Archive for the ‘Hosted Phone Systems’ Category

3 Simple Steps to VoIP Vendor Selection

Friday, January 29th, 2016
VoIP vendor

VoIP is an essential technology for any business. It’s important that you start off right by selecting the right vendor.

Thinking of upgrading to the cloud? This is an important step in the development of a growing business. The vendor you choose will dictate how well the job is performed, how fast the installation goes, and how big the bill is after installation. You want to make sure you choose the best VoIP vendor for your company. Here are some things to consider when making your choice. (more…)

What Are the Biggest Hosted Phone System Problems?

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Guy yelling at phoneWith the cost of bandwidth decreasing, and the cost of traditional phone service increasing, many companies are looking towards Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone systems or hosted phone systems to help realize cost savings.  VOIP phones are plugged into an Ethernet jack in the wall (typically with a CAT5e patch cable) exactly the same way you would plug your laptop into the wall for internet access. VOIP endpoints (phones) and PBX’s (the phone server) transmit voice over your data connection instead of a traditional digital or analog connection.  If you have enough bandwidth coming into your office to support your data traffic and voice traffic, you can now get rid of your traditional telephone service.  This can translate to some significant monthly savings.  However, hosted phone system problems can also create headaches if your infrastructure can’t support it.

The Problems with VOIP and Hosted Phone Systems

It all comes down to your two things; your internal network, and the bandwidth coming into your office.  If you do not have enough bandwidth coming into your office, your voice traffic will be severely compromised and call quality will suffer.   There is no way around this.  Any company that is implementing a VOIP or Hosted phone system for your company should do a thorough audit of your bandwidth connectivity.   It is very possible that you may have to bring in additional bandwidth to handle the voice traffic properly.

What is the Most Important Thing about Installing VOIP and Hosted Phone Systems?

As I mentioned above, with a VOIP phone system, your data and voice traffic are now traveling over the same connection.  There are three major issues that can occur if your VOIP system is not implemented properly.  First, if your bandwidth is insufficient to support both data and voice you will have horrible call quality, dropped calls, jitter, static, etc; a very frustrating experience for you and your customers.  Secondly, your internal network is not programmed properly to handle the VOIP system and complications arise.  Third and final, a VOIP system needs some type of Quality of Service (QOS) device or feature.  What this does is throttle back your data download/upload and gives preference to voice traffic at peak times.  Voice traffic is more sensitive to slow downs and disruptions than data traffic.  If your data traffic slows down it simply takes a little longer to download a file.  If your voice traffic is slowed down, however, it can disconnect altogether (dropped call).

So ask:

1)      Do I have enough bandwidth coming into my office to support a VOIP or Hosted system?

2)      What type of site survey and diagnostic assessment will you conduct to check the health of my network?

3)      Will the VOIP system have QOS in place to give voice prioritization?

If you see blank stares or hear stammering, run for the hills!  This is not a guessing game.

How Do You Know You’re Dealing with a VOIP-Capable Company?

The easy answer is they address the 3 questions above confidently and go through each step in great detail.  An absolute crucial step when installing VOIP or Hosted is a thorough site survey of your offices.  If a company says a site survey is not necessary, run for the hills again!  That would be like a tailor fitting you for a suit without taking any measurements!

If you have any questions about how to properly implement a VOIP or Hosted phone system, contact McEnroe Voice & Data at 410-785-1600 and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Hosted Phone Systems?

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

“The Cloud” or Hosted (They’re the same thing, really)

You see this phrase advertised everywhere you turn nowadays, from subway and bus print ads to TV commercials.  While the idea and what is conveyed in those ads may seem ambiguous, the “cloud” is very real, and something you have been using for years without even knowing it.

The phrase “cloud” is another term for hosted technology.  It simply means that information and processing capabilities is stored off-premise (not on a local device).  Your Gmail, Yahoo, and other internet email services are a hosted technology because they use servers that do not exist on your computer, to store your emails.  You access your email, their attachments, and archived messages through the internet by connecting to Google’s servers.  The advantage of hosted technology is that servers are maintained in a controlled central location, can be easily serviced, and resources can be shared more easily.

You’ve Been Using Hosted For a Long Time!

Emails, files, and other data isn’t the only thing that can exist in the cloud.  Voice exists in the cloud too.  Your cell phone voice mail uses hosted technology.  The voice mail system and messages don’t actually exist on your device; you dial into your voice mail box, which resides on your carrier’s servers elsewhere, to access all of the features that would not be possible to house on your slim and sleek cell phone.

Hosted Business Phone Systems

Understanding cloud, or hosted, technology on your cell phone is just the first step toward taking advantage of hosted voice services on a business level.  Entire phone systems, including their full suite of features, can be hosted, and will allow you to reap major benefits.  McEnroe Voice & Data has chosen to partner with Star2Star to offer our customers a unique hosted product that will not only save you money, but make your organization more efficient.  Among its many accolades, Star2Star is the only hosted provider that had 100% uptime in 2011 AND 2012 (not 99.9999%, but 100%).

The Pros of Business Phone Systems

Let’s start with the first major benefit of hosted; the one that grabs everybody’s attention: cost savings.  The initial capital investment put into a hosted system is far less than a traditional, premise-based PBX.  The PBX and its associated servers and processors are the most expensive part of investing in a new phone system.  And since your PBX is hosted, you can take advantage of the cost savings that resource sharing provides.  A hosted phone system can often be a quarter of the price of an on-premise PBX.  The second variable in cost savings comes to you each month, when you cut your phone bill IN HALF.  A hosted phone system runs over your data network, often requiring only a T1 connection for your office.  Imagine how great it will feel to call Verizon and cancel all of your voice services.  We at McEnroe Voice & Data save our hosted customers an average of 45 – 55% off their monthly bill.  This cost savings typically pays for the new system by itself.

The second major benefit of implementing hosted is getting rid of your fear of technology obsolescence.  A hosted system resides at a central server whose software is constantly upgraded and monitored.  Gone are the days of worrying if you’re running the up-to-date version.  Your hosted system will be as up to date 10 years from now as it was the day we installed it.

The third benefit that McEnroe’s unique hosted solution provides is sharing lines over multiple locations.  This is cost savings and efficiency rolled into one.  Instead of having rigid and dedicated lines per office, you now have hosted lines that can be allocated across your entire network, as needed.  Instead of having 10 lines for each of your 3 locations, you can now cut down to 20 lines total, and share them.  What’s more, if all 20 lines are in use, our hosted solution will allow you to “burst” and use another line from the cloud.  Imagine your customers never getting a busy signal or being sent directly to voice mail.

The Cons of Hosted Phone Systems – Watch Out!

Nearly 95% of hosted solutions you find in the marketplace are all the same solution, just branded differently.  Beware of hosted services that price per seat or user.  The charges will typically be $35 – $40 per phone, with an iron-clad contract that leaves you incredibly exposed.  These type of hosted solutions all use the Broadsoft network and provide little to zero quality control, which will leave you dropping calls, and experiencing jitters and latency.  Another huge disadvantage to these systems is that you actually pay for inter-office calls.

Why is Star2Star Different?

With Star2Star, instead of paying for each user, paying for inter-office calls, and having ABOLUTELY ZERO on-site quality control, you could be enjoying FREE INTER-OFFICE CALLS (including other branches, even across the country), and a quality control StarBox router that interfaces with off-premise Star2Star servers to proactively monitor your system.  After evaluating several hosted solutions, we’re proud to offer Star2Star to our customers because it not only makes the most sense in concept, but we have also seen the cost savings, efficiency improvements, and positive feedback from our customers.

If you think you may be paying too much for your telephone service, allow us to conduct a complimentary bill review and show you the absolute savings, per month and up front, that McEnroe Voice & Data can help you realize through the implementation of a Star2Star hosted solution.

Call 888-MCENROE (623-6763) and ask for an account manager who can help you with a complimentary bill review.

Article by McEnroe Voice & Data, www.mcenroevoice.com