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Reck B

Voip Phone Systems

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I'm considering switching our office onto onto Voip phone system - I've had conflicting information by vested interests (one who wants to install it and 1 who runs our current setup)

Anyone have any experience using voip phones?

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I'm considering switching our office onto onto Voip phone system - I've had conflicting information by vested interests (one who wants to install it and 1 who runs our current setup)

Anyone have any experience using voip phones?

Just asked out IT guy, we have a voip capable phone system, but calls are only routed over voip for internal calls between offices. For external calls, they go over a BT line. The reason being that the call quality is a bit unreliable.

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I'm considering switching our office onto onto Voip phone system - I've had conflicting information by vested interests (one who wants to install it and 1 who runs our current setup)

Anyone have any experience using voip phones?

With an installer who knows what they are doing and a decent network infrastructure then it's fine. Otherwise, on a typical SME network it can be a terrible experience.

Personally, I would stick with TDM and ISDN, even now. The problem with voip is still latency and voice quality. The current set of phone technicians typically just don't have the knowledge or skill set to troubleshoot an IP network when it goes wrong.

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VoIP is the way to go if you:-

have homeworkers and/or field based staff
have more than one building and want them all to be connected
want to record calls

If not, then stick to traditional hardware. Panasonic and NEC are affordable traditional choices that don't tend to break and will offer you a solution up to a couple of hundred extensions regardless of what kind of business you work for.

If you do go down the VoIP path then under no circumstances try to cut costs on your internet connection or your network infastructure generally; you will definitely regret it. Best choice is Asterisk installed and maintained by someone who knows what they're doing, i.e. an IT company that specialises in Linux. Asterisk is freeware that's been developed over maybe 10 years and is capable of doing absolutely anything that any traditional phone system can do.

Be wary of of traditional PBXs that are VoIP-enabled. You'll probably be limited to the manufacturer's phones as they will charge a licence fee to allow you to connect anyone else's phones to it (e.g. Samsung approx £100 licence, Avaya £75, NEC £60). The manufacturer's phones will be expensive and these licences are their way of locking you in. The VoIP hardware that you have to add is usually expensive too so make sure you know how much it would cost too add VoIP support in future.

Someone will now say Asterisk is sh*te. Yes it can be but only if not done right. Stick to installers that can give you half a dozen of their customers to call for references then call them and judge for yourself.

SIP is the only type of VoIP worth considering. All the others will be gone in a few years, except maybe Microsoft OCS but that's only really for very large organisations.

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Phone installers do love to tie you to VOIP when you don't need it, with manufacturer specific phones which are expensive and unreliable. One tried to sell it to me because it was 'Digital' and had no idea of the advantages.

Stick to POTS if you can - it's cheaper and better in every way within one site if you have the spare cable installed.

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I have a Cisco 7940 plugged into my router and try and use it for all my outgoing calls.

I am only a small business but the additional flexibility it and the SIP system give is good.

No problems with call quality TBH you cannot tell the one from the other.

Beauty of it is SIPGATE give out free geographical numbers which can be programmed to the phone.

The 7940 can take two lines but there are others that can take up to four or six lines. 0845 numbers are also available for free.

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Phone installers do love to tie you to VOIP when you don't need it, with manufacturer specific phones which are expensive and unreliable. One tried to sell it to me because it was 'Digital' and had no idea of the advantages.

Stick to POTS if you can - it's cheaper and better in every way within one site if you have the spare cable installed.

I agree with this. IP was never designed to carry time-dependent data like voice. It does so in an incredibly ugly way, compared to POTs which was designed from the get-go as a voice system.

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Well I'm a tech in this industry.

VOIP is alot cheaper but it's not without its issues. If a tradition circuit goes down BT will fix it pretty dam quick; however because VOIP isn't tied to a circuit line type, people sometimes opt for cheap ADSL solutions, sometimes they're not even directly connected to the providers network, which can lead to massive issues. VOIP phones can also be very expensive (we use nortels, top end and very good, but they do cost!) and sometimes the call quality can be lower depending on how it's configured.

The best way to go would be to get a Circuit and VOIP solution from the same provider, that way there is guaranteed bandwidth reserved for the Voice data (QoS), whilst you can also run internet connectivity over the circuit, cutting costs.

If you're in Miltion Keynes, we can provide you a FREE next gen line as we're part of a BT Trail, otherwise I'd suggest getting an Ethernet circuit with a ADSL/SDSL backup. If you feel like going old school, get a leased line, not amazingly fast and quite costly but the support on them is the best and they're reliable.

Depending on your current system, you can use SIP to back haul calls to a PBX somewhere, but it depends on a few factors

If you need any more advice PM me, but basically you need to work out how much you spend on internet and telephony connectivity and then contact some providers.

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Well I'm a tech in this industry.

Thanks this is a good description but can you explain the following a bit more:

VOIP is alot cheaper but it's not without its issues. If a tradition circuit goes down BT will fix it pretty dam quick; however because VOIP isn't tied to a circuit line type, people sometimes opt for cheap ADSL solutions, sometimes they're not even directly connected to the providers network, which can lead to massive issues. VOIP phones can also be very expensive (we use nortels, top end and very good, but they do cost!) and sometimes the call quality can be lower depending on how it's configured.

What do you mean by circuit and circuit line type? Is this what gets you ability to make external calls?

The best way to go would be to get a Circuit and VOIP solution from the same provider, that way there is guaranteed bandwidth reserved for the Voice data (QoS), whilst you can also run internet connectivity over the circuit, cutting costs.

Can you give an example of a circuit and voip from same provider?

If you're in Miltion Keynes, we can provide you a FREE next gen line as we're part of a BT Trail, otherwise I'd suggest getting an Ethernet circuit with a ADSL/SDSL backup. If you feel like going old school, get a leased line, not amazingly fast and quite costly but the support on them is the best and they're reliable.

My next obvious question is what is the difference between an ethernet circuit and leased line?

Depending on your current system, you can use SIP to back haul calls to a PBX somewhere, but it depends on a few factors

What's SIP?

Ooh, I know what a PBX is.

If you need any more advice PM me, but basically you need to work out how much you spend on internet and telephony connectivity and then contact some providers.

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Circuit type:

How your IP connection to the outside world is provided. There's a physical connection, eg copper line, and a non-physical connection, eg ADSL.

Standard ADSL has a 5-day fix time. There's no priority on it so if you're using broadband for IP calls it can take days to get re-connected. This is assuming you're using broadband on top of a line provided by OpenReach (BT).

You can get over this by opting for a leased line or ethernet circuit but these are expensive in comparison.

BT, Gamma - all the business comms providers can provide dedicated line and IP connection.

4 types of VoIP system:

- a VoIP system that just uses IP within the site, ie desk-to-desk, with a traditional line to the exchange (ISDN/analogue)

- a full VoIP system that uses IP within the site and out to the exchange

- keep your analogue/digital handsets and just enable your existing PBX to use IP to the exchange (or to a similar PBX if you have multiple sites)

- keep your existing handsets, system and ISDN lines and just add a few IP handsets for homeworkers/remote workers

When you're dialling a number that is not IP enabled, like [nearly] every home in the UK, the conversation will need to be presented to standard analogue or ISDN. So either your PBX does the conversion then sends the voice out of analogue or ISDN lines, or it sends it out IP and the exchange does the conversion.

There are very few cost advantages of choosing IP desk-to-desk. Mainly it means you can have one set of cabling to the desk for PCs and phones and it makes desk moves easy. You need to ensure your local network can prioritise the phone call data over PC data, which can mean upgrading network switches.

IP to the exchange can eliminate ISDN rental costs. VoIP calls within the UK are not much cheaper than ISDN calls as telecoms companies responded to the threat by lowering their call charges. VoIP can provide free calls between sites, but again the telecoms companies can create bespoke tariffs to achieve the same. It may be cheaper if you have a lot of international calls.

SIP: is a protocol that works over IP and allows voice, video, data to be exchanged between phones, PCs etc. It is the current common standard for VoIP calls. Theoretically you can put any SIP-enabled phone on a SIP-enabled PBX, but as SIP has a reduced feature set most manufacturers actually use their own protocol between their phones, which means that you can't simply replace a Cisco phone with an Avaya, or a cheap import. If you do choose to use SIP phones you can get the cheapest imports but you still have to pay for a licence on the PBX which makes it not cost-effective.

If you want the cheapest all-IP PBX, Asterisk is a SIP-only PBX. However, like all open-source projects, it is only as good as your maintainer.

It really does come down to what your current spend is and why you think you need to change your PBX.

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  • 245 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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