A guide to selecting the right Communication Solution for your Business

By Darren Kent | January 10, 2018

 

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Choosing the right voice communication solution for your business may not be as straight forward as you think?

  • Hosted or Local on-premise server?
  • What is VoIP, what options are available, how many lines do I need?
  • Is my business ready for VoIP or SIP technology?
  • What features do I need, what options are available?

There are many things to consider when choosing the communication solution that is best for your business. Diamond IT has wealth of knowledge to help guide you through the many choices and ensure that your voice communication solution will be tailored to exceed your expectations and support your business growth.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)

The concept of VoIP is sometimes misunderstood, many believing that VoIP simply means cheaper phone bills. While this is sometimes the case there are many other considerations that need to be made before jumping in the deep end and finding yourself with an ineffective, costly and disappointing option.

VoIP uses protocols such as SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) to transmit data packets between IP devices. This data transfer is the conversations between users. VoIP means that now both data and voice services can be supported and maintained by the one local network and one provider. No longer is dedicated voice cabling required and there is no need to ring the phone company for support. A single provider is now able to support both your voice and data networks, resulting in greater efficiencies and reduced costs.

VoIP can be implemented in 3 ways...

  1. Carrier Only - You may choose to convert your existing ISDN or PSTN service to VoIP. This could be delivered over the NBN or as a business grade solution. The cease sale of ISDN and the decommissioning of the PSTN network means that soon all services will be VoIP. While the NBN uses VoIP technology, those plans without any service level agreement are generally not currently suitable for business who wish to maintain the previously experienced reliability of ISDN and PSTN services. There are many carrier services outside of the NBN product that provide a suitable business level services.
  2. IP phones - Converting digital and analogue handsets to IP handsets is also a form of VoIP deployment. There are many network considerations that need to be made here to ensure your sites infrastructure is ready for IP handsets. This is discussed later in further detail. IP handsets allow simplified changes to handset configurations and plug and play type moves around the office. No need for a service tech visit to move handsets to new locations.
  3. Complete VoIP - Changing both carrier and handset types is a complete VoIP solution. This could involve updating existing PBX (Private Branch Exchange) for VoIP compatibility, a fully hosted solution or purchasing an on-premise VoIP server. Existing Infrastructure, Carrier options available and budget considerations need to be examined to choose which option is best.

SCM Call FeaturesHosting or On-premise?

Once you have decided what type of VoIP you want then the question of hosted or an on-premise server needs to be addressed. The outcome is different for everyone and it’s important to know how your existing setup and future requirements determine what is best. Things to consider include.....

Existing Infrastructure

  • PBX type – Is your current phone system upgradable and are there options for it to use VoIP carrier services and IP handsets. Is it supported by the manufacturer and are parts and licencing readily available?
  • Cabling – A minimum cabling standard of cat 5e is required for IP handsets to function correctly. The cabling should be labelled at both field and patch panel. Cabling certification is also recommended if there are any questionable looking terminations or cable runs. A dedicated phone outlet is not required for IP handsets, most IP voice solutions use passthrough where the handsets acts as a switch extending Gigabit bandwidth to the PC.
  • Communications Environment. – The Communications room should house a tidy communications cabinet free of redundant equipment with adequate power, cooling and security options.
  • Data Network – The hardware on the existing data network can also be a big factor in determining which way to go. Some basic observations would include: Does the existing network switches support PoE, are they VLAN and QoS managed? Is there adequate documentation to qualify the network as voice ready?

Carrier Options

  • Serviceability – The reach of VoIP carrier services is continually changing across providers. It is highly recommended to investigate all options available from different providers.
  • Budget – Despite common perception, VoIP does not always equal cost reduction. In fact, the opposite can be true if a site is not VoIP ready. The existing infrastructure may require upgrading and/or the cost of bringing on new fibre outweighs the benefits of call costs.
  • Existing services/contracts – Diligence is required to explore existing contractual agreements, what services are in place and can be cancelled in the future. The only way to find a true financial prediction of carrier service costs is to do a full bill analysis of existing and proposed services.

Budget

  • Operational expenditure (OPEX) v Capital expenditure (CAPEX) – if your preference is to have a fixed monthly cost that can easily be adjusted depending on what you need then hosting is best suited. Pay for what you need when you need it.
  • Scalability – VoIP systems are far more scalable than traditional PBX’s. As the systems are reliant on licences as opposed to hardware. Expansion can be as simple as enabling an existing service licence for new extensions or lines. For hosted solutions it’s also possible to downsize when needed, you only need to have what you need month to month. Modern SIP (VoIP) servers are also able to hook into Outlook, CRM and other third-party systems to enable a fully unified communications user experience.

What solution type is best for your business?

  1. Determine what is important – Talk to us at Diamond about the many options available. We are happy to come to you and look over your current systems and discuss the best available options. We also offer inhouse demonstrations including call reporting, self-administration, soft phone and mobility.
  2. Avoid Hype – NBN does not mean that you need to upgrade your current PBX but it does mean that you need to look at options. Avoid rushed pushy sales requests that have not conducted due diligence of your existing service.

How can Diamond help?

We hope that now you can better understand the options available to your business, please feel free to call us at Diamond to discuss any existing or future Voice system requirement you may have. To contact us simply complete our online form below or call us today on 1300 307 907.

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TAGS: Managed IT Services, Business Value, Infrastructure Solutions

About the Author
Darren Kent

Presales Consultant @ Diamond IT - Darren has been a member of the Diamond IT team since 2014 and is a valued member of the Presales Team. More recently Darren has become more involved in project management here at Diamond, where his knowledge of the business and the industry has been invaluable.