The Added Value of VoIP

The VoIP industry is probably at its peak. Businesses are realizing its role in facilitating better communication and cooperation. It is making funds available through corporate savings. And, it is making people – experts, partners and clients – more available regardless of location.

So what is it exactly about VoIP that makes all this possible? Is it just saved money and time? Or, do businesses get a lot more from making the switch?

Features Upgrade
For start-ups and small businesses, one of the best reasons to switch to VoIP is the upgrade that you get when it comes to unified communications. VoIP enables the integration of different technologies and platforms, which then enables businesses to function more effectively at lesser cost.

Communications and collaboration possibilities through VoIP are endless. You just have to implement safeguards to ensure the integrity of your data, and systems and processes.

Almost Zero Maintenance Costs
A good option for businesses with a limited budget is hosted services, which also include VoIP. Through hosted services, you can take advantage of the latest technologies without investing in their requisite hardware, software and professional services.

Cut your telecommunications spending; better organize your offices and branches; and facilitate better communications without a huge upfront and sans the usual recurring maintenance cost. The fees are less and more manageable.

Better and More Efficient Organization
Since VoIP is digital communications, your voice data is easy to integrate with different communications platform, such as email. Integration can facilitate the faster and more efficient exchange of data. This is crucial in organizations with several mobile agencies or branches. Small business can also harness this and spur faster growth.

Better Mobility and Presence
An important advantage that comes with VoIP is “unbridled” mobility. You can work practically anywhere and it won’t affect your effectiveness. In fact, you become more available to your partners and clients through the use of different devices. For instance, you can set up your home computer, SIP phone or mobile phone to accept calls made to your office extension. Remote offices or staff can function, communicate and access data as if they’re at the central office.

Plan For VoIP
The key to making VoIP work for you is to plan for it. It is a powerful technology. But, in order to make the most of it, you have to know how to optimally integrate the technology into your work force’s day-to-day. It’s the same for any other technology – it’s wasted if you don’t know how to use it fully.

Consult your VoIP service provider about your integration opportunities. It is likely that you’ll hire a consultant temporarily before you launch your business VoIP to guarantee that everything’s in place.

Secure Your VoIP
VoIP security is crucial for any business that relies on digital communications. Voice data should be treated like any other corporate data – because it is. It can be acquired maliciously and used against the company. Attacks can take the form of Denial of Service (DoS), hacked accounts, compromised databases and systems, among others.

The first step in securing your VoIP is through VoIP monitoring. Services like VoIP Spear offer 24/7/365 persistent testing that maps the different variables of your call service’s performance. This includes MOS (mean opinion score), packet loss, jitter and latency.

Through VoIP monitoring, you can trace dips in your service’s performance, which may be indicative of service issues or, worse, security attacks. This way, you can address issues swiftly, without affecting your business operations.

Know more about VoIP monitoring here:


Connection for Your VoIP: Is it Fiber, Cable or DSL?

A business VoIP that works reliably 24/7/365 does not rely only on your VoIP service provider. The capacity of your business location to enable these calls also matter. One of the considerations is your network service provider. What kind of internet service should you get now that data traffic is sure to increase? What’s enough? What will limit how you make the most of VoIP?

Know Your Network Options
For residences and small- to medium-scale businesses, the three feasible options are: fiber, cable and DSL

Of these, the most basic is DSL. DSL runs on top of your traditional phone line. Through a modem, you can talk on the phone and get online at the same time. Cable is similar but, instead of connecting to the net through your phone, your network connections run on top of your cable television. For many, this can mean faster and more reliable connections.

The most expensive option is fiber. The cables used in fiber connections is made of thin glass fibers. This allows data to travel fast. Speed is not compromised even over great distances.

Arguably, all these can facilitate good quality digital communications. You need to choose based on your needs, your projected business growth, and budget.

Some of the aspects to consider is your expected call traffic, speed requirements, and feature requirements. These determine how much network bandwidth allotment, service dedication and reliability.

Network Connection Speed
One of the key qualities of network connections that work best with VoIP is speed. This is also probably what you’d look for first in choosing a service provider – that’s a good idea. However, also consider your needs, both current and projected.

Fiber is, of course, the fastest. It is also the most expensive. So, think about it. Do you actually need to get fiber cable connections when you only have, say, less than 20 people working for you now and don’t see this changing dramatically in five years? Fiber optic service provides connection speed of at least 10 Mbit/s. This can reach up to 10 Gbit/s. This speed you can rely on consistently as fiber internet is dedicated service that you don’t share with other users.

At the other end of the spectrum is DSL. It is the slowest of your business connectivity options at only 256 Kbit/s to 100 Mbit/s.

Cable is the middle-of-the-road business network connection option. Its speed averages at 20 Mbit/s to 100 Mbit/s, which may do for small businesses. The downside is that cable access is shared. Heavy usage within your location can compromise your net and VoIP connection speed.

Remember that your choice of service, based on speed, is crucial. VoIP eats up a lot of bandwidth. It is important to have a clear idea about your bandwidth requirements when it comes your internet and digital communications.

Service Reliability
Apart from speed, service reliability is also a major factor in making VoIP work for you. Your internet service has to be up and running 99% of the time. And, merely “running” shouldn’t be the status quo. Your network connections should be above average, if not the best, when it comes to providing you with consistently powerful connections. How else can you be available through your VoIP phone 24/7 if your internet falters?

Of course, of all possibilities, fiber optics is your most reliable option. The infrastructure behind the technology is robust and powerful. It is also dedicated so, no matter the situation in the next office, you will be able experience fast internet and VoIP.

DSL is also dedicated service. So, you shouldn’t worry about lagging connections if there are a lot more online users within your area. Cable is faster than DSL but it can experience latency in the midst of heavy user traffic.

Lastly, cost should factor into your decision-making. Your fees aren’t one-time. These are monthly, quarterly or yearly obligations that rise and faal, depending on the terms of your service.

DSL is the cheapest, expectedly. Fee is around $20 a month. Cable is slightly higher and can reach up to $100 per month. The highest is fiber, with monthly fees that start at $350.

Again, cost shouldn’t be the be-all in your decision. In the case of may medium-scale businesses, investing in fiber optics connection becomes worth it in the long run.

The only requirement is that you look at your numbers before signing anything. Add up your initial expenditures as well as your projected monthly spending. Take into consideration that your needs will increase as your number of users. If you opt for cloud VoIP, you only have your monthly service agreement to think about. You can easily add or deduct users and features. It’s a different deal for businesses that opt for on-premise VoIP. Their initial expenditure is expectedly much higher. And, it becomes very important to plan ahead into the next three to five years.

VoIP Monitoring
Another important part of your business VoIP set-up is your VoIP monitoring. This is something that should be in place from the get-go. Even for start-ups, it is important to secure the performance of you digital phone systems.

The first step here is to monitor your phone service. Any dip in performance and voice quality not only disrupts your day-to-day operations. Uneven service performance may tell of bigger issues with your network and VoIP service. It’s not just finding cases of latency and such. It is also staying on top of your network and VoIP, and making sure that there are no malicious entities hacking into your system.

VoIP Spear is one of the best global VoIP monitoring and call testing companies. They provide third-party VoIP performance monitoring service, guaranteeing hassle-free implementation of their powerful and reliable monitoring services.

Through persistent and consistent testing, you get a clear picture on your VoIP and network, 24/7/365. This way, you can pinpoint problem areas, as well as times when there are persistent issues with your service.

Through monitoring, you can ensure consistently reliable network and phone service – one that works as hard as you do.

Got Business VoIP? Here’s How to Fix Common Problems

Business VoIP has come very far. From being a support technology, it has been adopted as businesses’ main means of communication. It is a robust and reliable telecommunications system that is still on the rise. Already at par (and even better sometimes) to wireline and mobile communications, it continues to improve. It tags along unified communications in taking business telecommunications by storm.

Now, is it perfect? Of course not. The technology still experiences some technical glitches. Most of these minor issues can be fixed by your IT guy.

No Dial Tone
This mostly occurs at the beginning of your setup. You may have gotten your VoIP service provider to also fix your system. One of the things they need to do is to provision your phones. They should also set up your router port forwarding correctly.

So, if you experience zero dial tone, check out how your phones are provisioned and how forwarding is set up. It should have been set to auto-provision. If not, you may need to do it manually. This is also true for the additional phones that you might need to add later on.

Regarding forwarding, make sure that your setup forwards to ports 5060-5090 and 16384-16482.This is also what you need to do if you have a dial tone but no audio. The forwarding of voice packets is not correct. It should forward to ports 16384-16482.

Problem with echo date back to when the phone was invented. It does not solely happen with phones set up for VoIP.

With echo, the common cause is your speakers being too close to the microphone. The microphone picks up the sound and echoes it. A simple solution is to lower the volume of your speakers. If there is still an echo problem, there might be something wrong with your phone unit. You then need to have it serviced or replaced.

Choppy Audio
This is one technical issue that might have deeper roots… deep, as in it could be your broadband service. VoIP requires good internet connection, at the very least. You should have ample bandwidth allotment to support the requirements of digital telecommunications. To help you monitor your service’s performance, sign up for VoIP Spear. Through persistent testing, you can monitor for packet loss, internet speed, jitter and MOS score 24/7/365.

Choppy audio may be the result of problematic internet connections or bandwidth allotment. The best solution then is to upgrade your service.

But, as a temporary solution, you can tweak your QoS, codecs and jitter buffer settings. Your QoS should prioritize video and voice applications. Applications that eat up a lot of bandwidth should be put at the back of the line. For your codecs, G.729 is best when you don’t have that much bandwidth allotment to work with. Likewise, you should increase the depth of your jitter buffer.

Other Technical Problems
The problems listed above are basic frustrations that may be felt once in a blue moon.

However, if you get one or more of these intermittently, you need to look at your VoIP and internet service providers. You might need to reassess the service that you’ve bought, and switch providers.

call monitoring

Why Use Third-Party VoIP Monitoring

call monitoringRegardless of where your business is in terms of size, status and success, or what industry you belong to, if you use VoIP, you should also use VoIP monitoring services.

By monitoring service, we don’t mean the one-off tests that you can do with one of those online applet testing free services. Monitoring means persistent call and network testing 24/7/365 that provides you with an accurate profile of how your network and VoIP service perform.

This performance profile is a good basis of assessment. You can pinpoint problem areas and service periods that experience dips in performance quality. Issues can then be addressed promptly without disruption to business operations.

So, because of how crucial business communications is to your success, you need to stay on top of your VoIP through call monitoring. The question now is how you do it. Are you going to set up something internally through downloadable software or those “heavy duty” ones that are designed for big businesses with multiple offices and locations? Or, are you looking for something hosted and managed by a third party that’s online, easy to manage and set up?

One of the best options for business VoIP users is VoIP Spear, a global VoIP monitoring company with testing services in key cities in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. If you are looking for a third-party service provider with a reputation in the VoIP industry that’s hard to beat, they are the company to work with!

No Experts and Hardware Needed
The primary reason to use the services of a third-party VoIP testing company is the ease of starting your service monitoring. This makes a huge difference and not just in terms of convenience.

Regardless of your industry, you would want to be fully operational and available as soon as possible. In-house monitoring is always the more complicated set-up. Even when you have a ready team of IT managers, implementation will take at least a week. Are you ready to go unmonitored within that period?

You really can’t be too careful these days. VoIP – while it is probably the most effective and affordable business communications options – opens up your network and systems to a few security issues. As in all things digital, VoIP is voice data, which travels through network and can be compromised. It is information that may be retrieved by malicious parties. It is also a way to infiltrate a larger pool of data, including access information.

The performance profile that comes with your VoIP monitoring will let you know if there are suspicious segments, which may be indicative of security attacks. It is best to have it in place before full-on business operation.

Focused Operations

But, once you do get started with business VoIP, you’ll find that there are extra funds to go around. Savings from VoIP are top motivations for making the digital switch. After your initial investment in the required technology or an account with a cloud hosted provider, you can enjoy decreased communications spending. Savings can be funneled to other crucial components of the business.

For VoIP Service Providers
Businesses that use VoIP as their main communications channel are not the only ones that can greatly benefit from third-party call testing. Service providers are some of the most avid users of third-party monitoring services.

While many of these operators are already running a form of call monitoring or two, an external service adds a layer of quality control, where endpoints are tested from different servers, instead of just a few internally managed ones.

The best third-party VoIP monitoring option is one that has strategically located testing servers, such as VoIP Spear. This way, regardless of where your customers are call from or to, the provider can accurately assess the service that they provide.

Monitor Without Hassle
Arguably, it is an option to set up monitoring on your own. You can choose from several software out there and install this in your testing server. The problem with this approach is that, in order to come up with accurate performance profiles, you need more than one testing server. Plus, if you have remote offices outside the region, you need to install a system for each one. The costs add up – regardless of how big you are.

The best solution really is a VoIP monitoring service provider, such as VoIP Spear. Regardless of the size of your organization, where you are in the globe, and how detailed your VoIP reporting requirements are, VoIP Spear can see to your needs. Its regular plans are perfect for residential and small- to medium-scale businesses. Big businesses, VoIP service providers and carriers have more fitting options within the carrier plans.

Start monitoring your VoIP at a click of a button. With VoIP Spear, you don’t need to install, maintain and upgrade your call monitoring. Get regular reports and to-the-minute alerts; and stay on top of your communications system. Sign up for an account today: