In an effort to demystify the differences between MITEL 5000 and MITEL 3300 phone systems, I have created this article to assist in the buying process for our customers and prospects.

Mitel is DENWA’s most popular communications solution, the sheer reliability and functionality makes either Mitel platform a sound choice for business today.

Mitel Communications Director (MCD) Overview

Mitel 3300 has recently been re-branded and is now called Mitel Communications Director. The main reason is to separate the traditional Mitel hardware (Mitel 3300) and the latest core software (MCD).

Mitel Communications Director (MCD) can be deployed in just about any environment, working with (rather than replacing) existing processes and systems to enhance them with the latest IP solutions and features. This attribute protects your legacy investment, and also prepares existing systems for future growth.  For example, if you have an Avaya INDeX (discontinued support in 2009) you can essentially migrate your old Avaya phones over to a modern Mitel 3300 phone system without having to replace the whole system in one shot. Thus helping your cash flow and telecoms budget.

In short, Mitel’s MCD software can be described as the ‘operating system’ of the phone system, much like Microsoft Windows is the operating system of a Dell Server.

Mitel MCD

Mitel Communications Director (MCD) software allows end users to operate their communications system with flexibility, ease, and reliability. This powerful software runs on a choice of platforms, such as the proprietary Mitel 3300 ICP or industry standard Oracle, HP, and IBM® servers, widening the scope of businesses and enterprises that will benefit from Mitel’s call control software.

It can be deployed in a centralised, distributed, or hosted configuration to meet specific business needs, and provides the reliability expected by the most stringent business requirements. Mitel Communications Director integrates with Mitel’s desktop portfolio and suite of unified communications applications to drive productivity, enhance customer service and reduce costs.

Mitel VMCD

Virtual Mitel® Communications Director (VMCD) offers the same features, functions and capabilities, while being treated like any other virtualized application in the data centre.   Mitel and VMware® have partnered to allow voice and business applications to run together in a virtualized environment.

Mitel MICD

Mitel Multi-Instance Communications Director (MICD) leverages virtualization techniques to allow multiple instances of Mitel Communications Director (MCD) to run on an industry-standard server. MICD provides a dense, scalable, and energy efficient communication services platform, while maintaining the flexibility of completely distinct PBX instances.

Whether a company has 30 users or 65,000, MCD brings powerful call handling, a profusion of features, simple management and flexible deployment options.

Mitel Applications

Among MCD’s embedded features are leading-edge mobility capabilities and standard unified messaging. Mitel Dynamic Extension establishes a single identity for users communicating internally or externally. Dynamic Extension works with any device (desk phone, cellular, remote office, home phone) and extends the corporate system to any location on any network. This improves the accessibility of the user, and also reduces costs and ensures first-call resolution.

MCD also includes inherent auto attendant, automatic call distribution, Wi-Fi, and an IP DECT wireless gateway. These combined with over 500 telephony features such as hot desking and audio conferencing enrich the user experience and invigorate existing processes. In distributed environments, MCD works over IP or traditional telephony networks to provide a virtual single system. MCD also provides support for networking standards such as SIP, QSIG and DPNSS, which facilitate interconnection with third-party PBXs and applications.

Mitel Multi-site flexibility

MCD can be configured to provide different services running on separate hardware platforms within a single solution. For example, it can be configured to run as a call controller on one hardware platform, a media gateway on another, and an applications and services gateway on a third controller, all combining to form a single system.

The following diagram illustrates a sample MCD converged network for medium to large businesses; however, it is also easily scalable for smaller organizations.

Mitel MCD / 3300 Key features

  • MCD Operating System
  • Analogue Lines, ISDN2e, ISDN30e, SIP, and IP gateway trunk connectivity
  • Messaging, including Voice mail, Unified messaging and Auto Attendant
  • Multi-site networking over E1 spans or IP
  • Supports full range of Mitel IP and Digital desk and Wireless phones
  • Optional Hot Desking, Meet-me Conference Bridge and Dynamic Extension
  • Optional Call Centre Support
  • Wide area network (WAN) Resilience

Mitel 3300 CX/CXi

The Mitel 3300 CX is available in two models: the 3300 CX and the 3300 CXi. The 3300 CX is a standalone platform and the 3300 CXi includes an embedded 16-port 10/100 Mb 802.3af PoE layer 2 switch (Power over Ethernet).

Through clustering, the Mitel 3300 platform extends to more than 65,000 users. Clustering involves grouping multiple Mitel 3300 ICP Controllers into a seamless network. All controllers in a cluster share phone information. The cluster provides fallback for a fully resilient solution.

Clustering allows us to combine up to 999 platforms together accommodating an increasing user base. Since the 3300 ICP Controller does not use cards or cabinets as in a legacy PBX, you would need only to purchase a telephone and license to scale as large as needed.

Mitel 5000 HX

The Mitel  5000 Communications Platform (CP) enables small and medium businesses to blend their voice system into their data network, creating a cost-effective, efficient communications environment. The Mitel 5000 CP solution offers a FIRST IP / SECOND DIGITAL communications platform, which allows businesses to network geographically-dispersed employees and locations, whether they are connecting offices and applications together over a data network, or deploying digital and IP phones to on-site employees.

The Mitel 5000 CP is a robust IP communication solution. It is built on a 32-bit architecture using the Linux operating system and is packaged in a 2U data-centric, rack-mountable chassis. The list below highlights its fundamental hardware components.

Mitel 5000 Key features:

  • Linux operating system
  • Analogue Lines, ISDN2e, ISDN30e, SIP, and IP gateway trunk connectivity
  • Messaging, including Voice mail, Unified messaging and Auto Attendant
  • Multi-site networking over E1 spans or IP
  • Compact flash memory card for storing system applications, customer database, and voice mail messages/applications with Auto-Backup feature
  • Supports full range of Mitel IP and Digital desk and Wireless phones
  • Hot Desking, Meet-me Conference Bridge and Dynamic Extension Express
  • Call Centre Support – ACD functionality all built-in
  • Wide area network (WAN) fail survivability

To keep the platform cost-effective, the Mitel 5000 CP Unified Voice Messaging (UVM) is integrated on a compact flash card.   Compact Flash storage has no moving parts, and hence improves system reliability.

The Mitel 5000 CP supports both a switched IP core and a traditional circuit-switched TDM bus. This provides the flexibility of supporting a complete IP implementation (phones, trunks, and applications), a TDM implementation (digital phones and trunks, analogue phones and trunks), or a combination of both on a common IP platform. Thus meeting the needs of businesses with legacy cabling and old telephone equipment.

A perfect solution for companies wanting to embrace VoIP technology simply by ‘dipping their toe in’ initially.

Short History

The Mitel 5000 CP and the Mitel 3300 / MCD platforms both offer a state-of-the-art communications solution for business. In a nutshell some would say that these two solutions conflict and that presenting the end user with two of the same types of product creates confusion and uncertainty.

However, firstly understanding where these two platforms have evolved from is essential in understanding why Mitel offer both to resellers and to customers.

Mitel 3300

The Mitel 3300 was originally released in 2001 as a first class enterprise converged telephony solution. If we think back to 2001 voice over ip technology was only just breaking through and Mitel were at the forefront of VoIP with the Mitel 3300 phone system.

Mitel’s market place was predominantly enterprise, therefore most phone systems were being shipped for companies in the middle and enterprise domain. Back then, typically Mitel was deemed expensive and was inaccessible to small businesses (under 100 employees) due to its relativley high price.

Today Mitel 3300 directly competes with Cisco and Avaya, however Mitel have released new price reductions to encourage smaller businesses to take advantage of enterprise features. However in my opinion Mitel even in 2011, has not developed the product to be ‘easy to use’ in terms of day to day administration and the product still requires extensive licensing to embrace many telephony features its smaller competitors are giving away ‘out of the box’.

Mitel 5000

The Mitel 5000 was originally a product developed by Inter-Tel Inc, a North American based company who had considerable success and market share for a user base of 10-100 extensions.

Mitel merged with Inter-Tel in 2007. At the time as resellers of Inter-Tel Denwa Communications were quite apprehensive about the future of the Inter-Tel 5000 as it was back then. However after just a few months of the merger taking place, we started to see that Mitel had not purchased Inter-Tel  for simply an extended territory to sell Mitel 3300’s, in fact they wanted to fast track the research and development of the Mitel/Inter-Tel 5000 to accommodate the small to medium sized market across the globe.

It is important to remember that the Mitel 5000 was developed with a completely difference customer in mind. The Mitel 5000 in short addresses the needs of small business or small satellite offices today. The Mitel 5000 is easy to administer, faster to install and less expensive to replace when faults occur.

Mitel 5000 offers much more than the Mitel 3300 ‘out of the box’ in terms of applications and features however the Mitel MCD / 3300 platform offers much more to larger enterprise that require more complex solutions with full redundancy across multiple sites.

Compare 5000 with 3300

Below is a table of key features both systems may or may not offer. Please remember Denwa Communications do in fact sell both products and therefore this is article is not intended to steer you in either direction, more so to help you make the right buying decision.

Controller Hardware

Mitel 3300 / MCD

Mitel 5000 HX

Rack Mountable controller Yes Yes
Solid State Hard Disk Yes Optional Yes
Configuration Auto-Backup to remote location NO Yes
Redundant Power Supply Yes NO
Time to restart system (after reboot) Approx 10 mins Approx 3 mins
Program via http:// Yes Yes (limited)
Failover to remote controller Yes NO
ISDN30 Failover module Yes NO
Built in PoE 10/100 Network Switch (16 port) Yes (CXi model only) NO
DHCP Server / Firewall / Internet Gateway Yes NO
Full-featured WAN survivability Yes Yes
Analogue Trunk Support Yes Yes
ISDN2e Trunk Support Yes Yes
ISDN30e trunk Support Yes Yes
SIP Trunk Support Yes Yes
Dialup Modem (Alog) for Remote Diagnostics NO Yes
External Page Port Yes Yes
Door relay (for 3rd Party door entry systems) Yes Yes
Phone & Accessories

Mitel 3300 / MCD

Mitel 5000 HX

Mitel 5304 IP Phone Yes Yes
Mitel 5312 IP Phone Yes Yes
Mitel 5320 IP Phone Yes Yes
Mitel 5324 IP Phone Yes Yes
Mitel 5330 IP Phone Yes Yes
Mitel 5340 IP Phone Yes Yes
Mitel 5360 IP Phone Yes Yes
Mitel 5310 IP Conference Unit Yes Yes
Mitel IP Programmable Key Module 12 Key Yes Yes
Mitel IP Programmable Key Module 48 Key Yes Yes
Mitel Cordless Handset Yes Yes
Mitel Cordless Headset Yes Yes
Mitel 5610 IP DECT Phone & Stand Yes Yes
Mitel HTML Toolkit for 5330/5340 IP Phone Yes NO
Mitel Gigabit Ethernet Stand Yes Yes
Mitel 8528 Digital Phone NO Yes
Mitel 8568 Digital Phone NO Yes
Mitel Soft Phone (UC Advanced) Yes Yes
SIP Extension Yes Yes
Analogue Devices e.g. Fax, Modem, Yes Yes
‘Standard’ Features

Mitel 3300 / MCD

Mitel 5000 HX

UCD Hunt Groups Yes Yes
ACD Hunt Groups (Call Centre) NO Optional Licence Yes
Hunt Group Priority Yes Yes
Hunt Group Overflow Yes Yes
Multilingual support Yes Yes
Hot Desking NO Optional Licence Yes
Music on Hold Upload (Single File) Yes Yes
Music on Hold Upload (Multiple File / Device) NO Yes
Paging Yes Yes
Embedded Teleworking (for remote phones) NO Optional Licence Yes
Meet Me Conference Bridge Yes Yes
Dynamic Extension Yes NO
Dynamic Extension Express NO Yes
Embedded Reporting NO Yes
In-built Call History Yes Yes
Do not Disturb (DND) with customised text Yes Yes
Manual Call Forwarding Yes Yes
Configuration Assistant NO Yes
Phantom Extensions Yes Yes
Low Cost Routing (LCR) Yes Yes
DDI Routing Yes Yes
CLI Routing Yes Yes
User Key Programming (Centralised) Yes Yes
System Speed Dials Yes Yes
Personal Speed Dials Yes Yes
Silent Monitor (Call Listen) Yes Yes
Barge-In Yes Yes
Call Steal Yes Yes
Messaging Features

Mitel 3300 / MCD

Mitel 5000 HX

Voice Mail Boxes for each user Yes Yes
Voice Mail Boxes for groups Yes Yes
Voice Mail to Email (Unified Messaging) Yes Yes
Call Recording on-demand Yes Yes
Remote Messaging Yes Yes
Multi-Level Auto Attendant Yes Optional Licence Yes
Call Queuing Announcements Yes Yes
Dial by Name Yes Yes
Estimated Time to Wait Yes Optional Extra Yes
Position in Queue Yes Optional Extra Yes
Call Whisper Yes Optional Extra NO
IVR with 3rd Party Database lookup Yes Optional Extra Yes Optional Extra
Speech Auto Attendant Yes Optional Extra Yes Optional Extra
Questionnaire/Survey  IVR Yes Optional Extra Yes Optional Extra
Blackberry Synchronisation Yes Optional Licence Yes Optional Licence
Mitel NuPoint Support Yes Optional Extra Yes Optional Extra
Audio & Web Conferencing Suite (MAS) Yes Optional Extra Yes Optional Extra
Application Support (optional extras)

Mitel 3300 / MCD

Mitel 5000 HX

Xarios Phone Manager Yes (but limited) Yes
Xarios Call Recorder Yes Yes
Unified Communicator Express Yes Yes
Unified Communicator Advanced Yes Yes
Unified Communicator IP Soft Phone Yes Yes
Mitel UC Mobile Yes NO,  NOT YET
Mitel Business Dashboard Yes Limited Integration Yes Fully Integrated
Mitel Customer Service Manager Yes Limited Integration Yes Fully Integrated
Mitel Intelligent Router Yes Limited Integration Yes Fully Integrated
Mitel Media Blending (email & calls) Yes Limited Integration Yes Fully Integrated
Tool Kit for 3rd Party CTI Integration (SDK) Yes Yes
System Data Synchronisation (SDS) Yes NO
Embedded Systems Management (ESM) Yes NO
Mitel Border Gateway Yes NO Not required
Skills Based Routing Software Yes Yes
KIRK DECT (Wireless Solution) Yes Yes
Telestat Call Logging Software Yes Yes
OAK Call RecordX Yes Yes
OAK ReportX & DisplayX Yes Yes


Technical data and statistical information contained in this document have been derived from information supplied by manufacturers and distributors. Although we believe that the information supplied is generally correct, we do not assume any responsibility whatsoever for its accuracy. The data and information contained in this document are intended for use by persons possessing technical skill and knowledge. In addition, we assume no liability and make no warranty with respect to claims of patent, trademark or copyright infringement or other similar claims which may arise out of or in connection with the use of any data, information or items listed in this document.

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