Which Hosted VOIP system

Posted on 2007-10-20
Last Modified: 2010-04-12
I am looking for a hosted VOIP solution for a serviced business centre. I have never considered voip yet because previously people were advising me it was not ready yet for business use. I spoke to someone the other day who advised a hosted solution with a leased line to the provider would probably do the job I was looking for.

My objectives are the following:
Quality Calls
Central Management Software, to be able to allocate numbers to my tenants.
Ability to report on extensions for billing purposes
Reasonale Rates
Reception Capabilities
System that will allow me allocate fax numbers.
Affordable Solution
Decent Hardware for things like phones

Would anyone be able to suggest a solution for my needs and even a company to provide it.  I am not a telecomms person but people are suggesting SDSL, Bonded ADSL or a Leased line and I am now starting to get confused.

Many thanks in advance

Question by:3can
    LVL 19

    Expert Comment

    It depends partly on what advantage you are expecting to gain from VoIP. Is it mainly to save money on call charges or is it to give you greater flexibility in location and configuration of phones and PBX services? Are you intending to provide a hosted solution yourself for clients in the business centre or are you looking for an existing hosting company that already has all the hardware and software in place - you just pay to use there facilities. If the latter, take a look at this link - they do virtual switchboard and can support VoIP clients as well as landlines/mobiles (I'm not sure about fax, but you could enquire):
    LVL 22

    Accepted Solution

    couple of things to consider.
    1. WAN connection. Here's your xDSL vs. leased line. If it's a hosted solution, generally you'll want the same provider to give you your access links and your VoIP server. This is so that the provider can support end to end QoS. Internet based Hosted VoIP can work but you often run into issues with QoS and both the access provider and voice provider will point fingers at each other with neither side fixing the problem. Depending on side, think about how many concurrent calls you have going. For a G.711 call, figure (high) 80Kbps of gauranteed QoS bandwidth per call. Compression can lower this significantly but estimate high in case your usage increases or you see spikes in call volume. Also keep in mind that some hosted providers will NOT prioritize the full pipe, so if you get a single T1, the provider may only gaurantee 40% of that pipe for voice QoS.
    2. Services. You seem to have a pretty good idea of what you want service wise. One other importnat piece that is easy to overlook is 911/E911. Say you get a hosted solution and you have phones in Dallas that you want to move to LA. Easy enough to just unplug the phone in one place and plug it in at another. or re-program the phone at LA for the Dallas number, but you may not be updating the E911 databases properly so 911 calls will activate a PSAP in Dallas. Check with the service provider on that one.
    3. Location. Ideally you want a single service provider for all locations. That said, what locations are you looking at a hosted service for? Some service providers are geographically limited as far as areas they will support. Check with your provider short list to see if they can handle all your sites.
    4. Alternatives. Rather than a hosted solution you may want to consider a VoIP solution that you manage internally. This removes any geopgraphical boundaries for example. Doing this will complicate things on your end. Things like Cisco Call Manager are great but have a steep learning curve for configuration and maintenance.
    5. you also mention business centres. If you mean you want to use this for call center applications also check to make sure your provider can offer services like an ACD or Auto-Attendant (IVR) system, some providers cannot do call center type applications, so if those are your needs, make sure you explain that up front in your discussions with different providers.

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