In the same way fuel is what makes your car work, VoIP service is what makes voice over IP phones work. You can get VoIP service in many different flavors and there are tons of choices. Most common are either premise based (on-site equipment) or a hosted solution (in the cloud) you then need to determine which provider delivers the solution you need. Before signed up with a service provider there a few important things to look for:
- SLA Service Level Agreements
- Customer references and recommendations
So how do you decide which solution is best suited to your company?
There are many VoIP options available but basically two types of service.
Premised based (On-Site) VoIP Solution
The service provider merely provides the VoIP service to the system typically with SIP trunks. You are responsible to maintain and keep the system up to date by purchase software upgrades etc.
Hosted (Cloud) VoIP Solution
A Hosted VoIP Phone System is a phone system that is housed and maintained by the service provider in a protected data center. The provider then delivers your service over an IP connection such as your Internet connection. The only physical hardware that will be on-site is the actual VoIP phones.
In a hosted solution you hand off responsibility of the VoIP service and PBX to the provider who are experts in maintaining and supporting VoIP. In addition, you also gain all software upgrades for free along with the service. Each time there are improvements or features added to the software your system gets updated automatically at no extra cost.
Each of your network components becomes a critical piece in the functionality and benefits of your VoIP phone system.
- You LAN is at the center of your deployment acting as the connector and transport. Voice traffic is now just another packet on your data network.
- You VoIP phone system act like the captain of a team. It manages your VoIP phones, call control and connection to voice services.
- Your Internet or other IP connection (MPLS, Ethernet etc) becomes the primary transport to the provider. The PBX (phone system) has a PCI card allowing it to connect to the PSTN public telephone network for calls.
- VoIP phones are all the most employees ever see of the system as they are the endpoints that give users access to voice communication service.
Can your LAN (local area network) support VoIP calls?
VoIP call traffic are very small packets. Each call takes about 90k worth of bandwidth. A Local area network runs at either 100mb or 1000mb depending on the cabling (CAT 5 vs CAT 6) and the equipment. Therefore voice traffic has very minimal impact on the network.
If you are a heavy Internet user or often send large data files you will want to make sure you have plenty of Internet bandwidth in order to support voice traffic and make sure you are prioritizing voice traffic across your network to insure good call quality. The Internet will likely be the freeway your calls take to the pbx and ultimately out onto the public telephone network.
What is the PSTN?
The public switched telephone network is the phone company network that many people and businesses are connected to. Now days more and more voice traffic traverses data networks however there are still many companies and individuals on the traditional switched network so it becomes necessary to connect it as well.
Choosing a VoIP service provider may not be the easiest decision you’ll make but there is help. Agility Communications works with the top providers in the industry and we’ll help you know what to look for in a provider and the strengths and weaknesses of each. We will guide you through the process and help you select the best provider at the industry best pricing.