Guide to Hosted Phone Systems Part 1 of 2
Hosted VoIP PBX phone system use is growing among small and medium businesses, but how do you know if these systems are the right option for your company? According to researchers at Access Market International small and medium sized businesses will spend $1.56 billion on hosting services for VoIP and PBX phone systems compared to $164.9 million in 2005. This kind of growth seems to indicate that hosted VoIP technology has come a long way from the technology that used to be represented by dropped calls, unreliable service, and static. So, where does hosted VoIP and PBX stand now, and is it a strong enough technology for you and your business to rely on.
Hosted vs. On-Premises Phone Systems?
A hosted VoIP system works by having a company host the equipment such as a phone cabinet and routing software at its own data center and connects calls to your office using a high speed internet connection. Some local providers use a combination approach; routing calls from the provider’s location over landlines as local calls. Doing this alls them to eliminate the need for on-site phone equipment and a high speed internet connection, and allows the business to use regular phones. This service isn’t available in all areas and can cost more than services that route calls using an internet connection.
Hosted PBX system software can be downloaded from a provider’s website by the business or user or configured by remote access by the provider. Users can then manage the system settings and walk through the tutorials on how to use the system most effectively. Most enterprise grade systems require the user to use VoIP phones, although some businesses route calls through their computers and an attached headset. As with typical on site PBX systems, businesses can designate a certain amount of bandwidth for phone calls and data transfers to ensure optimal call quality. One upside to using a hosted system is that the user management is simple, and can be done online in real time.
Routing calls: Open Internet Connection vs. T-1 Line
How calls are routed is a very important consideration for hosted VoIP PBX’s because businesses pay for the connection along with the phone service itself. Connecting over the internet can effect call quality and is not as secure as having a dedicated connection or line. Having a dedicated connection allows for better security, and increased quality.
Having a dedicated line can easily overcome the cost benefit of hosted VoIP and PBX systems. Before choosing to use an open internet connection addressing security issues is important. Setting up firewalls, and separating data and voice traffic over your network is advisable. Your provider will be able to help you with this and give you an idea of the call quality you can expect.
Next week we will be discussing equipment, setup and costs anlog with hosted VoIP & PBX