“Just put your phone lines over your Internet connection and save heaps.” Yeah, right!
We often have a number of clients who come to us because they are having a bad experience with their phone lines and need us to resolve their issues. We have written about this topic before and why it is important to find out what needs to happen for a stable phone connection, however it is something that does continue to crop back up quite a bit. There are a number of benefits to Internet telephony but you just need to make sure all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed first.
It really doesn’t matter how big of an Internet connection you have, you still need to treat voice data differently from general Internet traffic. This is because if someone in your company is downloading a large file from the Internet, it will happily take up the whole connection – leaving you with a poor quality (or non-existent) phone call.
Internet telephony is generally referred to as SIP (Session Initiated Protocol), which means absolutely nothing to Joe Phone User. SIP is the language that does important things like controlling your call and governing the establishment and termination of your call as well.
Sometimes the way you establish the connection to your Internet Telephone Provider may be the root of your issues. But as a general rule, for voice to work well over an Internet connection it really need to be guaranteed a portion of that connection – in IT language, we call this Quality of Service or QOS. This means that no matter how busy your Internet is, your voice data will always have a portion of the Internet pipe that is available to it; and this helps stop things like voice lag, static, poor voice quality and one way traffic (i.e. you can talk but can’t be heard).
You may, in fact, already be using this technology and it may be working just fine, but we just want everyone who is considering moving to IP telephony to know the pitfalls as well as the advantages. Often voice is the first impression a potential client gets of your business and you don’t want it to be like a poorly tuned radio!
Here are a few things that you should look out for:
- Are you getting the helpful “just reboot your router” advice too often when your Internet-based phone system has issues?
- Do you generally have poor voice quality?
- Is your voice quality generally OK but it disintegrates at particular times of the day? I.e. when all the kids get home from school and on the Internet.
- Do you get One Way voice? This is when you can only hear a caller or you can hear them but they can’t hear you.
- Do clients tell you that they simple can’t connect a call to your main number?
While there are some things you should definitely look out for, here are some good things about Internet telephony:
- Lower costs – line rental and call costs
- Number portability – you can port a number from any area code to SIP
- Convenience (take your home number with you on your smartphone when you leave the house)
If you are interested in moving your telephony over to the Internet or you would just like some more information on this service, please give us a call any time and we’ll help you out.