Business Broadband News

Business VoIP - What is it, and can it really help the bottom line? 08/03/2010 - Ed Bender

As VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has advanced its technology in the last 5 years, business as a whole has begun to adopt it as a way to the future. It had always been touted as the future of communications, but has gone through its growing pains during this time. Now, the matured telephony technology is there for the savings, giving companies the features that no land line systems will ever allow.

Getting Started - Benefits

The main and obvious benefit of VoIP is that you remove the hardware and the infrastructure that you used for regular phone systems. The PBX equipment and the lines that are strung throughout the business are no longer needed. Newer VoIP technology allows for virtual PBX type emulators that can be hosted internally or externally, depending on your budget. Some of the newer legacy PBX hardware has adapters built-in or can be added to interconnect the VoIP systems into, but with that goes the monthly maintenance fees and/or rental fees for all the equipment and lines already existing.

Your VoIP system now uses the same network infrastructure that gets you to the internet, which is what VoIP uses for its platform. Since most companies are already wired for this, there is little or no cost in adding the new system to the workers desks. Many VoIP systems do not even need telephone style equipment, though larger companies will deploy them as a cutting down the change shock level for their employees. This is a natural reaction, changes this drastic can be disconcerting to many people.

Businesses can show cost savings up to 20% or more depending on which systems and which features you use. The more complicated, the more cost to the business. But it would be very hard to not save money in some percentage that would make the decision unviable. With phone based VoIP systems, you can have at least the same features that you had with the legacy PBX systems. Saving, forwarding, replaying or deleting voice messages, and for invoking call transfer, 3-way calling, and so on are all built in to the VoIP systems.

With the advancement of our computer operating systems, the newest VoIP systems are all computer based. They can have you voice messages all forwarded to your email address, so when you arrive at work in the morning and open you email, you can listen to your voice messages, then reply, forward, save, or delete them right from your computer, you only need to have to have a headset, and a mouse. You can even have your email or the system forward messages to your cell phone or even your home phone. How cool is that!

If your equipment is already 5 years old, you have depreciated it to its maximum benefit anyways. Moving to a new platform will give you the added bonus of being able to write off any equipment you need to deploy this new technology, offsetting some of any initial cost that would incur.

Deploying VoIP - Getting The Ball Rolling

You have two choices in getting VoIP up and running in your business. There is in-house equipment called IPPBX, which is similar to the traditional PBX, but IP based, or there are companies that offer IPPBX hosting, where you have a 3rd party manage and maintain the equipment offsite. This type of system is for smaller companies that do not have a staff internally that can do that. This is a very scalable system, since you only pay a "by the seat" fee for what you use. This can more than offset the cost of having it hosted.

Some things you might consider in your decision:

  • Do you already have are plan to get broadband access?
  • Is your current equipment already depreciated or at or near its useable capacity?
  • How much do you currently spend on your equipment maintenance and costs for moves, adds, or changes?
  • Do you have remote workers such as telecommuters or employees who travel frequently?
  • VoIP - Summary

    I have been to many businesses who have deployed VoIP in different strategies. The great thing about it is that you can mold it and shape it like playdough to fit your specific business needs. A great thing is that the technology is still improving which means that the future will be very bright for VoIP.

    Business Broadband - Do You Need It? 07/20/2010 - Ed Bender

    Business broadband plans can range from low $100's per month per site depending on the service you select. Because it is business broadband, there should be a service guarantee, that ensures that the network has a specific uptime target (it should always be as close to 100% as possible, but never less than 99%), and that you will be credited for non-planned downtimes under the terms of the service guarantee. All internal network traffic within your network is FREE since the contract is for outgoing and incoming traffic only. This means you should save money on broadband and data traffic between company sites and your I.T.staff within the company is able to engage in other important activities rather than constantly worry about the status of the network.

    You need to consider the following things when looking for business broadband service:

    1. Cost (Always a major consideration)
    2. What hardware is included with the contract (VERY important!)
    3. Reliability of the service
    4. The type of broadband service you need - Cable, DSL, T1 or higher
    5. Added transmission and setup charges
    6.Terms and conditions of the contract

    Intranets (internal internet) can be designed to compliment your business broadband setup and give great benefits and high efficiency to your business, employees, and clients.

    If you're business is on a tight budget (whose isn't) and cost is the most important factor over reliablity, then Westelt1solutions is a great site to search for a business broadband service carrier. This web site will search quickly through more than 20 national and regional business broadband carriers for a plan and price that will suit you. This site also serves as a broker for information on issues relating to broadband users with it's business broadband forums. Know that not all broadband plans are the same, and in order to maximize profits some providers may overload the network with users. In looking for a provider, it would be prudent to ask if they provide any money back guarantee or some form of trial run.

    It is better to pay for more data traffic that you would expect to use, especially if the excess data charges are substancially more than you would pay on a plan. Some business broadband carriers chose to reduce the speed of connection rather than charge for excess data but others charge an exhorbitant amount for excess data and a bill in the thousands of dollars could await you if you are not careful managing your usage. Security is also an issue when excess data charges apply to your account, and it is wise to exercise caution and protect your computer from potential hackers that might want to use your account to access the internet. Many carriers have begun offering hardware solutions to secure your network. If you have no staff or a small staff, you should seriously consider using this because the carrier will take care of the upgrading and operation of it.

    Be careful in using a dial up internet service, because the hidden costs include the price of an extra phone line, telephone line charges every time you connect to the internet, and excess traffic charges. For a business, the need to have a reliable internet connection is very important, and though dial up may seem cheaper, it is nowhere as fast or as reliable as a broadband connection. You really need to consider the cost of an extra phone line and the cost of phone calls everytime you connect to the internet. Dial up is only useful if you are a very casual home user. Any serious business should definitely invest the time and money into getting business broadband.