VoIP across unmanaged networks? Avoid the pitfalls in 2 steps.

Many businesses are turning off VoIP and going back to traditional phone service. Here's why:

VoIP service is cheap. Plus, it sounds great. That is, the fidelity is high. But it's often delivered across an unmanaged network.

Many small businesses plug their phone system into a DSL or Comcast Business connection and partner with a SIP Trunk provider that's using VoIP. But that configuration relies on an unmanaged network, which doesn't provide the reliable service we've come to expect from a phone line. Dropped calls are the most common problem, and they're a serious deal-breaker.

Case in point

After suffering dropped calls and transfer problems for months, Epiphany School and Epiphany Parish called Caisson to help them transition away from VoIP service and get a new phone system.

The two organizations share a building. Their shared VoIP solution had their hosted PBX served across Comcast Business's network, which is unmanaged. Hence the continual problems.

To solve this we installed traditional telephone service and an on-premis PBX. We were able to keep their nine Mitel VoIP phones because they work with the Mitel 5000; a premis-based phone system (phones, a phone system and phone service = a complete solution). This saved them time and money. We transitioned their phone lines from a small private hosting company to Integra Telecom, providing reliable dial tone into the phone system. We kept their Comcast Internet connection, which is no longer tied to their phone.

To add efficiency and save them money, we set up their new solution in dual tenant mode, which allows them to operate as if they have independent solutions when in fact one solution serves both organizations at once.

In this way, we were able to involve resourcefulness, innovation, scalability and affordability in their new solution--proof that traditional telecom is many of the things VoIP claims to be, minus the dropped calls.

Not all VoIP is the same

To be clear, I'm not anti-VoIP. Within the VoIP suite, there are reliable products. For example, in addition to VoIP service there are VoIP phone systems, which can be powered by VoIP service or traditional phone service and VoIP PBXs. Generally, these perform well for businesses.

How to deploy VoIP correctly

1. Choose a managed network. Integra Telecom has one of the best VoIP solutions in the Seattle area because they provide the phones, the Internet connection and the hosted PBX. They own all three of the components in the solution. With this control, they manage their network very well and trouble shoot quickly. Their solution is not cheap, however, and not catered to people with less than six lines and ten phones. Call me for more details: (206) 420-0140

2. Use VoIP as backup. Businesses decide to buy Integra's VoIP solution because they want a redundant (secondary) solution. Some choose it because they don't want to buy, manage and maintain a phone system. In both cases, the decision to purchase VoIP is based on operations, not cost.

In summary, businesses should not buy VoIP solutions or hosted PBX solutions that are delivered across unmanaged networks. It will be a frustrating experience. Instead, aim for products and services that help you sound bigger than you are, safeguard your professional image and boost productivity. Therein lies the power of telecom for business.

If you would like advice on the right solution for you, give us a call: (206) 420-0140. Or visit our Contact page.