Hosted PBX information
What are the requirements for hosted VoIP?
To have a functional Internet Business Phone System (hosted VoIP) you will need to have a broadband Internet connection, such as DSL, Cable or a T1. You will need to have enough bandwidth to carry your calls (voice), as well as your other computer needs (data). This usually falls into the range of about 38 to 40 kbps per simultaneous call (for providers who use a compressed codec such as G729), plus an additional amount for the computer and data traffic. Most broadband Internet connections are priced reasonably and have greater bandwidth than ever before making the choice to get a hosted PBX that much easier..
In addition to your Internet connection you will need a router and IP phones.The IP phones can typically cost anywhere from $100.00 to $275.00 each. Each phone will need to have an Ethernet connection which it can connect to the network. Most phones have a built in Ethernet port where the PC can then be plugged in, thus sharing the existing Ethernet port which was used by the PC. This can suffice, but by actually having each device connected to its own switch or router port the connection will have more throughput and better consistency and you will be able to separate voice and data; a plus when it comes to LAN management.
What are hosted VoIP drawbacks?
As with all new technology, there are some caveats
which should be addressed at the beginning of the decision making process.
The stability, although generally very good, is not the same as compared
to a dedicated copper
line connection, such as a traditional telco line or, an in-house IP-PBX where the signaling travels only very short distances over a controlled LAN. The VoIP
connections, both signaling and voice, are routed through the Internet cloud and
as with all such connections are
going to be affected by unknowns or events out of control in the cyber cloud. These
events can lead to issues like latency that affect call quality or worse events
that in-effect cause outages due to loss of signaling or call routing. Although generally short lived in duration, these
issues can and do occur at least in brief periods.
Hosted VoIP solutions are generally less expensive over the short run
and the services are managed offsite by the chosen provider.
Hosted VoIP solutions are generally less expensive over the short run and the services are managed offsite by the chosen provider.This model can reduce a customer's business overhead expenses, but requires a reliance on the provider for many needs, such as adding a feature, making some changes and/or additions and expansion. But, most providers have intuitive web interfaces that allow customers control of their account where they can add make call flow changes and other additions or expansions.
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If your provider goes down then your business phone is also going to be down and you will not be able to access your account. Premise-based solutions, like in-house IP-PBXs will allow you to administer your own phone system with total control and to make additions and changes even to the extent of adding software packages like a Call Accounting Software package (ACD), which would not be possible with most hosted VoIP providers. In-house IP-PBX systems are more reliable, but come with higher overhead (you will need someone who can maintain and manage the system) and can be more expensive in the short run, especially for smaller systems. Hosted VoIP solutions typically only require the IP-Phones and possibly a router to be purchased as hardware, because the server or brain of the system is totally maintained off site with the provider.
What company size is right?
One of the big considerations when considering hosted VoIP or what is referred to as an Internet Business Phone System, is the of your company.If it is less than 8 to 10 phones at a single location then hosted VoIP can be an excellent viable choice. The ideal sweet spot for hosted VoIP would be in the 2 to 7 phone range. But, there are some other factors that one must consider when looking at an Internet business phone solution. For example, an organization with 3 phones at one location, 3 phones at another and a few remote workers would do well with hosted VoIP for several reasons. The remote workers would be using their own DSL or cable broadband connections, not using any of the available bandwidth from the office locations. The office locations would be right in the sweet spot, when it comes to the number of phones per location.
What is too big for a hosted VoIP service would depend on a few factors, some of which are directly related to the customer's Internet service's quality and bandwidth, both on the upload and download.
With an "open unmanaged Internet connection" and as long as your connection meets the conditions we speak about, the largest size we would recommend would be 7 or 8 lines (connections, phones or seats) at any one location, unless more advanced network and QoS are initiated on the network.
Although there is no definitive line in the sand, we would suggest no more than six to eight phones at any single location for most typical small business networks, unless the hosted provider is setting up a dedicated circuit and has QOS management enabled over the entire network, rather than a service that uses an open Internet connection.Additionally, a service that has a managed dedicated WAN would most likely install a SIP friendly router such as an InGate or Edgemarc. These routers are also good choices for smaller users that do choose an unmanaged over the Internet type of service provider. Another excellent choice for a router would be a Linksys with Tomato software. So, all in all, eight is the number we would have to say is probably a good maximum for any one single location.