Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Hosted VoIP Solutions Include New Phones

When we think of cloud services, it’s fairly easy to imagine the server racks down the hall being replaced by a much larger set somewhere out there. Similarly, it’s easy to see that the PBX in the telecom room disappears one day to be replaced by a much larger hosted PBX system in the cloud. But what about all those phone wires that used to plug into the PBX FSX and FSO ports? What do they plug into now?

Buy your phones or have them included in your monthly phone bill? They need to do what the network connections do. Moving data servers outside is made easier by connecting the LAN to an edge router that has a high capacity WAN line to your cloud service provider. When you outsource the PBX, the same thing needs to happen. In this case, the connection is called a SIP Trunk. Yes, it’s possible to terminate the SIP trunk into a myriad of analog phone ports so you can just plug in the phones you now have and keep going as if nothing has changed. But if you do that, you’ll miss out on one of the big advantages of upgrading to Hosted PBX service. That’s all the special features enterprise VoIP has to offer.

A big cost saver with VoIP, especially for medium and large organizations, is the consolidation of the separate phone and computer networks into one converged voice and data network. The phones are now like computer peripherals. There’s an RJ-45 jack on the back that connects to the network just like a PC. The phone has its own MAC address. You can move it around on the network and still have it ring at the same phone number. Forget rewiring or reprogramming like you have to do with standard phones when you make changes.

Analog phones can be made to work like IP phones by using an adaptor box called an ATA (Analog Telephone Adaptor). This is something of a kludge because the phone still has only the rudimentary features it had before. That’s why the ATA approach is only used for residential, home office and very small business situations. For every other application, the right thing to do is bite the bullet and move up to IP phones, also called SIP phones. These are telephones designed to run on the converged network and make use of productivity features you can get with networked telephony.

If you are designing your own in-house enterprise grade VoIP telephone system, you’ll need to budget for new phones as well as the IP PBX equipment. Count up the number of desks and wall phones, multiply by the cost of each IP Phone at several hundred dollars per, and your eyes may pop out at the total investment required. You can put together a capital investment plan and go face the bankers or take the alternative approach of pay-as-you-go.

Who let’s you pay by the month for your complete telephone service? Hosted PBX providers, that’s who. The pay for usage model is what’s making cloud computing such a hot service these days. There’s no reason telephony can’t be put on the same basis. The one variable is the telephone sets that remain at your business, not in the cloud. You can buy those, of course, or you can have the lease cost included in your per-seat pricing for the system. That way you get brand new sophisticated desk phones that are guaranteed to be compatible with the hosted phone service. You also have one provider to deal with for everything. If you’ve ever had to referee between phone set manufacturers and carriers blaming each other for something not working, you’ll recognize the advantage of having “one neck to wring.”

Would you like to avoid the never-ending capital appropriation and procurement cycle in favor of just paying for what you need as you need it? Hosted VoIP may be the way to go for your business. Get competitive quotes and features for hosted VoIP telephone systems and compare with the what you have now.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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