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11
Sep

VoIP. An Overview.

Posted by on in VoIP
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For many companies, signing up with a VOIP service seems to be a no brainer, there’s huge cost savings right? Well there’s more to it than that and whether VOIP is right for your company can be a balancing act between quality, reliability, and cost.

Firstly the cost saving can be huge, but need to be weighed up against what you really want to achieve with a new phone system.  If cost savings are your objective then this is an easy goal, depending on how many shortcomings you are willing to put up with, in-fact in most cases even a full featured high quality VoIP system with rock solid reliability will still save money over a traditional voice system. If your objective is better functionality and efficiency then you are definitely on the right track because VoIP systems come standard with all sorts of features which either can't be provided with a traditional system or can be provided at extra cost.  The availability of fast Internet or Network Services at your location is also an important factor as to whether and how much cost savings can be made.  UFB rollout is happeningaround NZ but full coverage is still 2-3 years out and even then reticulation to your premises can be a lengthy process.  VDSL is a technology which may be available to you if UFB has not reached your location but is also not available everywhere, and the speed will vary depending on your distance from you local exchange.

Secondly there is a risk of transferring to the wrong provider with promises of huge savings only to find bad service quality, bad or no customer service, and little you can do about it once you've taken the plunge. Many IT companies are pushing VoIP systems as a natural extension to the services they already offer their customers and riding on their already established relationships, however this can be a problematic because they have no visibility or knowledge of the VoIP infrastructure they are "plugging" you into. Ufone for example offer end-to-end support on our VoIP installations so quality or support issues aren't hand balled to anyone else, the buck stops at us.  

Many of the “new age” providers have grown from data providers as opposed to telephony backgrounds and have little or no understanding of the critical nature of a phone service to most companies. In fact those companies themselves sometimes realise that their phone service is the life blood of their business only when their VoIP system has a problem and everyone is running for cover.  Ufone also specialises in this field so we have expert staff to install, configure, interface and troubleshoot your VoIP system.  We also offer disaster recovery strategies, and redundant routes for your calls, meaning that even in the worst case scenario and you lines are cut by a bulldozer, you still won't lose your calls!

securityThirdly most companies underestimate the in-house technical requirement in running a VoIP system. Configuring and maintaining network security will require robust and therefore more costly equipment from routers to switches and firewalls. The equipment also needs to handle more complex tasks for example prioritising traffic so that calls aren’t interrupted by someone downloading a large file. It is also critical to have on the spot technical expertise to diagnose and fix problems possibly before they manifest as a serious outage. In-house expertise is also required to liaise with service providers in testing and fixing problems, and because you are opening up your in-house network to the outside world the threat is viruses or attacks is increased exponentially. Ufone takes care of all this for you and liaises with your in-house IT support to make the job of supporting and protecting your system easy for them.

Traditional phone service is VERY reliable because it was built to be so over many years of development and many billions of dollars of investment in the technology and infrastructure. VOIP services can be setup on a PC similar to the one that’s on your desk, and software bought for a few thousand dollars. These low end systems are connected over a public network utilising services from many other “downstream” providers any of which can also have an outage which your provider has no control or visibility of.  With Ufone you don't need to be concerned with what infrastructure you are being connected through, because Ufone has already done its "due diligence" and investigations so that our network is as robust and reliable as possible.

VOIP opens up potential cost saving to business users. It can be as secure and high quality as traditional lines if implemented correctly, but it is not something that should be jumped into without considerable due diligence.

Utilising Ufone as your service provider will eliminate most of these considerations as we provide both traditional and VoIP solutions and will manage the solution that best suits your budget and requirements without you having to become an expert in the field just to make a decision on it.

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Nigel is a Telecommunications professional with 15 years industry experience. He has run several successful companies in the ITC sector and is currently positioning Ufone to be a leading niche player in the cloud and VoIP markets.