Phone System Review: ShoreTel vs. Mitel

By Ryan Ayers
Updated: September 09, 2011

Choosing the right Unified Communications (UC) solution for your small business can be a complex and research intensive task. Finding a solution that will fit your business’ needs without going overboard in terms of budget can be a tall order for small businesses looking for the best Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system or UC solution. Both ShoreTel and Mitel are well regarded providers of VoIP and UC solutions for businesses of all sizes. With pricing that comes in slightly lower than Cisco, Avaya, and several other well known providers, these two telephony vendors are often compared to one another.

ShoreTel vs. Mitel

ShoreTel – ShoreTel is known for both their UC hardware and software, and more recently for the service aspects relating to UC communications. Their full service UC suites encompass voice, data, video, and mobile communication and strive to create the perfect solution for all of your business’ communications needs. Advertising a lower TCO than Cisco and Avaya, ShoreTel is often referred to because of the technical complexity of their systems.

Mitel – Mitel is known for the adaptable and scalable nature of their various UC solutions and the unique “freedom architecture” that they employ. Offering versatility and endless variation when it comes to deployment and implementation on any network, Mitel offers an array of comprehensive communications and collaboration software and equipment. Mitel has a focus on creating an “in-office” environment anywhere and allows users to customize everything from mobile and remote extensions.

The Pros and Cons

ShoreTel – ShoreTel is often favored because of the complexity of its networking and communications solutions. Similar in nature to some of the larger and more expensive business communications solutions, ShoreTel’s systems are also easy to use and feature rich. Scalable from very small business environments up to extremely large companies with thousands of users, ShoreTel solutions can grow with your business. ShoreTel is slightly more expensive than Mitel’s comparable systems, and some complain that many of their solutions operate on Microsoft servers.

ShoreTel Pros:

  • Advanced Hardware and Networking Equipment
  • Extraordinarily Scalable
  • Lower TCO than Many Other Providers
  • Feature Rich
  • Long Hardware Life

ShoreTel Cons:

  • Higher Price Point
  • Microsoft Servers

Mitel – Mitel is touted by many as the cost effective alternative to the comprehensive solutions from larger providers. Their innovative approach to complete UC solutions that allow for extreme mobility and changeability has given them a slightly larger adoption rate than ShoreTel in many areas. Mitel offers its solutions to be deployed as local premise-based, virtualized environment, or cloud hosted solutions and offers a wide range of hardware components to go along with their systems. Many users prefer Mitel handsets and believe that they last longer and outperform competitors. Mitel is sometimes criticized for the slightly less technically complex nature of their systems.

Mitel Pros:

  • Variety of Deployment and Service Options
  • Wider Adoption Rate
  • Superior Hardware
  • Lower Price Point
  • Versatility

Mitel Cons:

  • Less Complex Network

The choice between Mitel and ShoreTel is a matter of organizational preference for most small and medium sized businesses. These two competitors are often compared because of the similarities between their UC offerings and the high levels of service and hardware quality from both. Choosing between the two will likely be a matter of finding the options that best fit your business’ specific needs.

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