There’s a wealth of information for buyers looking at business IP phone systems, and it can get confusing to understand the different options available. To start learning more about the basics of IP phones, business IP phone systems, and VoIP, read through this helpful article.
What is an IP Phone?
IP phones, also known as VoIP phones, look similar in appearance to traditional desk phones but are far more advanced. Like small computers, all the on-board features are applications, and the user can customize the display and buttons.
IP phones are wired using Ethernet cables and connect to an IP-based phone system. In contrast, traditional desk phones use an analog cable and typically connect to analog or legacy digital phone systems. IP phones are powerful because they use an Internet protocol called SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) to send and receive audio.
To explore Sangoma IP Phones, click here.
What are the benefits of a business IP phone system?
In the modern office, business IP phone systems are widely used. There has been a significant advancement in IP telephony, making it the most desired way of business communication. Some of the top benefits include:
- Flexible and scalable with plug-and-play installation and simple integration with other systems
- More robust feature set for better customer service and productivity
- Using your existing infrastructure is more cost-effective.
- Simple installation and use for remote employees
- Built-in backup plan
Flexible Hosting Options: On-Premise and Cloud Phone Systems
Business IP phone systems can be hosted on-premise, in the Cloud, or a virtual environment. Each solution type carries its own set of unique advantages and disadvantages. The decision on how to deploy your VoIP system should only be taken after a detailed analysis, keeping in mind all your requirements. You should consider:
- Cost: Feature cost, upfront vs. recurring cost, and total cost of ownership
- Existing infrastructure
- Flexibility of deployment
- The Cool Factor
Download Sangoma’s guide to help you identify and prioritize your needs and guide you through the pros and cons of each deployment method.
For a quick overview, download the hosted vs. on-premise infographic.
How to Switch to VoIP
- Prepare your network infrastructure: Unified Communications (UC) solutions can be utilized with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems and bring many benefits to businesses, including reduced IT costs and the ability to integrate business processes such as chat, presence, screen, and video sharing, CRM and support functions, and more. However, the role of networking is crucial during migration to VoIP/UC.
Download this white paper to learn helpful tips for preparing your network for a VoIP/UC deployment; click here.
- Test if your internet connection is strong enough for VoIP: If you’re considering a VoIP phone system for your business or organization, you’re probably well aware of the many benefits a VoIP phone system has to offer. Bandwidth is a series of essential aspects of your VoIP phone system setup that is critical for success. To help you determine how much bandwidth you will need to support a new phone system, users can use the following equation:
- G711 – A standard VoIP call protocol requires approximately 64kbps.
- Using G711, you can have approximately 12 concurrent calls for each 1Mbps of bandwidth.
- So, if your company needs to support 120 concurrent calls, you’d need a 10Mbp service.
To test your current Internet speed for free, check out our VoIP Network Test tool. It will provide you with an easy-to-read report that will help you determine whether your services will support a voice platform or whether you should consider an upgrade.
To read the full article, click here.
- Find the right VoIP provider: Now that you understand what VoIP is, the next step is to figure out your business requirements. To do that, however, you will have to start by identifying your organization’s business communications needs.
Once you have identified your operational needs, you can start to look for VoIP providers that can meet your requirements. There are different types of VoIP providers in the marketplace that generally fall under three categories: VoIP-only providers, VoIP with cloud phone system providers, and VoIP as part of unified communications solution providers. The third option addresses the most common business communications needs while improving efficiency by combining solutions in one platform.
“Sangoma’s UC platforms can be augmented with a range of hardware and accessories designed to provide the tightest possible integration with our phone system software. Customers no longer have to purchase software, system appliances, phones, and other hardware from separate sources. With Sangoma, customers can expect a complete custom solution, all from one vendor.”
- Know the key features your VoIP provider is offering: Even if a VoIP provider meets all your business communications requirements, you must ensure the provider’s reliability and security features. Securing a network is never a trivial task and requires ongoing attention as threats evolve.
It is essential to understand the protection features of a business phone system. Toll fraud is a costly lesson to learn and can cost businesses a lot of money over a short period.
A sound business phone system should:
- Limit the amount of call traffic a hacker can create
- Lockdown extensions from specific IP addresses or subnet ranges
- Change the default port for SIP.
Learn more about Sangoma’s VoIP security best practices to download our free white paper, click here.
- Research the VoIP Provider: You should always read about the VoIP provider’s background, case studies, and reviews to find the market position of the brand.
Frost and Sullivan have chosen Sangoma to receive their North American Unified Communications and Collaboration Competitive Strategy Leadership Award for our UC products and what we’ve been doing to bring them forward. To read more, click here.
Seemingly every day, we get a robocall. In 2019 in the US, it was close to 60 Billion of them! So it’s no exaggeration if people say they get called every day. It’s a problem for sure that the government is trying to resolve.
Many people don’t even answer their phone anymore unless they know the DID or seems reasonable (like from a local number). But even that is not entirely safe anymore. And that’s what STIR/SHAKEN is trying to fix. STIR/SHAKEN are protocols and standards that help implement robust caller ID authentication.
STIR stands for Secure Telephone Identity Revisited, and SHAKEN stands for Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs. (I bet they worked hard to get the SHAKEN acronym going.) According to the FCC, “This means that calls traveling through interconnected phone networks would have their caller ID “signed” as legitimate by originating carriers and validated by other carriers before reaching consumers. STIR/SHAKEN digitally validates the handoff of phone calls passing through the complex web of networks, allowing the phone company of the consumer receiving the call to verify that a call is, in fact, from the number displayed on Caller ID.”
This means any kind of VoIP carrier would need to implement STIR/SHAKEN so as the call goes through the network, and the handoff validates the caller ID is proper and has not been altered as it’s traversed the network. Implementation of these standards needs to be done by June 2021, according to the Traced Act.
So if you implement a VoIP Network and use Wholesale SIP Trunking as an example, you’ll need to make sure your provider has implemented STIR/SHAKEN by June 2021. Since Sangoma is a Wholesale SIP Trunking provider, we’ll have implemented those standards by June 2021.
But there are steps you can take now to help protect your customers. We also have a service that is available now that helps address Caller ID spoofing. It is available both with our Wholesale SIP Trunking and can be used by other carriers, available via an API. It combines analytics, caller authentication, and verification to help address Caller ID spoofing now. Maybe you have noticed “suspected suspicious call” pop up on the phone when you get a call. Our service enables this for your network if you are a Sangoma (VoIP Innovations) customer, or like I said, even if you are not but want to use this service on your network. If you want to learn more about this, please go here.
The post Stopping Robocalls Using Analytics and How STIR/SHAKEN Gets Into the Mix appeared first on Sangoma.
Given that mobility is such an important part of the Unified Communications experience, I have periodically written about the proliferation of WiFi, and about the expansion of faster cellular networks. More WiFi out there in the world, and the better the cellular networks, means the remote work aspect of UC will just continue to grow. That’s not really any big news, but I still check in on the growth and proliferation.
So let’s take a look at LTE and also at 5G. As indicated in the chart to the right, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) is a good place to go to get some stats.
LTE has been the fastest growing mobile system technology ever. It has over 5.4 billion subscriptions, connecting nearly 60% of mobile users worldwide. Most readers of this blog probably use some version of LTE every day.
But now we hear about 5G being rolled out. According to the GSA report, 125 operators in 52 countries/territories have (as of mid-November 2020) announced 3GPP-compatible 5G service launches (either mobile or FWA). If you read the specs, the speeds and latency for 5G are supposed to be significantly better than 4G in terms of downloading video content, watching video content, etc. Yet in commercials in the US, that part is muted and we typically hear “get 5G speeds” whatever that means. Specificity is lacking.
To me, that means I don’t need to rush to go get a 5G capable phone right now. But what is in the specs will occur someday. It will just take some time.
And while there will be some stand-alone 5G networks, most networks will take the form of integration and then migration of the LTE/5G network. This paper from Ericsson is good reading if you want the specifics.
At any rate, going back to the first paragraph of this blog, it means that mobile UC will continue its growth, and the advent of video to UC will continue to grow and won’t just be limited to your day to day “office” setup, whatever or wherever that may be.