Cisco vs Mitel

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Cisco and Mitel are two of the most prominent and popular phone systems in the world. And often, when choosing a unified communications solution, the decision comes down to these two options. Both of these titans of telecoms deliver respected complex communications service and hardware packages, but they do come with different focuses, benefits and downsides. In this handy e-guide, we will take you through the advantages and disadvantages of Cisco vs Mitel. Which communications solution would best suit you? 

Cisco is an American company based in San Jose, California that designs, manufacturers and sells networking equipment. You might be surprised to find that it’s the largest networking company in the world. For the past few years, Cisco has become a major provider of VoIP to businesses, and they’re now moving towards the home market through its acquisitions of companies such as Scientific Atlanta and Linksys. 

On the other hand, you have Mitel Networks, based in Ontario, Canada, that offers unified communications solutions for business. Mitel used to make TDM PBX systems and applications, but since 2011 they have concentrated its efforts almost exclusively on VoIP.


Both providers contain features that can assist with setting up your VoIP service. Cisco phones include a Unified Call Manager, which can be used to expand your phone’s functionality, including video capabilities and setting up instant messaging sessions. One of Mitel’s advantages is the use of lines. Though Cisco can only deal with 8 lines at once, Mitel can handle 24.

Mitel also accommodates built-in voicemail capabilities, whilst this feature has to be bought separately with a Cisco system.

Cisco’s focus on large business has helped it dominate the IP phone market. However, until recently, Cisco had never offered any products for small business, so all of its features and functionality was tailored to corporates who required enterprise features. Small businesses have quite different needs to large businesses, which means that Cisco Call Manager does not have all of the necessary features to accommodate a smaller company. Cisco have since launched a range of Unified Communications for small business, but though their UC phone system does offer basic functionality, it doesn’t come close to the features that Mitel 5000 offers. Mitel deliver quality applications such as CRM integration, call centre, mobility and teleworking.

Both Cisco and Mitel deliver basic call features on their providers, such as call forwarding and call waiting. However, Mitel provides several extended call features, including a pause button, a message status indicator and a timed reminder feature, none of which is offered by Cisco. Mitel even includes intricate features such as call forwarding override, which lets a user temporarily disable the call forwarding functionality.


If you are a growing business, then you need to make sure that any system you implement can scale the growth of your organisation. This is no different for your telecoms. VoIP systems scale up easier and last longer than traditional systems, due to their software-based nature.

Though Cisco’s enterprise phone systems offer impressive scalability, Mitel’s 3300 range easily matches Cisco. For a small to mid-size business, the 5000 is the best solution, which scales to 250 IP phones / 99 sites, as opposed to Cisco’s UC range, which is limited to 138 phones / 5 sites.


The cost of VoIP depends on what services you wish to include in the system. However, Mitel includes several features that reduce its associated costs. As a result, Mitel is usually the most cost-effective solution no matter what size of business. If you just need basic contact centre functionality, then your best bet is a Mitel solution, especially the Mitel 5000. Though the Cisco UC range for small business is also low-priced, its functionality is comparatively quite basic. The large scale platforms of Cisco and Mitel are much more evenly matched, but Mitel offer more competitive prices.


Cisco offer comprehensive support for their users, including training courses that can teach anyone how to use the VoIP phones’ more advanced features. However, Mitel provides a more intuitive method to programming your system, but is less flexible in terms of programming advanced features. Though Mitel does offer customer service, it does not provide dedicated training courses.

Cisco did not become the largest networking company in the world if it did not offer quality reliable products. It’s a prestigious brand with experience in catering to large business, and is accommodating to new users through customer support and training courses. However, Mitel is more likely to be the optimum solution for a business, especially for small and mid-size businesses, because of its more advanced and greater number of phone and call features, its superior scalability and more competitive prices.

All things considered, both systems successfully provide all of the basics you would need from a telecoms system. Both solutions have their strengths and weaknesses, so the answer to the Cisco vs Mitel debate really depends on your company’s requirements. Finding the right solution for the project requires an analysis of the project’s requirements, as well as the skillset needed. However, undertaking this by yourself can cost your organisation a lot of time, money and resources.

With our team of qualified experts, YourShortlist can help you. We offer a service providing non-chargeable buying advice, and find the telecoms solution that would benefit you the most, depending on your business’s requests. Just leave your details on our contact page and we will get back to you with the assistance you need.