Now that the NBN is making it’s way out across Australia, avoiding the reality that is VoIP is no longer possible. Sooner or later, over 90% of Australians will be using a VoIP service to make phone calls.
But in the past, poor old VoIP has got itself a bad rap.
But because VoIP is going to be unavoidable, we thought it was high time we got our myth-busting hats on an addressed some of the misconceptions once and for all.
Busting the most common Myths about VoIP
Myth #1 – VoIP is totally unreliable
One of the reasons this myth is so popular is because, if you don’t have the right internet service to make business phone calls, you’re going to experience problems. Way back when VoIP first emerged, this was more common than it is now. Actually – this problem should be non-existent now, if you go with the right provider.
If your phone service is sharing with your internet service, an email download could mean interruptions to your phone calls. There are two possible solutions. The first is to up the bandwidth (only viable for smaller businesses). The second is to get a separate, dedicated data service that exists only for your phone system.
When it comes to running your phone system, using SIP is really the only way to go. It’s next-level, business grade VoIP, and it’s fast, reliable, and affordable.
Myth #2 – You need IT specialists to operate it
VoIP and SIP, once set up, do exactly what your traditional phone lines do. You pick up your phone, dial the number, and talk to someone.
Your VoIP service will simply plug into your modem rather than into a wall socket. But if you want to get technical, with IP enabled phone systems, you’ll also be able to make calls using your computer and mobile devices.
Myth #3 – VoIP isn’t secure
It’s true that VoIP and Hosted PBX fraud is a thing, but most VoIP providers have stricter safeguards than their traditional phone line counterparts. If someone started making lots of fraudulent calls on your phone system, a VoIP provider would know well before you got your phone bill from Telstra.
Myth #4 – VoIP is hard to install and use
It’s actually extremely simple. You simply connect your handsets to your router, and because Hosted phone system handsets are already programmed, you can just start using them straight away. No fiddling about required. As far as operation, the VoIP and SIP handsets look and operate just like normal phones. One touch buttons for all key features.
Myth #5 – Small business doesn’t benefit from VoIP
On average, businesses save 60% on their phone bill compared to Telstra!
VoIP gives small businesses many more features allowing greater flexibility.
The truth is, this probably won’t be the last negative misinformation you hear about VoIP, but sooner or later it will be time to accept that it’s the phone solution of the future.
If you want to get on the awesome VoIP bandwagon, speak to one of our phone system experts. We offer SIP Trunks for Traditional PBX’s and NBN Ready Phone Systems, and we’ll happily go through the pro’s and con’s of each with you.
If you’re using VoIP or SIP trunks, there are a number of factors that can impact the quality of your calls. Many of these have nothing to do with your PBX system or the quality of your VoIP or SIP service.
If a web page loads slowly because you’re downloading a large file, the pauses in your internet speed are usually unnoticeable. But with internet phone calls, these pauses can cause an interruption to your phone call quality.
First and foremost, having a good internet connection is essential to making sure your calls are clear and uninterrupted, however, that’s not all there is to it.
Where does Quality of Service fit into the PBX puzzle?
Before we get into what Quality or Service is, it’s important to understand what it isn’t. This means understanding a little about breakpoints and bandwidth, both of which can impact your calls. Knowing this information means you can rule other issues out before deciding that QoS is the reason for your drop in call quality.
Breakpoints are all of the different locations where a fault can occur in your phone service. Think of the way your plumbing is connected to the public water plant. There are pipes within the plant itself, public pipes and connections, t-sections where the pipe moves from the mains to your house, and pipes to every different tap in your home. When you turn on your tap and there’s no water, the fault could lie in any of these places (probably more, but we’re not plumbers 🙂)
Telecommunications breakpoints work in the same way. There are breakpoints in the public network and inside your premises, from the wall outlets, your PBX system, your modem, and your wall outlets. Breakpoints can impact your call quality and, depending on where they are, finding a solution could be the responsibility of your VoIP service provider, your VoIP service carrier, or your IT team.
The amount of data that can be transmitted through your internet connection in a set amount of time is known as bandwidth. Yes – this one is all about your internet connection.
You will see bandwidth expressed a Mbps (megabits per second). Your connection will have a upload bandwidth (speed of data you send out), and a download bandwidth (speed of data that’s incoming). When you selected which internet connection to get in your office, there would have been a maximum bandwidth included. It’s usually referred to as ‘connection speed’. For example, you may have a plan with a 100GB download limit with a connection speed of up to 25/5Mbps.
When you connect your PBX system to your internet connection, each call will be taking from your maximum bandwidth. If it’s sharing the load with your general internet use, it could put pressure on your bandwidth, and you could experience interruptions and a drop in call quality.
Your service carrier should have discussed your phone and internet use before you signed up for a plan. Often, a single data connection will be able to carry your internet and your phone calls easily. But if it can’t, the best solution is to have a dedicated data service for each. That way, your phone and internet run each on different services, and the use of one will never affect the quality of the other.
What is Quality of Service?
When your call quality drops, the problem could be one that is beyond the power of your phone system provider. It could also be out of the hands of your SIP service carrier, and even your resident IT guy.
These factors are referred to as Quality of Service (QoS) and are concerned with the finer details about how the internet works, and how your devices connect to others.
Latency refers to the time it takes for data to travel from one point to another. When you visit a website, download a video, or send an email, latency refers to how long it takes your computer to connect to the source, and retrieve their data for you to access.
Ping refers to the reaction time of your connection, kind of like the way the reflexes in your body work. It measures, in milliseconds, how long it takes for you get a response after you’ve sent out a request. The faster the ping, the better the reaction time of your connection.
The number of breakpoints your service travels through will influence the speed of your ping.
Devices use packets to communicate with each other over the internet, they use packets. Packets are, put simply, chunks of data sent back and forth.
If device A sends a packet to device B every 10 milliseconds (ms), and device B is sending packets back at the same rate, there is no jitter.
However, if device A is sending packets every 10ms, but device B is busy downloading a large file or video, it may not be able to receive the packet you’re sending in the same timeframe. In this case, it might get zero packets for 60ms, and then get 6 packets all at the same time.
Now, this doesn’t matter if you are browsing websites of checking your email, because 60ms is no time at all. However, every millisecond counts in a phone call. You WILL notice the interruption, no matter which end of the line you are on.
Finding a Solution
The root of QoS issues lie in the wide expanses of the internet. They cannot be repaired by your phone system provider, the carrier of your SIP service, or by your IT guy.
While it’s important that you eliminate other possibilities first, one step closer to a solution is to have a dedicated internet connection. This would exist solely for the purpose of carrying your phone calls. This way, general internet use in your office will never have any impact on your call quality.
If you’re setting up VoIP or SIP in the near future, getting the right provider is an absolute must. Speak to the team at Summit Internet on 1300 049 749 to find out more about switching your PBX system to a SIP service.
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
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.
Once the VoIP system entered the market, it showcased a wide range of features that made it a lucrative switch from PSTN systems. However, as with every new technology, not everything is stable from the mere start, which made businesses doubt this new technology. However, as the years have passed, this technology has aged like wine, only becoming increasingly superior to PSTN systems.
Therefore, if you are thinking about moving to VoIP systems, no matter if you are a small or big business, the following facts will show you why you should definitely go for it.
It is cost effective
One of the biggest advantages this system brings to the table it cost-efficiency. This is due to the fact that all of the data is actually driven across the internet protocol, which is a cheaper way of transferring data. This allows VoIP services providers to:
Deliver services at lower fees – The main problem with phone systems used to be the cost. Yes, you could reach out to a person no matter where he or she is, as long as you knew their number. Now, with only a click, you can get in touch with anyone, no matter where they are, but for only a couple of cents. Phone bills used to be a problem, whereas now, as your business grows, the rise in costs will practically be unnoticeable.
Free internal calls – Using a VoIP system enables a business to establish an internal network where employees can communicate for free, no matter where they are. This was practically impossible with PSTN systems and it is a great way to significantly lower costs, especially when the business grows and includes thousands of employees globally.
Cost efficiency is important for every business for a variety of business tasks. As communication is always necessary, cutting costs on it is seriously important for future business expenditures.
Scalability and flexibility
One of the benefits of VoIP system hides behind its incredible ability of easily change over time. Okay, your business has started of with 2 employees. Now, a year later, you are sitting with 50 employees and are still growing.
Adding telephones like this was limited as each line required physical changes made to the system. However, with a VoIP platform, adding new users is much easier and practically limitless. Scalability is very important, as your business is likely to grow over time and you want to be in a position to work on a platform that allows easy expansion.
Also, moving your employee’s position in the office without changing their phone number is also easy. As their phones have unique mac addresses, he or she should only bring a phone with them and plug it in the system; it will automatically register their device and all its properties.
The easy flexibility and scalability of the VoIP system is yet another benefit and it shows how advanced this technology is in comparison to PSTN systems.
Integration with software tools
As we are talking about the Internet protocol, you are going to use a client on your PC or Smartphone for communicating with your clients, colleagues, and customers. This is where things become interesting. The communication client can capture significant types of data and it can be integrated with different types of software tools such as CRMs, which can allow you to analyse the collected data for future reference.
This is especially important for enterprise businesses, as the amount of data can clearly show future behaviors of employees and customers.
Internet is now everywhere, which means that VoIP is now anywhere as well. All you have to do is have the client installed on your device that is connected to the internet, and you are ready to make calls, leave voicemails, organise conferences, and send messages to your colleagues.
This was impossible in the past because of the PSTN network limitations. Therefore, if you want to work a network that will provide you with more mobility, you should definitely choose VoIP.
Perfect for centralising customer support
With the PSTN networks, having a customer support number required different area codes for different geographical locations. This type of approach can be confusing for the customers, as they would have to do a research to find the right customer support number.
Luckily, this issue is easily resolved, as you can use a single phone number code nationally. This means that, no matter where you customer is calling from, he can reach you through a single number.
Also, your customers will more easily remember a single phone number, than several of them, making it easier for your customers to reach you.
Stability and call quality
As technology has matured over the past couple of years, VoIP call quality and stability has significantly improved. The quality is far superior to that of the PSTN system. Also, as long as you are connected to a good internet connection, all of the communication is stable, no matter the distance between you and the person you are talking to is.
Call quality does not only include voice, you can also go for video conferences with your colleagues, making it a great way to be present in a meeting if you are not able to come. This also significantly saves costs, as the VoIP system can help you cut down employee travel costs.
Moving to VoIP is the best decision you can possibly make, as the performance of this platform is far superior to what other technologies have to offer. This technology is only going to evolve in the future, allowing it to become cheaper and more powerful, allowing people to easily communicate with each other.