News and Views

What’s going on in the world of VoIP business phone systems

Are voice and data communications critical to your business?

UFONE’S 4GFAILOVER provides continuity of service for your voice and data communications.

If your data connection is cut or goes down for any reason other than a power failure, UFONE’S 4GFAILOVER will kick in, seamlessly taking over the static IP address* ensuring your communications keep running.

The benefits of 4GFAILOVER

  • Peace of mind – Stay connected to essential data and voice communications when wired connections are cut
  • Customer Satisfaction – Prevent interruption to business, ensuring sales and support processes can continue
  • Business Continuity – Prevent downtime for staff, even if a UFB or wire connection is cut

Interruption to data and voice comms can mean business downtime & lost sales, dissatisfied customers or public safety issues. UFONE’S 4GFAILOVER uses 4G LTE wireless networks to help keep your critical applications online or to support temporary or remote locations.

UFONE’S 4GFAILOVER will work wherever continuity of communications is essential such as:

  • Healthcare, manufacturing or any industry needing reliable connectivity for critical applications
  • Organizations that need quick connectivity for new stores, branches or worksites 
  • Retail stores or sales sites where EFTPOS and security systems need to work
  • First responders, those in remote areas and others seeking to stay connected in adverse conditions

Where can it be used?

The service can be used anywhere in New Zealand that is within 2Degrees Mobile coverage, which is almost all of the country. You can check out the 2DEGREES coverage map here.

If voice and data communications are critical to your business contact UFONE now, to see how UFONE’S 4GFAILOVER can benefit your business.

*Static IP Failover is dependent on the use of a UFONE Managed Router.

UFONE Deploys Sydney PoP

Back in 2019, UFONE identified a strong need to increase our capacity and resiliency connecting with cloud providers, content delivery platforms and their networks. Not happy with having just one or two Transit Providers to these networks, we joined both the Megaport Internet Exchange and NZIX’s Auckland Exchange so we were able to connect more directly to these providers and also to other ISP’s who peer on these exchanges.

The advent of COVID-19 has changed both our day-to-day lives and the way we work with the ever-increasing need of internet connectivity by our customers to run their businesses or work from home. This has made the speed, flexibility and adaptiveness of Cloud Computing and Web-Based services transform from ‘nice to have’ to true mission-critical.

UFONE Deploys Sydney PoP (Point of Presence)

As part of UFONE’s continual investment into its Network and Infrastructure, we’re pleased to announce the expansion of our network beyond New Zealand and into Australia with our first Australian PoP in Sydney, New South Wales.

Some of the more immediate benefits are already apparent, such as the reduction in RTT (Ping time) to most networks in Sydney with our average dropping by around 13ms, which should show a noticeable improvement in responsiveness in video calling, real-time collaboration and access to content-rich services.

We determined that approximately 80% of the cloud and CDN (Content Delivery Network) infrastructure that our customers access is based out of Sydney. Our new Sydney PoP gives us direct connectivity not only to the likes of Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure and Oracle Cloud, but also with major Australian ISP’s and content providers. This leads to a greater quality of service and more visibility into how our network is performing.

UFONE’s Sydney PoP also opens up access to other exciting opportunities in the future, such as NBN access (Australia’s version of UFB) and allowing us to provide our customers with WAN connectivity spanning their New Zealand and Australian operations and offices, privately and securely.

The Sydney PoP along with the recent launch of our 4G Failover service ensures UFONE is ready and capable of providing New Zealand businesses with bulletproof unified communications and fast, reliable access to the internet.

Lance Hope
Network Manager
UFONE

 

If data connection to Sydney or the world is critical to your business contact UFONE now, to see how our Sydney PoP can maximise your business communications.

3CX Reviews and Awards

3CX has garnered recognition from industry-leading publications and tech insiders. Positive reviews, awards and special recognition are being published across the web and below is a selection of some of the most recent. 3CX develops a simple, flexible and affordable cloud PBX solution and the industry has taken notice. To see the latest product announcements from 3CX visit VoIP news.

The latest 3CX reviews and awards

Software Suggest - Best Software 2021 Award

3CX Named the Best Software 2021 by SoftwareSuggest
3CX has been awarded the title of ‘Best Software 2021’ by SoftwareSuggest. The PBX phone system was recognised for delivering a unified communication solution that meets business goals while keeping user experience at the forefront. The report exposed how the unified communication solution embeds more than 100 unique features available to its users today, numerous options for integrations and competitive prices.

Digital Award Logo

3CX Makes Digital.com’s Top UC Software List and more!
3CX has been named as Best Unified Communications Software Company 2021 by Digital.com. The communication system made the list based on 3CX’s ability to help improve collaboration between onsite and remote staff, and was recognized for its seamless CRM integration, and inclusion of multiple communication channels on a single platform. What’s more, 3CX was also named as one of Digital’s Best VoIP Phone Services and Best Web Conferencing Software.

Comms Business Awards 2020

3CX Gets Gold at the Comms Business Awards
3CX has just been named UC Platform Supplier of the year at the 2020 Comms Business Awards. Fighting off fierce competition from 8×8, Gamma, and more, the judges felt that 3CX’s commitment to the channel, affordable pricing, and innovation pipeline made us fit for the top spot. Every year the Comms Business Awards brings together the best of the ICT Channel, and we’re proud that the 3CX Communications solution was recognized by these industry leaders.

PC PRO Excellence awards 2020

And PC Pro’s Business Software of the Year 2020 Goes to…
This year we made PC Pro’s 2020 A-List, and now, in their Technology Excellence Awards, 3CX has yet again been selected as winner of Business Software of the Year. Taking into consideration the hurdles that 2020 presented, 3CX is recognized for its rich feature set, ease of deployment and management, and unrivaled flexibility which have helped countless businesses adapt to the challenges brought on by Covid-19.

See more awards and reviews for 3CX here.

If you want to upgrade to a VoIP platform that really works for you, call UFONE now, it’s not too late!

Business Continuity Planning – Ufone Can Help

Continuity planning for your business is about being prepared for all types of disruptions, for example, an earthquake a Pandemic, or even losing a key supplier. Plan to quickly adapt and get back on your feet, it’s vital to your business’s survival.

If you’re a customer of Ufone we can help you maintain vital communications during a time of crisis.

Develop Your Continuity Plan

Your plan will need to be multifaceted and include the risks for your particular business, for example:

  • Coping with cashflow issues.
  • Insurance.
  • Flexibility where your staff can work from.
  • Access to critical data and services.
  • Robustness of supply chain.
  • Key staff contact details, and systems for enabling others to take over key tasks.

These things need thought and planning well in advance of when a crisis actually occurs.  If you are a customer of Ufone then we have already set you up to be able to cope will communications in times of crisis.

Business Communications Will Be Critical

Whether it’s remote working capabilities or diversion of phone services to any location, a well-planned VoIP system is critical. Maintaining customer contact and showing you are still available and responsive is a key component in business survival. It’s even possible your business could thrive if you are prepared and operational whilst others are struggling.

Ufone’s flagship product 3CX is a VoIP system that is ideal for companies looking for flexibility.  For example, using the desktop client enables you to easily work from anywhere you have an internet connection.  If you’re on the move then the mobile client lets you be on call and in the queue wherever you are.  Your receptionist could be at home and transfer your calls directly to you anywhere, even overseas.

If you’re a customer of Ufone we can train you to utilise our services in a crisis, a key to business continuity planning.
If you’re not a customer call us now, it’s not too late!

Your VoIP Phone Service – Ten Questions to Help Decide

Your business probably relies on voice communication for its very existence. A VoIP phone service is an efficient, convenient and accountable way to manage in and outbound calls. Therefore it is an essential part of a well-managed business.

Your VoIP Phone Service is a Critical Service

The delivery of a VoIP phone service can be glossed over by IT staff who may not understand voice services. Businesses expect phones to work and may not appreciate how difficult it is to provide a reliable and high-quality phone service. This combination of IT staff lack of experience and general ignorance can be dangerous.

“deals lost and goodwill eroded with long term business consequences”

A badly installed and configured VoIP system can lead to, not just inconvenience with bad quality calls, but deals lost and goodwill eroded with long-term business consequences.

VoIP Technology

Today’s telephony is completely different to what it used to be. Making a phone call on a VoIP phone service seems very similar but what happens in the background to deliver this service could not be more different. Your old telephone service had its own “copper” network connected to large phone exchanges strategically placed around the country. Today’s VoIP telephony is a data application delivered over a fibre-optic network, sharing the data connection with your Internet service, and other services such as “Netflix”. Large phone exchanges housed in buildings have been replaced with high-end computer servers housed in racks the size of large refrigerators.

However, the critical difference between old phone services and today’s phone services is that VoIP systems are susceptible to bad quality if installed and managed incorrectly.  This happens all too often which gives VoIP a bad name. Have you heard someone say that VoIP is unstable or provides bad quality voice calls? The real reasons behind these problems is either a bad installation or the wrong Voice Service Provider (VSP).

Avoidance is Better

Choosing the right VoIP Phone Service will save you time and money, avoid headaches and downtime. But it’s only when there is a problem that the true value of a good VoIP phone service becomes apparent, and by then it’s too late when you are tied into a term contract.

“do some homework and ask some important questions”

Every supplier of a VoIP phone Service will tell you that their service and support is the best, so how do you sort the “wheat from the chaff”? To select the right Voice Service for your business, you will have to do some homework and ask some important questions says Managing Director Nigel Rayneau of Auckland-based VSP UFONE.

1. Who is powering the VoIP phone service?

You need to establish exactly who provides your service because if your IT consultant is proposing a VoIP system then they will invariably be selling a service provided by a VSP. You need to know who that is because that’s who is ultimately responsible for the quality and stability of the service. It’s best to research the VSP and find out what their customer is saying, and how long they have been in business.

2. Does your VSP operate and manage their own VoIP Infrastructure?

Establish whether the VSP owns and manages the core VoIP infrastructure, or do they actually buy from someone else?  This is also important because they might not have the ultimate control meaning support will be 2nd hand. The actual VSP might be providing an inferior, or cheap service so it’s critical you understand exactly who provides the service.

3. What support channels do they provide?

No matter how good they say they are, or reliable they claim, the only thing you know for certain is that at some point you are going to need technical support. It may be as simple as configuring a phone for a new staff member, or more serious like a roadworks digger sliced through your local fibre feed.

You need to know that expert support staff is available when you need them, and equipped to troubleshoot a wide range of problems.  Does your VSP provide support via a phone call? Or is it all done by tickets and emails? Because the latter is insufficient for any serious business.

Also where is their support located? An overseas support department might save that provider money but won’t provide the immediate knowledge required for good support.

4. What experience does the installer/integrator have?

Most problematic VoIP systems are caused by a bad installation, and this is the result of incompetence or inexperience.  You don’t want to be the first install with a company that has no track record or experience to speak of. Also, do they have sufficient Public Liability Insurance and do they follow ‘Best Practice’?  Fly-by-night operators are common so know who you are dealing with.  Research your installer/integrator and get a number of references from obviously independent customers, with a variety of different VoIP systems.

5. What protection is provided against fraudulent calling?

Telephony has been subject for a long time to “Fraudulent Calling Attacks” and in the new IP world of telephony, this has only increased.  Your chosen VSP should be guaranteeing protection against “Calling Fraud”, as the cost can be significant.

6. What large corporate or Government customers do they serve?

A good indication of the capability of a VSP is the quality of their customers. The stringent requirements of corporates and Government departments mean that their service providers have been strictly evaluated.

7. What is their system uptime?

In the “old days” telephone services rated their reliability by how many nines they could achieve, and the ultimate was 5 nines or 99.999% uptime. This equates to 5 minutes per year or 26 seconds per month, where the service was down, and needless to say, is very reliable. VoIP systems by their nature cannot get close to this performance because they rely on so many more moving parts that are impossible to control.  System uptime over a 6-12 month period will give you a good indication of how reliable the VoIP service is.

8. Do they have a disaster recovery plan?

In the event of a disaster that wipes out a data center, ask them what happens to your service? A carrier-grade VoIP service should be redundant over at least two physically separate data centers. In the ‘unlikely event that a data centre is disabled by a disaster, it should not put the VoIP service out because the other nodes will take over the load.

What will happen if your data connection is lost. The VoIP service will rely on this data service and if it fails for any reason does your VSP provide alternate routing to an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu of options, or at the very least diversion to a cell phone.

9. Do they provide a Web-hosted “Voip Phone Service” service?

By far the most popular option for a VoIP solution is Cloud Hosted. This is because it off-loads the responsibility to keep the system configured, operational, and secure. It also reduces the need for capital expenditure because no server equipment needs to be installed on-site. A good Cloud Hosted solution should be housed in local “Telco Grade” data centres, rather than at an overseas location or worse at an insecure or inferior data centre. It should also be fully functional, for example, an internal extension to extension call should connect via the extension number, not a ‘dummy’ phone number.

10. Are mobile phone apps available for IOS & Android?

Many businesses are on the go or have remote workers, so having mobile VoIP solutions is crucial to the success of their day-to-day business. This is also critical if you are traveling overseas a lot. Ask your provider if their service allows you to take calls on cell phones and other mobile devices with a mature and well-tested application.

Contact us at UFONE for more answers to your questions.