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VoIP Phone Technology FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

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    Frequently Asked Questions about VoIP Phones

    A VoIP phone or IP phone uses voice over IP technologies for placing and transmitting telephone calls over an IP network, such as the Internet, instead of the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN).

    Can I cancel my existing phone contracts?

    That's up to you. You don't need an existing landline or mobile contract to use VoIP. Of course, if your internet connection is provided through your landline or mobile, you'll still need that.

    Who can I call with VoIP?

    Anyone with a phone number, you can also conference call more easily and call internationally for much less when using VoIP.

    Will VoIP work in an emergency?

    Unlike regular landline phones, VoIP phones require power in order to make calls. Therefore organisations should either provide for a backup in case the power goes out in an emergency or add the IP phones to the existing solution.

    How do I use VoIP to receive a call?

    Pick up the phone and answer the call. A greeting is usually appreciated. Kidding aside, VoIP should seamlessly replace your current phone service. If you are using a softphone, you will need to have your computer on, and the softphone program opens in order to receive the call. Then you should just have to click to answer.

    I am moving soon, can I take VoIP with me?

    Yes, VoIP phones work with an IP address. IP addresses don't have physical locations, so that means that you take your IP phone to any physical location that has high-speed Internet.

    What are the benefits of switching to a VoIP system?

    1. Businesses typically save between 40%–90% on the cost of their telephone system when moving from a traditional system to a VoIP system.
    2. Hosted VoIP services do not require customers to manage and maintain expensive on-premise equipment, giving you more time and money to focus on running your business.
    3. VoIP systems often offer greater mobility in managing and using your telephone system. Online portals allow for quick changes to your system, and many VoIP companies offer smartphone apps so you can make and receive your business calls on the go.

    Are VoIP Calls safe for business purpose?

    VoIP processes with powerful, 256-bit AES encryption. However, others are not as careful. Although encryption does enhance your safety, it doesn't guarantee it. Your computer could be the weak link in your VOIP security chain. For example, if your PC is infected with malware, then whoever is controlling the malware might be able to check your phone calls and get hold valuable information off of them. 

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    What is SIP trunk, and what are its advantages?

    SIP Trunking is a system trough which business phone systems can operate by an internet connection instead of a conventional phone line.

    Advantages of SIP 

    Costs less – SIP is very cost-effective and saves money on your business phone.

    Scales easier – Makes it effortless to scale your operation pain-free.

    SIP is reliable – it offers increased phone service reliability

    Furthermore, when you resell SIP trunking services, you will be able to offer your customers these seven primary benefits. Let's take a look.

    Scalability

    SIP trunking services are made to meet your needs; it allows additional trunks and channels with DID to enable in a few minutes, not weeks, like conventional PSTN phone lines.

    Consolidated Network Management

    The management and monitoring of the PSTN network are no longer required with SIP trunking, as SIP trunks run over your data network. This reduces your requirement to maintain and support two different networks.

    Redundancy

    When you use SIP trunks, you can employ several providers, which gives you the failover facilities in case your network connection goes down, in case there is an outage.

    DIDs

    SIP trunking services use DIDs (Direct Inward Dials) that permits every worker to have their SIP line, which provides you with excellent facility and flexibility in your calling.

    Local and Toll-Free

    If you use SIP trunking services, it allows you to get both local and toll-free numbers, both numbers pointing to the same SIP trunk. It also enables you to have local numbers where you do business, and you don't need to have a physical office in that area.

    Unified Communications

    You can use SIP trunking services as a port of Unified Communications, IM, data and video.

    ROI

    As compared to conventional PSTN line SIP trunks provide you with a return on your investment quickly, with a lower starting capital expenditure and more money savings.

    How expensive is VoIP?

    There are a lot of VoIP providers in the market. However, PBX type of VoIP affects the total cost of your VoIP service.

    On-premise PBX:

    •   The availability of ports and capacity of your PBX server determines if or not you possess a system which is suitable to handle VoIP services.
    •   Upgrading hardware can be costly. Usually charges for an on-site PBX system range from $500 to $1000 per user.
    •   The benefit of newer PBX systems is that they have an IP port of (computer-telephony integration) which makes it easy to install VoIP services into the business phone system. Usually, to configure and manage an on-site PBX needs a dedicated technical worker or an outsourced technical provider.
    •   If you employ 40 or more workers, an on-site PBX might be a feasible solution. Just keep in mind the cost of ongoing maintenance and upgrades.
    •   Adding new features to your existing phone system costs a lot of extra charges, and it also requires outside services to implement.
    •   With VoIP, your provider gives you a virtual phone number which has monthly subscription services together with usage.

    Hosted PBX:

    •   Hosted PBX is cost-effective because there is no need for hardware, installation or any maintenance charges. The provider is responsible for all upgrades and maintenance.
    •   Business-class phone features are usually standard. A number of providers charge for add-on features.
    •   IP phones and softphones work with IP PBX. You need a computer and a headset to be ready for calls.
    •   Hosted PBX supports remote access and remote workers only if there is an Internet connection.
    •   The majority of Hosted PBX providers include configuration, training and operational support, which allows a non-technical worker to administer your system.
    •   There is a range of plans on the market which includes bundled packages, unlimited plans and monthly subscriptions. Prices range of these plans can go from £14.99 and up depending on the services and locations. Usually, voice usage charges are additional. There are discounts available for paying for a year vs. by month.
    •   You should always compare the cost, coverage, and services with specific VoIP providers to select the best fit for your business requirements. Accurate pricing depends on your particular needs.

    Hybrid PBX:

    •   A hybrid solution is often practicable to integrate with an on-site (and regularly outdated analogue) PBX.
    •   Integration with an on-site analogue system typically needs a gateway or IAD (Integrated Access Device) connected to a port on your PBX server.
    •   IADs differ in price from the base price of the hardware to per-month subscription charges. In several cases, the charges consist of free minute bundles for Australia.
    •   A gateway solution lets you carry on with an existing phone system whilst adding extra facilities with new VoIP numbers. It is particularly functional for international calls while using the on-site for local, conventional call traffic.
    •   On the other hand, your VoIP provider might forward virtual numbers to a SIP address or phone number. An analogue PBX will probably require an IAD/gateway to allow the SIP address.
    •   Alternatively, your VoIP provider may forward virtual numbers to a SIP address or phone number. An analogue PBX will likely need an IAD/gateway to accept the SIP address.
    •   Request your VoIP service provider to walk you through what works best for your business requirements. The overall costs depend on your business needs. Not all VoIP providers offer the full array of options to integrate VoIP services into current systems. Be specific in what you require, where you make calls, where you receive calls and bandwidth for Internet connectivity.

    Difference between VoIP Phone and Traditional Telephony?

    Traditional telephony typically uses analogue voltage signalling through the copper wire to transmit sounds to a telephone. The copper wire is generally of a lower quality (Cat-3), and the maximum distance is only a few kilometres. Phones have to be in this range to be linked to the PBX. On the other hand, in VoIP phones, the analogue voltage sounds are converted to numbers and packed into "envelopes" called IP-packets. These IP packets are an identical type of packet, which the Internet uses to carry web browsing and email across the whole world. The IP-packets contain the digitised voice which is carried across the company LAN (Local Area Network) or across the Internet to every distant user then they are unpacked from the IP-packets and converted back to analogue sounds so the recipient can hear the voice.

    Since the Internet can carry these packets everywhere in the world, the distance limitation between phone and PBX is no longer just a few kilometres.

    What kind of Equipment is Needed for VoIP?

    Several users may believe that in order to use VoIP, you need expensive and complicated equipment. However, in reality, this believes far away from the truth. The users of VoIP will need the right equipment to get the full benefit of the host services and features of the VoIP. The VoIP service is absolutely scalable which means the system is able to enhance or reduce to meet the user's demand. There is a lot of hardware available in the market but don't usually need the most of it.

    It is important to start with the basics, users may require just one item (aside from service) a phone. VoIP usually generally just need a phone for most functionality. Majority of VoIP providers offer users virtual number service, which forwards calls to your phone such as your mobile phone. Furthermore, these services make a number and voicemail that are separate from your existing personal number. By doing this, the users are also given with other features such as auto-attendant and voicemail transcription. When it comes to appearance the given services can have a very positive effect on the company users. Such as, if a small business that uses VoIP services is able to appear like a big organisation. Other than size, VoIP also gives companies professionalism through the features and standardised operations.

    IS BUSINESS VOIP EXPENSIVE?

    Companies are accustomed to paying more for new technology, and most are pleasantly surprised when they find that VoIP is less expensive than comparable business plans on regular landline phones. 

    The actual cost of upgrading to VoIP will depend on many factors, but the organisation will definitely cut down on costs, both immediately and over the long-term.

    DOES SWITCHING TO VOIP REDUCE CALL QUALITY?

    While call quality may not have been top-notch a decade ago, VoIP has improved rapidly. 

    Nowadays, users cannot really tell the difference between calls made through the PSTN and the VoIP network. However, the audio quality does depend on a number of factors, and network congestion or poor configuration can cause issues. 

    DOES FAX WORK ON VOIP?

    Technically, faxing does not work on VoIP because of various network issues such as latency, jitter and lag. 

    However, many vendors provide faxing gateways that can be used to enable faxes on VoIP through the T38 protocol. Some more vendors offer this feature for free, while others make it an optional or premium feature. 

    Businesses should certainly confirm with the vendor that faxing is offered before choosing the service.

    IS VOIP SECURE?

    VoIP is just as secure – if not more so – than landlines. Although switching to VoIP might expose security vulnerabilities, securing them is not impossible, and the process is quite similar to securing other services that use data networks. 

    In addition, organisations have the option to encrypt VoIP calls so that unauthorised users will not be able to decipher conversations even if they can get hold of the raw data.

    What is a Hosted PBX?

    A Hosted PBX or an Internet Business Phone System is a VoIP business phone system where the "PBX Hardware" resides at the provider. Usually rich in features, a hosted PBX can save significant upfront hardware charges because the PBX software/hardware sits remotely at the provider's facility and the connection is made through the Internet.

    What is an IP-PBX?

    IP-PBX is a PBX (Private Branch Exchange) that switches calls between a traditional telephone user or between two traditional telephone users in the same way that a conventional PBX does but has the capabilities to switch calls over IP or VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol), and in most cases use Ethernet IP connections throughout the organisation much in the same way that PCs connect to the LAN. 

    phone and managed IT

    Can you quickly explain what VoIP is?

    VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP phone service (sometimes referred to as broadband phone service or digital phone service) is a phone service that operates by using your high-speed Internet connection. There are two types of VoIP services: phone-based and computer-based. These services allow you to make phone calls using either your regular phone, an app on mobile devices, or a softphone client on a computer (via a headset with a microphone). As opposed to traditional landlines, VoIP uses your phone or computer to call the number via the Internet. The call is converted to data packets and sent over the Internet instead of through the copper wires that make up a standard PSTN network.

    How does one place or receive a VoIP phone call?

    With a phone-based service, you use VoIP the same way you use a regular landline: by picking up the phone to answer it or dialling a number to place a call. On a mobile device, you can use a VoIP-enabled app to connect. Select providers have their mobile apps for ease of convenience. And with a computer-based service, you can use a softphone to make or answer the calls with a headset, complete with a microphone.

    What is the difference between hosted and on-premise VoIP?

    Organisations using a cloud-hosted VoIP system do not need to install and maintain any special on-site hardware; only a broadband connection is required. Cloud easily allows adding new phone extensions whenever it is needed through the online management portal. You can quickly add users, delete users, enable additional features––all without additional support or staff. It is simple and intuitive; users can manage their features right from their computers. However, sometimes organisations opt for an on-premise system for compliance purposes. 

    What are the benefits of switching to VoIP for SMEs and start-ups?

    VoIP has multiple benefits over the traditional phones, all for significantly lower costs making it the go-to option for small businesses.

    • Cost efficiency, one network to manage for both voice and data instead of two; no physical space needed – a cloud phone system does not require any equipment;
    • Employees have more ways to stay connected (whenever they are) and customers to reach them which greatly enables remote working;
    • Calls can be made and received from almost any device (desktop, tablet and mobile);
    • Control of your system, easy make moves, changes and update with new features;
    • VoIP enables scaling alongside with the growth of your business.
    • Advanced and latest phone features. For example, landline to mobile forwarding & mobile to landline forwarding gives you the opportunity to use Australian local numbers for advertising without being tied to a physical location, perfect for sole traders and small businesses.

    Can I port the company existing numbers or we will have to change them when switching to VoIP?

    If we have a porting agreement in place with your current provider, we will be able to move over your business phone numbers. Our team will complete the necessary porting documentation and manage the switch through to completion. 

    Does VoIP have a potential for more strategic and customised uses of voice communications?

    In a VoIP world, a phone system is not static; it's a support system in continuous development, where adding new calling features, or voice applications does not involve major equipment changes. Every time a new employee arrives at a company, or another employee moves to a new office, hooking up that person's phone service is simply a matter of changing a setting. It makes it possible to add lines or launch service anywhere in the world, a company with an established VoIP infrastructure can just point and click to outfit a new office and shut it down just as easily. The option of scalability is a big plus point for VoIP. 

    Business communications and collaborations have been undergoing constant transformation. What are the current VoIP technology trends?

    Telecommunications are one of the fastest evolving technologies; the main trends for 2020 are the following:

    1. Increasing use of Unified Communications;
    2. 5G network to bring higher transfer speeds for high-quality voice/data services increasing mobile broadband capacities and reducing operational cost;
    3. Artificial intelligence and smart virtual assistants further transform customer experiences and bring more personalised service to clients;
    4. Increasing levels of VoIP security and compliance to keep customers' confidential information and hosted communications safe;
    5. Higher levels of customisation.

    Voip

    Why VoIP is the best choice to ensure your employees and customers are efficiently connected?

    Today's enterprises are expected to have a well-connected and responsive team. Office workers to be efficient need a way of receiving calls on a remote device such as a personal or company-owned smartphone or a PC or mobile VoIP client. VoIP phone systems support numerous communication feature for better management of business calls. To take a hypothetical example, a businessperson to better manage his contacts might need calls to be processed based on several criteria, for example:

    • If I don't pick up my office phone, route the caller to my voicemail.
    • If the caller is my boss, forward the call to my smartphone.
    • If the caller is an important customer, forward the call to my assistant. 

    How can VoIP enhance employee's productivity?

    Using VoIP technology, the tasks are performed faster and more efficiently than with the traditional phone system. Employees can easily work from anywhere, using any device. Hand-free operations enable contemporary use of other devices, instant access to detailed client data, increasing speed and decreasing distraction. This is particularly important for smaller teams to gain maximum performance. The most significant potential of VoIP will come as companies design increasingly intelligent systems to link communications and business processes and improve productivity.

    Does my company need to have a reliable and fast internet connection to operate VoIP?

    With the high-speed broadband available VoIP calls are as smooth and precise like any other. It is fundamental to evaluate your organisation's size, the pattern of internet usage including various web applications such as Cloud-based software services, storage or backup, access to remote offices or critical services, Web-based point-of-sale systems, browsing/streaming activities, WiFi and email service.

    Which phone system is right for my business? 

    Here are a few criteria to consider when deciding which phone system is right for your business.

    Deciding which phone system is best for your business communications needs comes down to your needs and what resources you have available at the time. Money to invest and the cost is usually a priority when determining, but more importantly, are your goals and needs.

    Every business needs to be able to communicate in a professional and RELIABLE manner. Modern features like Voice Mail, Internet Connectivity, Digital Telephony and programmable systems with forwarding and "speech to text" are becoming the standards for business communication.

    Another consideration is what type of staff does your business employ? If you go with an extensive, complicated system, then you would need capable IT staff to implement and maintain it. Programming can be technical and not understood by typical office staff.

    Local service providers also play a factor. Make sure you are aware of who your telephone dial-tone providers are. Are they offering older copper cabling, new high-speed cable phone connectivity or even high-speed internet connections? Knowing this information is one of the most important as VoIP systems require a strong, reliable internet.

    What is auto-attendant?

    Auto-attendant is an automated secretary. The service initially answers your phone calls, uses options inputted from the caller to decide what phone to transfer the call to.

    How many years should my business phone system last?

    That is an excellent question and one that is not easily answered. As with any technology, it is always beneficial to upgrade to take advantage of new features which will act as productivity tools for your business and thus increase profitability. This question also is directly related, as is true with any office technology; to what level of care, usage, and abuse your phone system is subjected to. We know it is a broad answer, but phone systems should last anywhere from 7 – 12 years.

    Is VoIP fast to install?

    This will depend on the scale of the job, for example, how many premises and handsets are included. However, in comparison to standard landline installation, VoIP phone systems can be installed in a fraction of the time. 

    Are your phone systems secure?

    Yes, with our cloud-based phone system, we provide cloud data protection to ensure that your data is safe. Limitations can be put in place to prevent fraudulent calls being made via your phone system. 

    What is the difference between digital and VOIP phones?

    Digital telephone systems are similar to traditional analog telephones, and transport the telephone signal through dedicated lines to a central switch. Unlike conventional phone systems, however, digital phones convert the analog voice signal to a digital signal for transportation. Digital phone systems are limited in that they must have a connection to a central switch. VOIP phone systems, on the other hand, remove the direct link to the switch by changing the phone into a network device, meaning that the voice signals are converted into digital signals and transported over an Ethernet network. In this way, the VOIP phone can be placed anywhere that data network (Internet) connection is available. The drawback of a VOIP phone system is the constraints on the quality that the data network places on the system. Both digital phones and VOIP phones have a long list of strengths over traditional analog telephones.

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