7 Essential Questions To Ask When Buying A New Phone System

Buying a new phone system can be a minefield as there can be a lot of technical jargon & it probably isn’t something you do every day. Whether it is your first time buying a phone system or your fifth-time upgrading an existing system, things can get confusing, fast.

Based on our experience working with over 12,000 customers over the years, we have found there are 7 essential questions that you need to ask when going through this process. These are the questions that you need to be asking when looking at any perspective phone system providers quote to help you get exactly the right system for you.

Or to begin the process for you, we have provided the questions, and the answers we suggest below:

Is my phone system NBN ready?

At Summit Internet, every phone system that we sell is NBN ready. Your new system will be SIP-enabled, and so will be feature-packed, bringing huge productivity benefits to you and your business.

What cabling requirements will my new phone system have?

Upgrading your phone system does not automatically mean that you will have to alter your existing cabling. Cabling requirements are more often a by-product of your office space than of the phone system itself. However, if you do need to make changes to your existing cabling then there is no need to panic – we can work with you and your IT technician to work out if your cabling is suitable.

How many phone lines will I need?

With a Hosted Phone System, each phone is able to make and receive calls whilst other people are on the phone. The concept of “lines” is no longer relevant with your NBN Phone System.

Which brand is the best for my business?

The brand for you depends on your own unique business circumstances. However, we will say that if you purchase a popular brand you will find it easier to locate spare parts for repairs and expansion. As always, we are here to help you, so chat with one of our friendly advisors to discover which brand is the best fit for your business.

Am I required to sign a maintenance contract when buying the phone system?

In most cases, no. Unless you are a medical facility, then you probably do not need a 24/7 365 on-site maintenance contract. Once your system is programmed and installed professionally, the majority of the changes you need should be able to be handled remotely. So, find a provider who offers suitable remote support and then you will only have to pay for an onsite technician when you really need one.

How will you support me?

At Summit Internet, we are with you every step of the journey. We will be with you today, tomorrow and next year with VIP remote support. Our Australian-based team are here to answer any questions that you might have and make remote programming changes you need.

Do you offer a money back guarantee?

We offer a no questions asked 30-day money back guarantee for hosted phones systems.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve looked at the 7 most important questions to ask when buying any new phone system.

If you have any other questions when buying a new phone system, please give our team a call on 1300 049 749 who will be happy to help.

7 Facts You Must Know About NBN Ready Phone Systems

We see and hear a lot of confusion about the NBN, and in particular when it comes to people asking us about purchasing an NBN Ready Phone System. The truth is that, while the NBN is changing the way we communicate and opening up new opportunities for small businesses across Australia, it’s also not the simplest of technologies to understand. This is because it’s entirely new and different to what we’ve been used to for so long, and also because finding out the details of how the NBN works isn’t something NBN Co. makes easy.

If you’re looking to purchase a new NBN Ready Phone System, we’re here to help. We’ll give you the run-down on how the NBN works with a phone system, the different kinds of phone system available, and what to look out for when you buy.

How does the NBN work?

There are several different types of NBN connections, but rather than go into them here, we’ll just tell you  that no matter what type you have installed in your office, you will now use a VoIP or SIP service to run your phone system. In the past, you would have had a phone service and a data/internet service in your office. Now, your NBN data service is actually used to carry your phone service as well as your internet.

Digital vs. Analogue

The most important thing to know is that the NBN uses digital data to send and receive multimedia messages, while your traditional phone would have used analogue data (in most cases). Analogue devices are not compatible with the NBN, which means that when buying an NBN Ready Phone System, this is your #1 priority. If you already have an analogue phone system, there’s no need  to buy a new one just yet. You can use an Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA) to convert data from analogue to digital, and vice versa.

What is an NBN Ready Phone System?

When you hear people talking about an NBN Ready Phone System, they’re most likely talking about a Hosted Phone System, however, you still have a choice between these and Traditional PABX Phone Systems.

Hosted Phone Systems

You may hear Hosted Phone systems referred to in a number of ways, including Virtual Phone Systems, VoIP or SIP Phone Systems, Cloud Phone Systems, or Cloud Based Systems.

A Hosted Solution means all of your Phone System data, programming, and features are stored ‘in the cloud’, and there is no large PABX box located in your office. These are the ultimate NBN Ready Phone Systems because they rely on quality internet to function at their best, and the NBN provides just that.

In the past, Hosted Phone Systems were reserved for large companies that could afford to run a dedicated, high speed internet connection to their office. The NBN rollout means that high speed data services are now affordable for small businesses, and they too can now access the speed required to run a Hosted Phone solution.

PABX (Traditional Phone System)

Traditional Phone Systems consist of a physical box that lives in your office, and has been the way phone systems have worked for a long time before Hosted Solutions arrived on the scene. PABX systems have traditionally used PSTN, ISDN and (more recently) SIP trunks to make and receive calls.

As we mentioned earlier, PABX systems are still a viable option if you’re looking for an NBN Ready Phone System; just because they aren’t Hosted in the cloud, doesn’t mean they can’t take advantage of the high speed data and VoIP services offered by the NBN. The most important thing is that your PABX is IP compatible, which means it can send and receive digital data.

If it isn’t IP enabled, in most cases it can be made to work with the NBN, but it will depend on the type and age of your phone system, so you’d have to talk to a supplier to find out about your own circumstances.

What’s the best NBN Ready Phone System?

Most people who are purchasing an NBN Ready Phone System are going for a Hosted Solution, and there are a number of reasons for this. First and foremost, unlike Traditional phone systems, many businesses find Hosted systems just plain easier to install, manage, upgrade, and maintain. Another influence is the fact that Hosted Solutions are the perfect NBN Ready Phone System, but you don’t actually have to have the NBN to start using them; all you need is a reliable internet connection (your provider should confirm this for you before you buy).

At the end of the day it’s a matter of preference and opinion, but if we listen to popular opinion, then a Hosted Phone System is the preferred way to go.

What Will a Hosted NBN Phone System Mean For Me?

Affordability

If you shop around, you’ll notice that different providers have different gimmicks and offers, but sometimes there are hidden costs involved once you get to the fine print. If you find the right provider, there won’t be. For example, our Hosted NBN Ready Phone System has a whole load of the most popular features included, plus we offer FREE Programming changes to your settings and features for the life of your system. Avoid any providers who make you pay every time you want your call routing changed or your voicemail diverted – it will get expensive.

No Expensive Phone System Hardware Required to Maintain & Manage

The bulky PABX box in your office is a thing of the past, which means that regular maintenance, cleaning, and needing a tech expert to update your features is also a thing of the past.

With a Hosted Phone System, everything can be managed by your host with a simple phone call and, in many cases, you can even update your features and change programming from your own computer with a web interface. The key points here are that damage, theft, and cleaning is no longer on your list of things to do, and making changes is no longer something that takes a lot of effort.

Low capital investment and ongoing savings

The cost of purchasing and installing a Hosted solution is relatively similar to a Traditional PABX, however, the ongoing costs are significantly lower – especially if you choose your provider wisely.

Once you start using the NBN to make calls, SIP phone line rental and call rates are dramatically lower than traditional lines. We mean, up to 60% lower. In addition, if you choose a provider that doesn’t charge you for features you don’t use, or to update your programming, you’ll save even more compared to needing a technician to change the settings in your PABX.

No Obsolescence

Because everything lives in the cloud, all upgrades and updates take place there too. That means there’s no way that a Hosted Phone System can become obsolete. Our Hosted System actually comes with FREE software upgrades for life, so not only do you save on obsolescence, you also save money, too.

Connecting is Simple

The only part of your phone system that will physically live in your office is your handsets, so connecting is really as simple as plugging them in (once your provider has programmed them with your tailored features and settings).

Switching to the NBN will be Easy

If you don’t yet have the NBN, you still need to prepare for it because it will be a reality for your business sooner or later. The great thing about NBN Ready Phone Systems is that you can start using them even before you get the NBN, as long as you have a good existing internet connection.

We’ve got customers who don’t have the NBN yet and use ADSL services to run their Phone System on SIP, and they have never had a problem. However, if someone requests it and we know their internet connection is not reliable enough, we will be honest and tell them that SIP simply won’t work for them. Make sure your chosen provider does these tests and gives you honest feedback before you use SIP with an ADSL service.

Expand Effortlessly Anywhere

Adding a remote worker, new office, or work from home employee to your phone system is about as easy at it can get. All you have to do is ask your host to program a compatible handset, and all they have to do is connect it to their data service. It means that as your business grows, you won’t have to spend a fortune for your phone system to grow with it.

Give the Appearance of Size

Because Hosted Phone Systems are so affordable, you can include a number of features that have previously been reserved for larger businesses. For example, you may only have a small staff of five, but can have a welcome selection menu that gives your caller a choice between several different departments.

You Can Keep Your Existing Phone Numbers

For most businesses their phone number is an important part of their brand and familiarity with clients. The great news os that keeping your existing phone number is easy with Hosted services.

1300 & 1800 Numbers

These numbers are a great way to give your business a national presence, give the appearance of size, and build familiarity. With a Hosted Phone System, they’re also affordable and easy to set up.

Who Should Be Looking At NBN Phone Systems?

One person businesses

It may sound a bit much at first but, because of the flexibility of both price and size of Hosted Solutions, having one for a one-person show isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds. In actual fact, it could very well boost your business by giving your caller the illusion of size, and when you do add staff, it won’t cost you a fortune to expand your system.

Small to Medium Sized Businesses

Small businesses of all sorts can benefit from a Hosted Phone System, including Cafes, Design Agencies, and Retail stores. If a phone is left unanswered, a caller is more likely to call again if they feel they’ve received a personalised experience when no-one answered. That might include providing them with an automated message giving opening hours, or customising your messages based on the time of day. All of this and more is not only possible, but also affordable and easy, with a Hosted Solution.

Businesses in rapidly-changing industries

If you’re in an industry that’s fast-paced and ever-changing, having a phone system that can be easily updated and upgraded to suit your needs is crucial to staying connected to your clients and prospects. Because a Hosted Phone System is so simple and affordable to upgrade, update, and manage, it’s the perfect solution for rapidly changing industries.

Businesses with multi-site locations

Location is playing a less and less crucial role in business as each day goes by, but no matter where you are, you need to stay connected to your colleagues and your clients. As mentioned earlier, adding staff in multiple locations is easy and affordable, and you don’t have to buy a whole new phone system every time you open a new office.

Businesses with temporary sites

Because handsets that are programmed into your Hosted System can be used with an quality internet connection, anywhere in Australia, temporary sites means that temporary communication is no longer a hefty investment.

How Much Does an NBN Ready Phone System Cost?

Compared to Traditional PABX Phone Systems, Hosted Solutions have a similar initial cost, however, installation of PABX systems can get more expensive because of the need for technicians to spend more time installing them in your office. With a Hosted NBN Ready Solution, you can install the system yourself, as long as the required outlets are all in place.

When it comes to cost, whether you go with a Traditional PABX or Hosted Phone System, you will save a fortune on ongoing costs if you utilise VoIP and SIP technology. If you don’t have the NBN yet, you can still use VoIP and SIP, but a quality internet connection is an absolute must.

SIP line rental and call rates really are low, and we’ve had clients who have saved up to 60% on their monthly phone bill. Make sure you shop around, because some providers keep costs high with the hope that people’s ignorance will get them by.

There are two options, pay as you go and unlimited plans.

The Top 7 Features Of An NBN Ready Phone System

Having provided over 12,000 customers with our Hosted NBN Ready Phone System, here are the Top 7 features that we know most businesses are looking for:

Call Flow Hunt Groups

Route calls to specific departments, office locations, or individual people.

Voicemail To Email

If you don’t want to get your voicemail on your handset, you can have you voicemail messages sent to you your email account as a .wav file attachment.

Call Transfer To Anyone

Transfer your phone call’s internally among your team who are on the network or out to external phone & mobile numbers numbers.

Day/Night Greetings

Customise your automated messages based on the time of day or week so your callers get the right message at the right time.

Full Auto Attendant

Welcome your callers will an automated message and offer a selection for them to choose based on their enquiry type.

Call Recording

For the purposes of improving your customer service, legal, or training purposes, you can record calls made to and from your phone system network.

Softphone (iOS or Android App)

Use an app on your computer or smartphone to receive calls on your Hosted Phone System, no matter where you are located. This allows your to just connect your headsets/headphones to your laptop and working remotely for the day and want to be connected as if you are in the office. Or this can also be a very popular solution for companies with remote workers who don’t need a handset on their desk, but want their staff to be able to take advantage of all the above features and more.

Conclusion

You should now have a better knowledge about what an NBN Ready Phone System is, and why it’s important to understand your options when purchasing a new one.

Still, it’s impossible to cover everything, and we know that you may have a few questions lingering in the back of your mind. If you want to talk to one of our NBN Ready Phone System experts, they’re always ready to offer advice and support when you need it. Give our team a call on 1300 049 749.

Failover to fixed wireless

If your business has a high speed fibre connection then failing over to a slow connection can be a real productivity killer.

Enter fixed wireless broadband – a high speed, cost effective failover solution for fibre services.
Unlike fibre, fixed wireless offers your business a diverse path not affected by the cables in the ground or on power poles.

Summit Fixed Wireless

The Summit fixed wireless network is fed by a diverse fibre feed – this means that it’s even more reliable than a single fibre connection. If we lose a single fibre feed, we intelligently will route your traffic to another point within our extensive fixed wireless network to where we have other fibre backhaul.

With over 3Gbps of fibre backhaul just on our fixed wireless network alone, you’ll be guaranteed a fast connection every time.

To find our more about how you can add a cost effective fail over connection to your business, speak to us today on 1300 049 749.

Say goodbye to using ISDN and PSTN phone lines forever. How the cloud can benefit your business.

An efficient and effective business phone line service is key to your business staying competitive and making a profit. But with all the technical jargon and acronyms it can be hard to work out which business phone line service is right for your business.

And while there are ISDN and PSTN phone line options to consider, there’s another solution you may not have thought about – the cloud!

What is the difference between ISDN and PSTN?

ISDN stands for the Integrated Services Digital Network, a digital network technology that carries and transmits voice, data, video and fax in a digital format. In Australia, ISDN services can either be a basic rate service, known as ISDN 2 or a primary rate service, known as ISDN 10/20/30.

ISDN2 (BRI – Basic Rate Interface) is the entry-level version and has two 64 kbit/s voice channels and one 16 kbit/s signalling channel that add up to 144 kbit/s.

ISDN10/20/30 (PRI – Primary Rate Interface) provides users with 10, 20 or 30, 64 kbit/s channels permitting for a maximum data rate of approximately 2 megabits per second (Mbit/s). Medium to large businesses usually use primary rate services.

Summit SIP Voice is a business grade voice solution. Suitable for plugging directing to your IP phone system, SIP comes with blocks of 10 lines, 20 lines or 30 lines. Find out more about Summit SIP Voice service here.

PSTN stands for Public Switched Telephone Network lines. With this dedicated service, each line has a unique phone number with the area code of its assigned telephone exchange. Despite the core network being almost entirely digital, PSTN is delivered to the premises via twisted copper pairs in analogue form.

While business phone line services using PSTN are similar in function to residential landlines, they are managed on less congested networks. Even though many businesses are still using PSTN as their business phone line service, there are limitations.

If your business is growing, your office will need to have more than one PSTN line. Installing multiple PSTN lines can become very expensive.

PSTN & ISDN will be phased out soon

As the NBN network is driving a switch from copper based voice services to services that run over broadband & data services, over the next 2-4 years PSTN & SDN will be phased out.

This means that traditional PSTN & ISDN users will be forced into switching to alternative VoIP based voice services. If you want to keep your PSTN Phone numbers, you will have no choice but to move to VoIP based service to replace your old voice lines.

Legacy PBX hardware will need to be replaced as PBX systems will need to be compatible with IP based voice services, or a cloud based phone solution.

Summit Business Cloud Phone Solution

Now you know the difference between ISDN and PSTN, it’s time to discover a more powerful, simple and intuitive business phone solution! When your business uses the cloud as a phone solution, you can forget about the technical jargon and acronyms.

Summit offers a simple, future-proof phone solution that easily scales when your business grows. Benefits to your business include:

  • No more expensive line rental!
  • Multi-site networking becomes simple
  • Savings on your phone bill
  • Free on-net calls between sites
  • One number for multiple devices including iPhone, Android, Mac and PC
  • NBN compatible

Your business also gets the latest equipment, maintenance and customer support from a local service centre.

Find out how moving away from ISDN and PSTN to the cloud can benefit your business. Talk to our friendly and helpful Summit Team Members on 1300 049 749.

3 reasons why your business needs to use a cloud phone solution

If your business uses PSTN or ISDN for its phone system, it’s time to consider a more efficient and cost effective business phone system. Did you know that no matter how small or big your business is, a cloud based phone system may be a better option?

In 2014, the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) reported that cloud services are increasingly popular with small and midsized businesses

But like anything business telecommunications, it can feel confusing. So here’s the facts about cloud based phone systems for business.

  1. A cloud based phone system can save your business money
    For the last few years, cloud based phone systems have been heralded as the ‘white knight’ of business communications. But outside of all the headlines and hype, it’s important to know how a cloud based phone system can save your business money.

    Because a cloud based phone system doesn’t use traditional phone lines, there are no line rental fees – making it more cost effective than traditional landlines. And with no need for expensive outlays on PBX systems, the cost savings continue!

    When you combine the cost savings with efficient call functionality that’s delivered through the cloud, is it any wonder that cloud based phone systems for business is increasing in popularity?

  2. PSTN and ISDN will be phased out soon
    Did you know that as the NBN network is driving a switch from copper based voice services to services that run over data and broadband services, PSTN and ISDN will be phased out over the next 2-4 years?

    This means that business who use traditional PSTN and ISDN will be forced into switching to different VoIP based voice services. And if your business has legacy PBX hardware it will need to be replaced so your PBX system is compatible with a cloud based phone solution or IP based voice services.

    Summit Business Cloud Phone Solution eliminates the need to purchase and maintain PBX hardware. And with business-grade call features and no central hardware, your phones can be connected at any location and unified into an organisation-wide phone service.

    Got a business with multiple offices or have employees who work remotely? Talk to our friendly and helpful Summit Internet Consultants and find out how our virtual PBX can benefit you. Call us 1300 049 749 today.

  3. When your business grows, it’s quick and easy to add more phone lines and functionality with a cloud based phone system
    Our cloud based phone systems offer functionality and options for businesses that want to cut costs while getting the best features available. From a start-up with a two-line cloud based system to a business that is growing and has multiple locations. Our cloud based phone systems easily and efficiently grows with you.

Get the best business cloud phone solution in Australia – Summit Internet Business Cloud Phone Solution benefits include:

  • NBN compatible
  • No more expensive line rental
  • Locally based customer support
  • Free on-net calls between sites
  • Multi-site networking becomes simple
  • Savings on your phone bill
  • One number for multiple devices including iPhone, Android, Mac and PC

And with Summit’s FlexPBX Max, your business phone cloud technology will always work for you. Say goodbye to expensive repair bills and frustrating overseas call centres. If any of your handsets or equipment suffers a failure, we’ll replace it at no additional cost to your business.

Call our friendly and helpful Summit Team Members on 1300 049 749 today.

Switch from FreshTel VoIP and avoid disconnection

Are you a business using FreshTel for Voice Over IP? If so, You’ve got less than 30 days to move your phone numbers away from FreshTel before they disconnect your service.

Earlier this year, VoIP Provider FreshTel announced that they would be ceasing operation of their VoIP services as of 30th June 2018.

How can Summit Internet help? Move to a Summit SIP Trunk or Hosted Phone System and we’ll transfer your phone number for free!

Avoid the last minute rush and avoid your business being disconnected. To discuss how Summit can help you transition from FreshTel, please contact one of our Team Members on 1300 049 749.