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What is VoIP?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and even if you’ve never heard of it, you’re probably using it on a regular basis without even realising. If you use services like Skype, Zoom, or Facetime then you’ve definitely used VoIP! But what’s the advantage of switching business telephone communications to a VoIP system? Here are our 5 reasons.
#1 VoIP doesn’t break the bank
Comparatively, the cost of installing a VoIP phone system and the cost you pay on an ongoing monthly basis is a whole lot less than you would pay for a traditional phone system.
#2 You can access your phone system from anywhere
As long as you have a stable, reliable internet connection, you can connect to your phone network from anywhere.
#3 A VoIP phone system grows with you
You might have a traditional phone system with 12 lines, but what happens when you want to add more members of staff? It’s both expensive and complex to add new lines. With VoIP, you can scale your system at the flick of a switch, expanding to accommodate new users.
#4 It’s flexible
VoIP systems are incredibly easy to programme. It’s possible to make groups at the drop of a hat. This means that when the phone rings, you can choose whose phone rings, in what order – excellent if you want to make sure that someone always answers the phone to customers, a great way to create, not just happy customers, but raving fans!
Are your hours changing for a public holiday? You can easily record a message to reflect this and have it added. Do you want any voicemails to be sent to a particular email inbox? When it comes to creating your perfect phone system – the possibilities are endless!
Not only is the programming flexible, but using VoIP gives you the opportunity to access your network from anywhere with a stable internet connection. You could have a physical phone extension at your desk, and then soft phones on your laptop and mobile so you can take it with you on the go – also an excellent solution if you’re having to work from home – which many are at the moment.
#5 Better call quality
Gone are the days when you need to hold one ear shut, whilst squinting to concentrate on what the person on the other end of the phone is saying. The nature of VoIP means improved quality of voice.
At Crosstek, we’re all about offering helpful, honest advice, so it would be remiss of us not to mention the downsides.
The biggest disadvantage to VoIP phone systems, is that you have to have a steady, reliable internet connection in order for them to work properly. A normal broadband connection is usually ok, but you need to make sure that it’s dedicated only to voice – otherwise a big email or a particularly large download using the same connection could negatively affect your call quality.
This is easily remedied though. For small businesses we usually recommend two separate connections to avoid this happening, but for larger organisations we recommend leased lines. We’ve written about those here if you’d like to learn more about what they are and how they work.
In conclusion, VoIP is a great option for most if not all businesses. The features and flexibility it gives, at a much lower price point than traditional systems makes it a great solution for everyone from start-up businesses who are looking to seriously compete in their market, to well-established large businesses who need an option which allows lots of users, and the ability to scale quickly.
If you’d like to know more, or would like to chat about how a VoIP system could be tailored to suit your business, who you gonna call? Crosstek! Give us a ring on 01732 617788 or drop us an email to [email protected] and we’ll be happy to talk through it with you.
Everything you need to know about leased lines
You may have heard talk of leased lines before from IT providers, but been left non-the-wiser when it comes to knowing what they are, or what benefit they can be to your business. Never fear, at Crosstek we’re all about demystifying the world of IT for business owners to make the whole thing less daunting so without further ado, let’s talk leased lines!
What is a leased line?
In a nutshell, a leased line is a dedicated connection directly to the internet which is solely reserved for your business. In a world where poor connectivity is a huge barrier to business growth, it can be a great alternative to broadband.
How fast is a leased line?
How long is a piece of string? This is entirely based around your needs. It can be anything from 10mb, or as high as 1000mb (gigabit internet). It’s important to consider this from the offset as while some providers offer the ability to flex your bandwidth to meet developing need, not all do. With this in mind, if you predict significant growth in the near future it’s important to either take it into consideration when implementing your leased line, or choosing a provider who offers the flexibility you may need.
How much does it cost?
There are a few things which can affect how leased lines will cost to a business.
Firstly, speed. The higher the speed, the higher the cost. It’s important to be clear about what you’re looking to achieve so your provider can best advise you on the speed you need, that way you won’t find yourself screaming if you want to go faster! A small business of 10 people is going to require a lot less oomph than a 250-person business running across multiple sites, with complex cloud systems in place.
It also depends on your location. Implementing a leased line involves running a fibre optic connection from your business to the nearest exchange or carrier data centre. The further you are away from one of these locations, the more it will cost.
The setup of leased lines presents a large cost to providers, so if as a business you’re willing to offer a commitment and sign up for a longer contract, you will often find a reduction in your monthly payments.
What are the advantages of a leased line?
Leased lines are capable of running much faster than normal internet.
It can accommodate phone calls with no loss of call quality. Perfect if you’ve been thinking about upgrading to a VoIP phone system.
No need to share
It’s a dedicated connection for your business, and your business alone. By not needing to share, you’re eliminating the uncertainty of lower speeds at peak usage times.
It offers great reliability and support.
What are the disadvantages of a leased line?
- Cost – While prices for leased lines have fallen in recent times, it’s still a lot more expensive than regular broadband.
- A longer wait for installation – It can take up to three months to get a leased line in place.
- Being a more complex process, the installation itself also takes longer than that of regular broadband.
Is a leased line better than broadband?
It’s faster when it comes to download speeds, and perhaps more critically in a world where businesses are moving more to cloud-based working – sped up by the pandemic – it also means increased upload speeds. It also has greater reliability and better support for your own peace of mind.
If you’ve been struggling with connection speeds and you think a leased line might be the way forward for you, please get in touch with us. Either drop us an email to [email protected] or give us a call on 01732 617788 and we’ll be happy to go into a bit more depth as to how it could benefit your business specifically.
One question we get asked a lot, is ‘Can I divert my phone? It seems like quite a simple thing, doesn’t it? Just redirecting a phone so you can take calls on your mobile. Like lots of things in the world of IT though, it’s a bit more complex than it seems and the answer depends on several factors. Here are some of the reasons we might say yes or no.
You’ll need an onsite visit
Quite often, business phone systems take the form of a big box on the wall which is very much tied to the business premises with handsets owned by companies like Toshiba, Panasonic or BT.
It works by BT phone lines being directed into the box, and then routed from there to the desks that require them. It’s all very static, and often not connected to the network which is what requires an onsite visit rendering it impossible for us to simply divert your phones remotely.
Ageing phone systems
Time flies, doesn’t it? How easy the years pass. One day you’re getting a brand new phone system installed, and then before you know it, it’s decades old and no-one remembers how to use it! #
We said that a bit flippantly, but seriously, it happens quite often. Someone asks us if they can divert business calls to their mobile, and it turns out that the phone system is so old, there’s no one left working there who can remember how to manage it, and we’re simply unable to programme it for you. This has been a really regular occurrence starting with the first lockdown and people wanting to work from home!
Often these two obstacles mean that the only option is to divert everything at a BT level, but this means diverting absolutely everything, and quite often it’s only the calls for one department needing to be redirected to the mobile of a department head, or a similar request.
Sometimes we’re able to say yes!
We love those times. In fact, sometimes we’re not only able to say yes, we’re able to avoid the need for diverting entirely.
With a cloud-based phone system, you can use a handset or a mobile app in order to connect to your phone network from anywhere that there’s an internet connection. You can read more about why this is so great by reading our article on the technology here.
If you don’t have a good internet connection for some reason, then it only takes minutes to divert calls from your work phone to another number, or we can even direct it to a specific voicemail. Cloud-based phone systems are a known-entity, they’re kept up to date, and we’re on top of our knowledge, skills, and training. Want to divert customer service calls and support calls to separate numbers? Easy peasy!
If you’d like to know more about the possibilities cloud-based phone systems offer, give us a call on 01732 617788 or drop us an email to [email protected]. Don’t let something as simple as a phone, tie you down!