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Is Your Data Network Able To Support VOIP?

You have made the decision to implement VOIP.   Can your data network support it?   If you have high latency or low throughput segments currently in your network, VOIP will make this painfully clear (if you did not already know).  Make sure you understand the performance of your network and the bandwith requirements of your VOIP solution.  A company that has only a single voice call active at a time, on average, has completely different VOIP and bandwith needs from a company that does telemarketing, for instance, or a customer service call center.  Make sure you discuss these issues with any prospective VOIP vendor you work with so that you do not find out after you implement your VOIP solution that you must now upgrade your data network to support it.

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The Benefits of VOIP

There are many benefits of VOIP.   One is administration.   The number is assigned to the phone, not the wall jack, so you issue a phone to an employee and it works wherever they plug it in.  With modern VOIP PBX solutions, you have significant administrative control over things like who your employees can call, when they  can call, how long they can talk, who can call them – the range of control can be amazing depending on your vendor.

All of this results in a lower overall cost of ownership for VOIP in many cases.  This is not a generic result and there are many variables, but for many offices VOIP can cut costs dramatically.  But, remember this this also places your voice services on your data network.  Failure of a network element isolates both data and voice service.  This is generally uncommon, but you cannot ignore the fact that losing a switch for instance, will make it impossible for people on that switch to call and report the outage.

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The Telephony Market Landscape

The telephony market has shifted to the point where most PBX  vendors offer Internet Protocol PBX (IP PBX)  allowing businesses the ability to move beyond the core functionality of yesterday’s basic desk phone.  As a result, VoIP continues to gain market share and many businesses are making the switch from Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS).  Hosted VoIP is becoming popular because it is low-cost (short term) and low-maintenance.   There are negatives, however.  Cost can be quite high in the long run, to name just one.

More than just a cheaper replacement for legacy voice systems, VoIP moves voice out of its traditional IT silo in the enterprise environment.  And with that move comes the opportunity for businesses to grow and expand in ways that traditional voice solutions never allowed.  Hidden benefits of VoIP include the ability to provide rich media services and with proper IP connectivity, VoIP offers number mobility with a phone device capable of using the same number virtually anywhere.  And perhaps the most potent arrow in VoIP’s quiver is its ability to enable Unified Communications which in turn will feed the growing popularity of the virtual workplaces.

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Taken in part from:  Compare Business Products – What do Do with Your Legacy PBX  2012


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Answering the IP Telephony Call

As budgets for most businesses have been contracting in recent years, a growing number of enterprises have abandoned their legacy PBX systems and turned to IP technology to lower telecom costs and improve their bottom line.  Moving voice traffic to the data network allows business to cut – or eliminate entirely – the costs associated with the maintenance of a dedicated voice network, including staffing and equipment.

Businesses today have more choices than ever when it comes to telephone systems.  The world of telephony has come a long way from the days when choosing a phone system was relegated to the PBX/key system/Centrex toss of the dice.  Prior to the advent of IP (Internet Protocol) telephony, the choices were pretty simple:  Buy an expensive PBX, a less-expensive key system, or pay-as-you-go with Centrex.

Back in the dark ages of telephony (less than a decade ago), plain old telephone service (POTS) was the standard for both consumer and business telecommunications.  POTS is the analog, voice-grade telephone service that runs on public switched telephone network (PSTN), a global network of public, circuit-switched telephone networks.  Business users would invest in a private branch exchange (PBX) to serve its office, route ingoing and outgoing calls, and to reduce the cost of internal phone calls.  Available since the late 19th century, POTS remained largely unchanged for decades.

The telephony market began to change in the mid-2000’s with the advent of IP telephony.  VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) relies on existing broadband Internet access, as users make and receive telephone calls in much the same way as they did via PSTN.  The difference with IP telephony centers on the fact that calls travel on the Internet, rather than the PSTN.

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Taken in part from:  Compare Business Products:  What to Do with Your Legacy PBX 2012


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The Legacy PBX – When Is Integration a Poor Choice?

Integration is a poor choice for enterprises where:

  • Business growth has exceeded PBX limits
  • The business requires remote office integration
  • The business requires telephony features not supported by existing PBX

According to TechDay, the rising costs of keeping a legacy PBX reliable under increasing demand – not to mention a more competitive business environment – is simply not viable for most modern enterprises.

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Should You Retain Your Existing PBX?

Should you retain your existing PBX, modify it, or replace it altogether with a software-based solution?  That is the question many enterprises face today, and the makeup of their voice system must be considered when reviewing long-term plans for their organization’s IT strategy.

The old saying is, “If it is not broke, don’t fix it.”  Abandoning a legacy PBX system altogether  simply is not feasible for some enterprises.  After investing thousands of dollars into equipment, from handsets to the PBX itself, retiring the system might be out of the question.   If you are reading this, it has become evident that your enterprise has outgrown its current system, your legacy PBX is lacking modern features that could help you gain competitive advantage, and/or your enterprise is expanding rapidly.  Obviously, simply retaining your legacy PBX and hoping that it will continue to meet future demand is much like an ostrich hiding its head in the sand.\

Businesses that are well-served by their existing PBX and looking to avoid the cost of new equipment may opt for legacy PBX integration.  Integration solutions allow an enterprise to keep its existing PBX and free up the capital expense for other expanding business needs.  According to PCWorld’s  Zack Stern, SIP hardware and software companies are eager to undercut traditional office systems; as such, some enterprises might be able to save by making the switch.

“Your biggest savings could come from cutting your current ISDN PRI/BRI cord – the phone ‘trunk’ into your business,” Stern says.  With SIP trunking in its place, you instead connect through your ISP, sharing phone traffic with your Internet service.  “The switch can streamline your monthly fees.  But you will have to add hardware to make this transition.  Many SIP systems can work with your currently installed PBX hardware.  You will connect from the PBX phone system into border controller hardware, which in turn connects to your Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP).  The ITSP finally taps into the public phone network, reaching anyone on any phone.”

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http://www.wilsontechgroup.com

Taken from:  Compare Business Products:  What To Do with Your Legacy PBX 2012

 


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Selecting A Business Phone System: Avoid Buying Solely on Price

Be careful when considering cloud providers that offer a low price.  You may be giving up quality of service and potential loss of revenue in exchange for a lower monthly cost.  If you go with a traditional solution, you have to consider the initial investment in the hardware PBX, the installation of the phone system, the ongoing maintenance and enhancement to it if your business expands, as well as the monthly fees.

Consider a leasing program to offset the initial investment to be spread over time.  Whatever option you choose, be sure to calculate the total cost of ownership since a cloud based solution is never owned but rather a monthly expense that never goes down and could potentially go up or go away completely if the company is not stable enough.

For further information on Wilson Technology Group’s Services (business phones/computers/security cameras/cabling and more) call today  or go to our website at:  www.wilsontechgroup.com.

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