Every business has a need for reliable voice services. Making the right choice up front can often make or break a business. In the past, a business’ only choice for business telephony was to bring in POTS lines (Plain Old Telephone Service), and as business grew, more POTS lines would be brought in. Today there are many more choices regarding your business voice services depending on the type of business, the budget, reliability requirements, etc.
6 Questions to ask when choosing a business voice solution
- Should I only use POTS lines for our telecom solutions?
- Should we bring in a PRI to handle our business phone service?
- If we do that do I need POTS lines for a backup?
- Can I roll calls over to my cell phones?
- Would an Integrated Access T1 be better for my business telecommunications needs and a better fit for my budget?
- Is VoIP a realistic option for my telecom voice services?
Defining your options for business voice services
POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service)
These are regular analog residential or business phone lines that come into your home or office on traditional copper cable. Features such as caller ID, call waiting, three-way calling, etc. can all be added to these types of phone lines. The easiest way to understand this service is to think of the traditional land lines like you have in your home.
It is a dynamic circuit that has 23 trunks (lines) and 1 data channel. Unlike older Analog T1 line service that required companies to define each of the 24 phone lines as either a 2-way line or a DID line, PRI T1s are able to switch the function of each trunk dynamically as phone calls are made which provides considerable flexibility.
A T1 line is simply 24 phone/internet channels adding up to 1.544 Meg. For example, an integrated flex T1 could be supplied as 12 phone lines and 12 bonded channels providing a static bandwidth of 756K of Internet. In the early days, these circuits were always static, just like traditional T1s. If you wanted to change the configuration you had to call your phone vendor to make that desired change.
Voice over IP (VoIP)
A VoIP line is simply a line that is dedicated to VoIP traffic for phone systems. Generally only T1 and Metro-E lines are used as dedicated VoIP lines since these types of services are backed by an SLA and come with Quality of Service features need to prioritize VoIP traffic.
SIP (Session Initiated Protocal) Trunking
SIP Trunking is primarily a concurrent call that is routed over the IP backbone of a carrier using VoIP technology. SIP Trunks are used in conjunction with an IP PBX and are thought of as replacements for traditional PRI or analog circuits (sometimes referred to as Virtual IP PBX). The popularity of SIP packages is due primarily to the cost savings of SIP services along with the increased reliability, which is backed by a Service Level Agreement with the provider.
For companies with multiple offices in different geographic locations, a VoIP system can drastically reduce long distance costs since all calls between offices are over the network.
Toll-free service is very common and has proven successful for businesses, particularly in the areas of customer service and telemarketing. Toll-free service provides potential customers and others with a “free” and convenient way to contact businesses. Choosing the right toll-free provider and ensuring your business’ toll-free solution is providing low toll-free rates is often a crucial decision for the success of your company.
Conference Bridging refers to a wide range of conferencing solutions that enable a business to reduce corporate expenditures while improving productivity. From a basic two-venue internet meeting, to online collaboration, to a nationwide web conferencing meeting, audio & video conference bridges enable companies to efficiently connect people at a fraction of the cost of business travel. The three basic types of conference bridges are: audio, web and video. Regardless of the conferencing service type, solutions can address virtually every business requirement ranging from instant multi-channel conferencing to critical event planning services. With no obligation and a low per-minute rate, companies can have access to incomparable web conferencing capabilities including: Conference Recording & Playback, Project Code-Based Billing for Improved Financial Allocation, Toll Free Dial-in Numbers for International Participants, Operator Assistance, Online Call Management Tools, Present & Archive Your Calls on the Web.
Techminutes Pro Advice
Often a combination of the different business voice services is necessary to properly supply a business with its primary and back up business telecommunications requirements.
The methods of delivering business telecom services are continuously evolving, and businesses often need to either to employ a full-time expert or make use of and independent telecommunications provider. Carceron supplies much-needed unbiased expertise for all sizes and types of businesses.