SELECTING A BUSINESS TELEPHONE SYSTEM
Purchasing a business telephone system today can be confusing. There are many manufacturers and carriers that all claim to be the best. The professionals at Streamline have been installing business phone systems for decades and have the knowledge and experience to help you choose the best hardware and the best service provider for your business.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER
The key factors in choosing a business telephone system are:
- How many phones are needed and what type
- How many lines are needed
- Is the office wired for phones and/or computers
- Does your business have one location or multiple locations
- What features and functionality are most important for your business
- Which carriers are available at your location
With this information, Streamline can make recommendations on what type of phone system – proprietary or hosted PBX – will be the best fit for your business.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CONNECTIVITY
In the late 1990s businesses began purchasing IP (Internet Protocol) based phone systems. The move to IP phone systems and service was based on price and functionality. Many who were early adapters to this technology quickly found out that this type of service (while superior) could only be deployed successfully if they had a reliable internet connection. This is still the case today. To ensure call quality when using hosted PBX services, a steady and reliable internet connection is paramount.
Today, there are many options when it comes to business internet access:
- DSL/Uverse or Cable
- Metro Ethernet – from AT&T or FPL Fibernet
- FixedAir Wireless or “Wi-Max”
While cable providers such as Comcast and Atlantic Broadband are getting much better at delivering stable internet services, the service delivered by carriers such as AT&T, FPL Fibernet and WiMax providers offer a higher level of reliability because these connections (MetroE) come with SLAs (Service Level Agreements). The internet connections from Cable providers are by nature a best effort service and are not as steady and reliable as those connections offering SLAs. For this reason, using internet service from Comcast or others as the backbone for IP telephony is not a bad choice for remote offices that have just a couple of users, where the economics make sense. However, MetroE service is quickly becoming the standard for businesses with 10 plus users. Somewhere between cable service and MetroE there is still the option of T-1 service. T-1 service is reliable however is rapidly becoming less attractive to business as the price of MetroE gets lower.
HAVING A “FAILOVER” PLAN
Most businesses today rely heavily on the internet. As cloud service becomes the norm for businesses connecting to their applications, servers, remote devices and much more, a fast and reliable internet connection will be key to their success. Increasingly, having a back up connection — or “failover” — is becoming a necessity rather than a luxury. We are finding a high rate of satisfaction among our customers that install a MetroE for their main internet connection with a cable internet connection for a back up. This is an economical and highly reliable solution to the ever-growing need for more bandwidth and the use of IP for business telephone service.
Once your business has secured a reliable internet connection (preferably with a failover) choosing and implementing an IP phone system or hosted IP phone service becomes an easy transition from traditional “old fashioned” phone service.