide range of VoIP solutions, from entry-level to enterprise-level.
  • ShoreTel IP phone systems are also designed for businesses of all sizes. The company’s on-premises and cloud-based solutions can be scaled to meet the needs of any business.
  • Cisco IP phone systems offer excellent call quality and reliability. The company’s IP phones are known for their clear sound quality.
  • ShoreTel IP phone systems also offer excellent call quality and reliability. A 99.999% uptime guarantee backs the company’s VoIP solutions.
  • Cisco IP phone systems are easy to use and manage. The company’s web-based interface makes adding or removing users, configuring settings and making other changes simple.
  • ShoreTel IP phone systems are also easy to use and manage. The company’s solutions come with an intuitive web-based interface.
  • Cisco IP phone systems are compatible with many devices, including IP phones, softphones, and analog phones.
  • ShoreTel IP phone systems are also compatible with many devices, including IP phones, softphones, and analog phones. 

Focus Research, a market research firm in California, recently studied ShoreTel’s IP phone systems and compared them with Cisco’s Unified Call Manager/Media Systems. Both IP phone systems methods are specifically designed for small to medium-sized (SMB) businesses. 

Both systems also offer the following features/functions: interactive voice response (IVR), call center support, software/hardware platforms, security, internet protocol (IP) station capacity, easy installation, IP phone systems, reroute to the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and more. 

The Cisco Series 7800 software platform runs on either Windows or Linux, and the hard platform is called Cisco CallManager. The ShoreTel IP phone systems have a VxWorks software platform and proprietary IP phone system switches.

The ShoreTel IP phone system is easier and more intuitive in terms of installation and configuration. Focus Research said that the Cisco phone system is complex and requires more analysis and testing. 

Both systems support various phones, including IP phone systems, softphones, and analog telephones. However, the ShoreTel system is compatible with more types of phones than the Cisco system. ShoreTel's Unified Communications system incorporates IP phone systems, switches, and software for easy deployment and rapid flexibility.

Both IP phone systems offer a wide range of options in terms of features and functions. However, the ShoreTel IP phone system is more comprehensive and user-friendly. For example, the ShoreTel system offers automatic call distribution (ACD), which automatically routes calls to the next available agent. The Cisco system does not provide this feature.

The ShoreTel IP phone systems also offer higher reliability and stability, with no single point of failure. In contrast, the Cisco CallManager software has been known to crash, taking down entire IP phone systems. If it is important to maintain consistent IP phone systems connectivity in perhaps your company’s call center, ShoreTel might be the right option for your business.  

The ShoreTel IP phone systems also offer more call routing flexibility. For example, the ShoreTel system can route calls to a mobile phone if the user is not available. The Cisco system can only route calls to voicemail.

The ShoreTel system’s initial setup is much easier than Cisco’s, and the software configuration is more intuitive.

ShoreTel leads you through the installation process step-by-step with clear choices. The ShoreTel IP phone systems are easy to use and are easily configured by the administrator. More importantly, the voice quality is very high, and there is no detectable latency during calls.

Given that pricing is always a consideration, the marketing research company said that Cisco’s system is more expensive than ShoreTel.

Both systems offer a wide variety of features and functions. However, the ShoreTel system is more comprehensive and user-friendly. In addition, the ShoreTel IP phone systems are easier to install and configure. Given these factors, ShoreTel is the better choice for small to medium-sized businesses. 

Both Cisco and ShoreTel offer excellent solutions, but for different reasons. If you already use Cisco equipment in your business, it might behoove you to stick with the same equipment instead of switching to ShoreTel and paying more.

On a different but related note, the City of Oakland, California, has been using a Cisco Voice over IP phone system for ten years but recently switched to ShoreTel. Maybe ShoreTel is the more current choice for IP phone systems after all? You be the judge of that. 

To learn everything there is to know about selecting an IP phone system, refer to our phone systems buyer’s guide. For further comparisons, check out our IP phone systems rankings page to compare both Cisco and ShoreTel phone systems side by side. It is imperative that you compare and contrast these with other popular IP phone systems as well to decipher if there are better options for your business than just Cisco and ShoreTel IP phone systems.

Posted in: