Grievances of IP Phone System Users

VoIP is the new–age technology. There is no doubt about it. More and more businesses are opting for this new mode of telecommunication. It is cost effective and, more importantly, it is based on Internet or IP technology. Besides, it molds various modes of communications into one. However, the thing is that an IP phone system is not without is its own issues. It has its own share of limitations, and these limitations can lead to grievances for its users.

Let’s look into some of the issues that the users of VoIP raise.

Voice Quality of IP Phone System

It is a fact that VoIP-based technology delivers a superior quality of voice. However, this only becomes a reality when two conditions are satisfied. Firstly, phones of the callers as well as the receivers need to support HD codec. This means, the calls involving the PSTN technology do not qualify to enjoy the benefit of IP phone system. When you use PSTN technology phones, the voice quality drops. Thus, this provokes a lot of concerns from IP phone system users. This particularly happens when one calls people without VoIP technology.

The other condition is that the bandwidth, which is used to complete the call, is sufficient enough to transfer the HD data. In most of the cases, users meet the second condition when they have an unlimited plan with a good bandwidth speed. When the voice traffic shoots up in terms of volume, so does the demand for bandwidth. Thus, IP phone system traffic gets affected. This gives rise to call drops and other associated instances. Naturally, when this happens, users raise their concerns and demand this issue to be addressed and solved.

Call Delays in IP Phone System

VoIP communication gets delayed with limited resources. This mainly happens when there is a poor and ineffective management of bandwidth and is not necessarily a shortcoming or fallacy of IP phone system. Regular PSTN lines are generally dedicated. This means these lines cannot be used for any other purpose. However, in the case of IP phone system, since there are no dedicated lines, other traffic interferes with the VoIP bandwidth. This affects the quality of performance. In order to stop that from happening, a sophisticated mechanism for traffic control must come into effect.

Power Outages

Another shortcoming of IP phone system that raises grievances from the part of the users is that the technology is fully dependent on electricity. Thus, if by any chance there is a power disruption or outage, the IP phone system connection gets snapped. This mainly happens as the modems, VoIP servers as well as the other infrastructure and equipment depend entirely on the availability of power.

The solution to this issue, of course, is ensuring that there is enough redundancy as well as an adequate system backup. These two factors ensure that the voice traffic keeps flowing. Thus, these are certain occasions when the calls drop or the quality deteriorates, thereby upsetting the IP phone system users.

In spite of the fact that IP phone system comes up with a lot of value-added features and never before seen advantages, it does have its own limitations. These limitations cause enough frustration to the users, thereby letting them raise grievances against a new age technology that has taken the world of telecommunication by storm.

A lot depends on the VoIP service provider. If a particular service provider gathers users beyond their capability, they will not be able to deliver quality. They might be ready to accept that a percentage of their users will be unhappy. But, you certainly do not want to be in that percentage. Choose your service provider carefully after understanding what they are offering, and their infrastructure and service capabilities.

Reliable IP Phone Systems Through PhoneAM

At Phone America, we have the knowledge and experience to prepare a blueprint for your shift to VoIP. Call us today and we will guide you through the whole process.

Phone America Corporation is a leading supplier of advanced telecom systems for small and large businesses. We serve as a single point of contact for today’s growing communication needs, offering a wide range of telephone equipment, wiring, surveillance systems, telephone cost accounting systems, and voice processing systems.

Call (800) 836-3601 for a free evaluation of your current system and the system you will need to carry your business into the FUTURE.

VoIP Providers & Top 10 Vulnerabilities

Security has always been a debatable point for VoIP providers. Since it’s an Internet-based communication technology, it is vulnerable to various security threats. However, with a little caution and adherence to standard procedures, VoIP providers can safeguard you against vulnerabilities. In this article, we will be taking a look at a few vulnerabilities that could plague VoIP.

  1. Lack of adequate data verification: Insufficient data verification can make VoIP extremely vulnerable to security breaches and VoIP providers need to keep this in mind.
  2. Flaws in the execution: VoIP registrations and services are dependent on standard database operations. If there are flaws in the execution of SQL queries while fetching user data such as names and passwords, it can open up the system to unwanted threats. Poor input filtering and programming practices are a great problem during VoIP implementation.
  3. Flaws in the manipulation of pointer/array/string: Protocol messages like SIP, SDP, H.323, RTP, MGCP, and SRTP can contain malformed packets. These often include boundary-value conditions and buffer-overflow attacks. The attacker can easily take control of the internal process when inputs provided by them get written all over internal memory data.
  4. Low resources: VoIP services implemented in embedded devices with lower processing capability and memory can be easily shut down by the attackers.
  5. Lower bandwidth: Often, VoIP providers offer services that cannot handle a higher call load because of lower bandwidth. The problem can’t be detected if the number of subscribers is lower. However, when there is a higher call volume, VoIP services operating on lower bandwidth can completely shut down.
  6. Flaws in resource or file manipulation: Insecure access to files is a common mistake during VoIP implementation. This stems from poor and insecure programming constructs.
  7. Password management: The SIP URL or phone number along with the password is the only way to access VoIP service. Passwords are stored in the server or client machines. Anyone with access to the server or client machine can use the password to use the VoIP services.
  8. Privileges and permissions: All the resources need to be provided with adequate protection from the platform, network, and network related threats. VoIP services do not need administrative password or privilege to run. Hence, extra protection must be ensured.
  9. Certificate and authentication errors: All devices and users need to be authenticated. User authentication is also needed to manage devices that run VoIP services. Hackers often tend to use the Registration flaw in SIP to falsely register themselves as a valid user.
  10. Packet collision and poor connection quality: Packet loss within the data infrastructure is an indication that the network is not ready for VoIP implementation. VoIP providers should check for Network jitter and latency because these will be revealed as soon as VoIP is implemented.

Dependable VoIP Providers Through PhoneAM

At Phone America, we have the knowledge and experience to prepare a blueprint for your shift to VoIP. Call us today and we will guide you through the whole process.

Phone America Corporation is a leading supplier of advanced telecom systems for small and large businesses. We serve as a single point of contact for today’s growing communication needs, offering a wide range of telephone equipment, wiring, surveillance systems, telephone cost accounting systems, and voice processing systems.

Call (800) 836-3601 for a free evaluation of your current system and the system you will need to carry your business into the FUTURE.

New Unified Communications Solutions From Toshiba

UCedge - Unified CommunicationsOne of the greatest utility of a VoIP or IP based business phone system is Unified Communication. UC allows you to use computer applications, data files, video, and other resources as part of your voice call. Till now, using Unified Communications required multiple resources on hand such a phone system, a computer, and log-in to servers and other databases.

Not any more. If you are using Toshiba’s IP, VIPedge, or the Strata CIX phone systems, your are truly mobile for all aspects of the modern IP based phone systems. Toshiba has introduced UCedge applications for Windows, iOS, and Android operating environments. Once installed, UCedge present a single and uniform user interface for you to access and use all the applications that reside on your Toshiba phone server – whether on-premise or on the cloud.

For more details on UCedge, please click here.

 

About PhoneAM

At PhoneAM, we have the knowledge and experience to prepare a blueprint for your shift to VoIP. Call us today and we will guide you through the whole process.

PhoneAmerica Corporation is a leading supplier of advanced telecommunication systems for small and large business environments. A total service company, PhoneAmerica serves as a single point of contact for today’s growing communication needs, offering a wide range of telephone equipment, wiring, surveillance systems, telephone cost accounting systems, and voice processing systems.

Please call (800) 836-3601 for a free evaluation of your current system and the system you will need to carry your business into the FUTURE

What is Interactive Voice Response?

IVREvery time I called up the customer care department of my insurance firm, I was amazed at the automated voice system that guided me to the right person for resolving my issues. Now, how is it possible for a recorded voice to be played up at the right time that leads us to the right agent? It is the IVR, or Interactive Voice Response, that does the trick!

How IVR Works

IVR is an amazing technology that facilitates interaction between the communication system and the caller without any human intervention. Whenever a caller calls up a phone number of an organization, he is greeted by the IVR system reads out a menu, and asks the caller to choose his option. Based upon the response, the IVR searches its internal database to find out the exact extension within the organization for routing the call to. Thus, you and I, or for that matter any caller, can be redirected to the executive who would take care of our needs. The IVR works by asking the caller to press a key or speak particular words for executing a command.

Nowadays there is hardly any company that does not use IVR with their communication system. Companies that have to handle customer calls on a regular basis are the ones that make the most of IVR systems.

Features Galore

There are a variety of IVR systems available in the market and while shopping for an IVR, you will be presented with IVR’s that differ in terms of complexity and sophistication. For instance, there is one IVR that wants the user to only press a particular key to get connected to a particular department. Others ask the user to provide multiple inputs for carrying out a particular operation such as in banks and medical diagnosis centers. Intelligent systems can be established by combining the power of knowledge based systems with IVR.

Other Uses of IVR

There are many companies that even use the IVR to conduct polls and surveys; these surveys or polls can be conducted on thousands of people. All the questions are pre-recorded and the answers can be in the form of a simple yes or no. Thus organizations are often able to build a huge repository of information without using huge manpower or time. The latest form of IVR is also available with TTS or Text to Speech where the commands can be interpreted from the voiced response of the callers. Some experts believe that such technology will soon replace the use of keyboards or keypad in the near future.

How You Can Use IVR

It is very easy to integrate an IVR with your organization’s telephone system, especially if you are using the latest VoIP or IP based business phone systems. There are intelligent interfaces built for using IVR with IP-PBX and related applications.

Some intelligent systems that have been built using IVR are:

  • Stock and bank balances as well as transfers
  • Polls and surveys
  • Intelligent call routing in offices
  • Forwarding in call centers
  • Order entry transactions
  • Information lookup based on selection
  • There are pre-recorded responses that are used by IVR for different situations, keypad command and also the feature to record the voice for future use. The IVR system also uses CTI to display all details of the caller to the answering executive. This helps save enormous time in asking boring and repetitive questions, and impressing the client with information on your fingertips.

IVR has made it possible to reduce the waiting time for customers and route the incoming traffic in an intelligent manner by modern phone systems. It is also amazing to see how IVR helps to meet the customer needs and stabilized the fluctuating customer satisfaction level.

About PhoneAM

At PhoneAM, we have the knowledge and experience to prepare a blueprint for your shift to VoIP. Call us today and we will guide you through the whole process.

PhoneAmerica Corporation is a leading supplier of advanced telecommunication systems for small and large business environments. A total service company, PhoneAmerica serves as a single point of contact for today’s growing communication needs, offering a wide range of telephone equipment, wiring, surveillance systems, telephone cost accounting systems, and voice processing systems.

Please call (800) 836-3601 for a free evaluation of your current system and the system you will need to carry your business into the FUTURE

Considering A New Phone System? Do Your Homework First.

Communication system is a vital aspect for maintaining smooth business operations. An efficient communication system can really improve your business and boost profits. The world is moving away from the old PSTN system. Internet based VoIP is the new paradigm in office communications.

Prior to choosing a phone system, several factors need to be considered like technology, telephony features, security etc. Now, this implies that you have to do your homework before buying a new phone system which fulfils all the communication needs of your company.

IP telephony systems are gaining popularity among business organizations as it offers amazing telephony features, uses the latest Internet based telecommunication technology and robust security. Let us look at some of the features that are being used by this latest telephony system.

Type of phone system that suits your business:

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is the technology that is put to use by an IP telephone system. Depending on the number of users in your organization, you can either opt for the on-premise VoIP system or a hosted VoIP system. It has been proven that it is economical and convenient for companies with more than 25 users to choose an on-premise VoIP system that involves the installation of an IP-PBX such as IPedge, or Strata CIX  from Toshiba. If you have less than 25 users, a cloud based or hosted VoIP such as VIPedge is ideal. You start with a small number and keep on adding users as you gain confidence.

Now, you have to decide the IP telephone system that suits your business communication needs and budget.

Reason for looking a new phone system:

Other than dialling and receiving calls, modern day phone systems are expected to cater to several other communication needs of a company. You have to have good reasons to replace your old telephone systems and more often than not it would be the inability of your old phone system to offer advanced telephony features like voicemail, auto-attendant, find-me-follow me, voicemail-to-email etc. There are several companies that are offering VoIP services and you will have to make a list of all your communication needs before you subscribe with any one of them.

Phone system should integrate with other business systems:

It is known that a VoIP phone system has the ability to integrate with business applications such as ERP, MIS, CRM platform. Some VoIP systems also offer API’s for integration with software of your choice.

At the outset, you have to understand what integration is and what pieces of your software and/or application you want to integrate. Instead of worrying about technology, look at it from usage point of view – you want to show your accounts receivable to your clients? You need to integrate your accounting or ERP system. You want your and your colleague’s schedules to be integrated? Simple. Integrate your Outlook or similar Time Management software.

Deploy, maintain and support for phone system:

It is important to decide upon whether to go for deployment, maintenance and support or to outsource the operations and maintenance to a service providing company. If the company has a skilled IT team then it can deploy as well as maintain the system without any hassles. If not, it is better to consider a hosted VoIP service provider that provides all the necessary support.

Service provider:

If one opts for outsourcing the VoIP support it is essential to figure out who is going to provide support to the phone system. It is to be ensured that the VoIP provider understands the communication needs of the company. Again if the organization is planning to go for both VoIP and PSTN service, the phone system vendor must know this so that they can offer a proper solution and integrate the two.

Total cost of ownership:

Everyone is aware of the fact that switching to VoIP can save a good amount of money. However, it is important to look at the total cost involved for owning a VoIP phone system. The price factor has to be analyzed in a proper manner so that the company stays within the allocated budget. One needs to know what savings will be realized in the long run if the company opts to migrate to a VoIP system. As the business grows, the organization will tend to add users to the system, upgrade the system with new features and at that particular time, the savings may have to be recalculated.

About PhoneAM

At PhoneAM, we have the knowledge and experience to prepare a blueprint for your shift to VoIP. Call us today and we will guide you through the whole process.

PhoneAmerica Corporation is a leading supplier of advanced telecommunication systems for small and large business environments. A total service company, PhoneAmerica serves as a single point of contact for today’s growing communication needs, offering a wide range of telephone equipment, wiring, surveillance systems, telephone cost accounting systems, and voice processing systems.

Please call (800) 836-3601 for a free evaluation of your current system and the system you will need to carry your business into the FUTURE.

IP vs Digital Phones

A communication system is the heart of success for any business, no matter the type or size of the company. Telephones are the essential bridges for communication between you and your clients. The company has to make sure that their executives are easily available or accessible to the customers whenever required.

Today, there are normally two communication choices available to choose from. One is the IP phone system and the other is digital phones.

IP Business Phones

IP phones are phones that send voice data over the Internet. IP phones are also referred to as VoIP system (Voice over Internet Protocol). It is basically a combination of hardware and software that enables voice communication to take place over the Internet network. The voice is transmitted in the form of data packets using IP rather than traditional transmission techniques that use PSTN circuits.

Digital Business Phones

Digital business phones are the traditional type of phone system that makes calls through the phone line or PSTN. PSTN is the wired phone system over which telephone calls are made. This type of phone relies on circuit switching. To make a call from one phone to another, the call is routed through a number of switches operating at various locations.

Comparison Between IP Phones and Digital Phones

Cost Factors

Initial installation cost of IP phones might be higher compared to digital phones. But, in the long run, IP phones save a good amount of money. Because the communication medium is the Internet, the call rates are generally lower or sometimes free – as decided by the data plan you choose. To switch to IP phone network, some additional hardware is required.

Installation cost of digital phones is lower compared to IP phones but the call rates are on the higher side. The call rates in digital phones are roughly 40% higher for local and long distance calls and up to 90% more on international calls. Again, in terms of running costs, digital end devices consume a little more power. IP phones end devices mostly get power from the Ethernet connection. Although some costs are incurred for installation, network and other functionalities, IP phones save a lot in running costs and thus have a better return on investment.

Portability Option

IP phones are more portable compared to digital phones. IP phones can be moved from one table to another without affecting the connection or the extension number. Even if the office is shifted to a different place, simply plugging the power and Ethernet cable will start up the system with same number and extensions. All you need an Internet connection. In case of digital phone system, shifting is not possible without the help of the phone service provider.

Management and Maintenance

Remote access is possible in IP-based phones and hence technical issues can be solved without the service provider being physically present at the site. With digital phones, it is mandatory for the service personnel to visit the site first and then rectify the issues that have occurred.

Bandwidth

In case of IP phones, the bandwidth is shared between phones and computers in the office. As a result, the system may get slow and affect the performance. So, if the Internet connectivity fails, the phones will not work. Digital phones have advantage over IP phones as separate lines are provided for them and therefore remain unaffected with problems in the Internet. However, precautions are available for IP phone systems such as back-up Internet connections.

Choosing between IP and Digital Business Phone System

Choosing your business phone system depends on the need and specification of the company. If a large number of phone calls are made and you have a well-equipped network infrastructure, it is beneficial to go for the IP phone system.

About PhoneAM

PhoneAmerica Corporation is a leading supplier of advanced telecommunication systems for small and large business environments. A total service company, PhoneAmerica serves as a single point of contact for today’s growing communication needs, offering a wide range of telephone equipment, wiring, surveillance systems, telephone cost accounting systems, and voice processing systems.

Please call (800) 836-3601 for a free evaluation of your current system and the system you will need to carry your business into the FUTURE.

IP Telephones – Smart Answers for Small Business

What is much required to handle a small business? Is it capital, business idea, employees, the employer or a modern business communication system? Though the first four are important, lack of proper communication can kill your business. Today, an IP telephone system turns out to be a very crucial component of a modern business, playing a critical role in the field of any business. Whether you need to contact an employee, reply back to your clients, or to support your customers very effectively, only a powerful telephone system can do the job correctly.

Look for IP Phone System Types

A smart business owner will look at ways of subscribing to an upgraded and modern communication system. As your business grows, your business phone system must be able to reach out nationally and internationally and grow with you.

Pure IP System

A pure IP system such as Toshiba’s IPedge gives you powerful features including messaging, voice mail, and computer data interface. IPedge works exclusively on IP digital data channels. In other words you can make a call from one IP address to another. Pure IP business phone systems save a lot off your communication expenses. You can make unlimited call to another IP address and impress your clients with advanced unified communication. When the client calls back and you are busy, you will get a message. Depending upon what settings you have, the system can convert the customer’s voice message to an email and send it to your email address. Using IP mobility, you can get the incoming call transferred to your mobile devices including smart phones, laptops, and tablets.

Hybrid IP System

A Hybrid IP system is ideally suited for a business that is a call center or has dedicated staff for answering calls. In a Hybrid IP system such as Toshiba’s Strata CIX, you can mix IP telephony with traditional PSTN line. At the end user level, you can use IP phones, digital phones or even old analog phones. When you make or receive a call on your traditional PSTN line, a convertor will transfer the call to your IP address. Similarly, if you get a call on you IP digital circuit and that is meant for a person who uses a traditional phone line, the call can be transferred.

Hybrid systems such as Strata CIX allows you to keep your existing phone line and, at the same time, move slowly and carefully to IP based business communication. It is kind of getting the best of both worlds.

Hosted IP System

In a hosted IP system, a vendor hosts a pure IP phone system in a cloud and offers you connections. At your end you need a good internet connection and a few IP capable phones. A hosted IP system, such as VIPedge from Toshiba, offers you all the benefits of an advanced pure IP-PBX without the hassles of capital and maintenance expenditures. Using either a laptop or IP phone, you can use all the advanced features. Since something like VIPedge is hosted on enterprise grade data centers, you can be assured of 100% connectivity all the time. In addition, hosted IP systems offer you Unified Communication and other advanced features.

Based on your requirements and capital adequacy, you can choose one of these modern business phone systems. The days of traditional PSTN lines are numbered, and the quicker you move away, the better it is.

About PhoneAM

PhoneAmerica Corporation is a leading supplier of advanced telecommunication systems for small and large business environments. A total service company, PhoneAmerica serves as a single point of contact for today’s growing communication needs, offering a wide range of telephone equipment, wiring, surveillance systems, telephone cost accounting systems, and voice processing systems.

Please call (800) 836-3601 for a free evaluation of your current system and the system you will need to carry your business into the FUTURE.

A Complete Guide to IP based Phone System

Telephone systems are an indispensable part of our lives – be it in the office or at home. We need these systems to keep in touch with others. Since the first telephone call made by Graham Bell, telephone technology has come a long way. Now, we even have satellite phones to communicate with another person located thousands of miles away and in a place with no modern communication systems available. Satellite communication can, in principle, cover every inch of the earth. The only thing that may disturb communication is extremely bad weather, but even that cannot stop the reach. 

ip phone systemsMobile devices we can take on the go and even text information to someone on another device. Most analog systems have been replaced with digital telephony offering faster and better communication with less interference and noise. Whether you speak to someone next door, or a thousand miles away, the clarity and audibility will be the same.

Analog Telephone systems: This is a phone system that transmits analog signals and this is the reason why it is vulnerable to a lot of quality distortions. Analog signals are easily affected by magnetic and electric fields and distortions are very common. Voice quality depends on the quality of the signal and when the analog signals experience interference, the voice quality gets affected. Analog telephone systems are the cheapest in the market but they are not user friendly and they can’t be programmed. They are also slowly dying.

Digital Telephone systems: A digital phone converts an analog voice signal to a digital signal and transmits it over long distances. Digital signals are compressed, and once they reach the destination, are decompressed and converted back to analog signals. Since the digital signals move as compressed packets, the content is not affected by electro-magnetic interferences.
The signal quality of digital phones is higher and there is very little distortion. Since the chance of interference is mostly eliminated, the voice quality is not affected. These phone systems are very user friendly and can be programmed for specific tasks.

IP Telephone system: An IP Phone is used for making and receiving calls over an IP network instead of the PSTN. Control protocols such as Skinny Client Control Protocol (SCCCP), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and other protocols are used by the digital IP telephone systems. The telephone system uses the internet or an IPO network to make and receive the calls.

These telephone systems can be software based telephones called softphones or can even look like the traditional digital phones. In fact he digital phones that worked with PSTN can also be used by using analog telephone adapters (ATA). Power Over Internet and USB are used to connect the telephone systems to the network.

A few VoIP phones that use SIP are connected to the STUN client. The Session Traversal Utilities for NAT acts as firewall and even block the RTP/SIP packets. There are others that use the DHCP client which in turn can be used for changing the TCP/IP configuration. DHCP client facilitates automatic and centralized management of VoIP phones. The hardware used by the IP phones consists of the following:

  • Speaker with microphone
  • Keypad
  • Display screen
  • General purpose processor
  • Power source
  • Some even contain RJ-11 for connecting to the PSTN

There are also numerous mobile phones and PDAs that are Wi-Fi enabled and they contain SIP client software that can run IP telephony clients. The IP phones can be connected to the local area network (LAN) directly and, in case there are VoIP subscribers who want to work with their old phones, they can use sockets to do so.
Some of the most common features of VoIP phones are:

  • Call Transfer
  • Call hold
  • Encrypted communications
  • Dial with the name id
  • Call park
  • Conference calling
  • A variety of other applications like weather report, live news etc.

IP phone systems or VoIP is the most sought after telephone systems as they provide reliable and seamless communication. These phones are very user friendly and come packed with loads of attractive features. These features can be used with the mobile phones and laptops also.