We are still stuck in "startup mode" with respect to our phone systems. We have 2x BT lines (linked at the exchange by Featureline), and 4-6 PCs running Xlite freeware softphone, each with a standalone VoIP account via Telappliant/Voiptalk.org, connected to internet over Eclipse broadband (8M down, 1M? up ?).
1) No integration between analogue (BT) and VoIP lines - can't transfer calls between the two worlds or even between VoIP softphones
2) Reliability / Quality of VoIP service
moviing to a hybrid IP / orthodox PBX should solve problem 1)
Our business model allows us to define 2x levels of call quality -
top level i.e. to level one customers - all calls go out over ISDN voice lines
second level, i.e to level two customers - can afford to go over VoIP (but still would prefer better quality than currently available)
what about problem 2) ?
I guess its a function of a) using broadband with no QoS b) could be that the Telappliant is poor too (but can't tell as broadband is probably causing the most of the unreliability)
I know the ideal would be to get a fixed data line in (e.g. Clear IP from BT) which would suit the realtime nature of VoIP traffic, but this will cost too much ? (any ideas anyone how much?)
So I'm looking for something cheaper - I've heard of good resilient broadband providers out there with good contention ratios etc. that while can't guarantee QoS, will at least be better than what we have. Tiscali has been mentioned, but I saw no sign of such "business quality" broadband package on their site. Also, for whatever product, will upload speed be an issue - after all no good if we can hear our customers perfectly (8M line) but all they get is a robotic jittery mess (1M line).
Also someone said if we pick a VoIP trunking provider who are also an ISP, best to use their service, as their is a synergy here, as if we use one provider for both, it cuts down the number of hops our VoIP packets need to travel between leaving our router and hitting the PSTN / POTS network. Others have said this is a red herring - any opinions ?