By the end of 2019 there were around 4.8 million cloud telephony users in the UK, which represented an 800,000 user increase on the previous year. The majority of that growth came from medium sized business (50~249 employees) but in 2020 the expectation is for the small sized businesses (1~49 employees) to contribute much more to the spiralling increase. Why? Because prior to the COVID 19 pandemic small business did little to provide employees with a remote working opportunity; with only 20pct having any video conference capability. Small business has been forced to change and move rapidly into the “cloud” to survive and ultimately flourish as we start to emerge from the COVID 19 crisis.

What is more important than cost for small and medium sized business when purchasing, deploying and upgrading cloud communications (including VoIP, video conferencing, document sharing, team collaboration, presence, contact integration and instant messaging) ?

The answer is partnering with industry experts who are providing “excellent, trustworthy pre sales advice, provisioning the most appropriate solutions and delivering reliable in-life support”

If you would like more information on how to proceed for your business get in contact for a free initial discussion on how we can help you or download our Transition to VoIP blog https://www.telephoneskent.com/cloud-telephony-and-voip

Transition to business VoIP is something that every business is going to have to accomplish eventually. Many have already achieved this, along with other elements of digital transformation. Business VoIP does not have to be a “like for like” replacement of legacy telephony. In fact, it’s the opportunity to revise and review business practices and ascertain the telecommunication requirements of the business going forward, for example, whether desk telephone handsets are even required anymore? The potential benefits for your business are huge in terms of efficiency, effective client communication and potential cost saving.

So what is VoIP? Voice of Internet Protocol is defined as “ …. a technology or set of standards for delivery of telephone calls and other voice communications over the Internet, involving conversion of analogue voice signals to digital form….”  Put simply it is basically a telephone connection over the Internet. The voice data is sent digitally, using Internet Protocol (IP) instead of using traditional telephone lines.

Why transition your business telephony to VoIP? By 2025 much of the traditional UK PSTN (Public Switch Telephony Network which includes your ISDN telephones lines) operated by Openreach will no longer be available to business and this alone makes transition to VoIP essential for every business. It is however rather more pressing than that: especially in the light of recent events “forcing” many businesses into a remote working scenario, with little notice and in many cases no preparation or preconceived plan. VoIP, configured, enabled and supported correctly, will free your business from any geographic or call routing constraints and make consistent and effective client (and supplier) communication seamless…… oh and probably save your business money.

So what is business VoIP?  Well, rather like other fit for purpose services, it’s the business version of a domestic, residential, social internet based telephony service. Whilst the basic concept is the same, business VoIP differs significantly in several key areas. Focus on “headline” price and ignore the benefits of business VoIP at your peril, you will regret it!

Business VoIP is substantially more effective for business, compared to social, domestic VoIP, in the following key areas: –

  • Quality – both in terms of calls and functionality
  • Reliability – consistent connectivity given like for like internet access
  • Configurability – features and functions vital to business call routing and answering
  • Security – voice data encryption
  • Features – full, enterprise level telephony functionality including Call Recording
  • Hot Desk Capability – effective for variable work patterns
  • Numbers – telephone number portability and availability
  • Interoperability – for example Outlook and MS Team integration
  • Statistics – vital for managing remote colleagues
  • Disaster Contingency – preconceived and automated fail over plans

What are the considerations for transition to VoIP? Transition from traditional telephony, from “social” VoIP, or from “inadequate” business VoIP is a complex process with the choice of vendor and product being of vital importance.

Business should consider the following when tackling the transition process: –

  • Business drivers for transition
  • Stake holders
  • Vendor selection criteria
  • Purchase profile
  • Return on investment
  • Internet Access
  • Network infrastructure
  • Data Security
  • Timescales
  • Risk management
  • Digital transformation integration
  • Legacy implications
  • Unified Communications considerations
  • Project planning and management
  • Implementation and training
  • Support and maintenance

 

In conclusion, transitioning to business VoIP (or upgrading from an inadequate VoIP service) should be considered an opportunity for your business and an integral part of any growth and development plans.

My advice? Engage a knowledgeable consultant or initiate discussions with trusted or recommended resellers/vendors without further delay. There is nothing to lose and much to gain.

 

The current C-19 pandemic will pass and your business needs to be in good shape to move forward as rapidly as possible when it does.

  • You have to be available for and answering your clients calls during the current crisis. You have to answer the client calls quickly and effectively even if your place of business is closed. Why ? So that they know you are still there and will be in a position to provide them with products and services either now or in the future.
  • Check in with your clients to see if there is anything they need that you can help or support them with
  • Plan for a more effective and efficient business post COVID-19

We can help support you by:

  • Configuration of your Phoenix Link supplied VoIP telephony
  • Adding “Virtual VoIP” to your Panasonic ISDN2e telephone system
  • 4G mobile broadband router internet access
  • Quotes without site visit from detailed requirement description or “virtual surveys”
  • Suggestions such as (1) have your tried the answer.co.uk service if you are unable to man your telephone(s) effectively yourself? (2) the zoom.us video conferencing application for keeping in touch with clients, colleagues, friends and family

 

If you need us we are here to try and help. Email ask@telephoneskent.com or call 01227 200625

Openreach have announced new measures in an effort to protect their network, their engineers, the public and help contain the virus. This includes the MBORC (Matter Beyond Our Reasonable Control) notification issued yesterday. With the aim of providing you with as much information as possible and enabling us to work collaboratively to enable the delivery of services where possible (particularly for Critical National Infrastructure) we have put together the below update broken down by the relevant areas.

 

Please note: Openreach services are consumed by several of our key suppliers and therefore the impact that is detailed will be seen for these services.

 

Impact to Provide and Repair for WLR, Broadband (ADSL, FTTC, G.FAST & FTTP),  Ethernet (EoFTTC, EFM and Fibre) and CPN (MPLS)

 

Broadband and WLR Provide – New Installs and Inflight Orders

 

We will continue to accept and deliver WLR and Broadband services where no internal access to the premise is needed.

 

Where Openreach require an onsite visit and the customer is not deemed “at risk” or part of Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) then Openreach will reappoint for after 1st June.

 

Please note the definition of CNI is: NHS, pharmacies, utilities, emergency services, retail and wholesale food distribution outlets, financial services businesses as defined by YouGov.

 

Please note the definition of “at risk” is in line with PHE’s (Public Health England’s) Covid-19 at risk criteria (i.e. pregnant/over 70/under 70 with an underlying medical condition).

 

Ethernet Provide – New Installs and Inflight Orders

 

Openreach are accepting new Ethernet deliveries and will continue with all works outside of the customer premise to curtilage. Openreach will not proceed to onsite install for any non CNI customers for new orders and in-flight deliveries. Openreach will not reappoint cancelled appointments in the first instance. Openreach have not yet confirmed the delay mechanism for in flight orders.

 

Repair (WLR, Broadband and Ethernet) – External Work

Openreach have confirmed that repair work will continue as normal where faults can be resolved remotely or the fault lies outside of the customer premise.

 

Repair (WLR, Broadband and Ethernet) – Customer Access Required (will impact other suppliers)

 

Openreach engineers will no longer be able to enter customer premises, unless the customer meets the “at risk” or CNI criteria. Where services are interrupted please work with us to provide alternative solutions where possible.

 

We appreciate these are challenging and unprecedented times for us all as businesses. At this juncture we need to ensure we maintain social distancing where possible for the safety of each other and the protection of our NHS.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, then please do not hesitate to contact me

 

Are you starting to have staff and colleagues self isolate at home or increase the amount of time they are working remotely ?

If the answer is yes then to ensure that they get work calls and can make work calls displaying the office number then you need to leverage the advantages that having a VoIP hosted cloud telephony system through Phoenix Link provides.

  1. It is possible to use office deskphones at home with the deskphone working as if it is in the office
  2. It is possible to have a softphone on a laptop to receive and send work calls
  3. It is possible to have a softphone on a mobile to receive and send work calls

Contact Phoenix Link at ask@telephoneskent.com or 01227 200625

What is an eSIM?

eSIMs are mobile data SIM cards which work anywhere mobile network coverage exists, irrespective of the network! If a device moves and crosses mobile networks, its profile can be updated quickly and securely to connect to the new or stronger mobile network signal.

If you’ve even heard of eSIMs, you might think it’s a new Apple initiative to fix a SIM to an iPhone circuit board. It is, but that’s just the consumer part of the story, for business the opportunity for geographic mobility, temporary site internet access solutions, broadband (internet access) fail over/ DR (Disaster Recovery) backup and asset tracking is huge.

eSIMs are commonly used in smart watches and other wearable devices, however 2020 is predicted to see greater adoption within IoT (Internet or Things). ABI Research predicts there will be an estimated 420 million eSIM-equipped devices available by 2022.

 

What are the typical uses for business?

Aggregate

Companies with multiple eSims can aggregate the data allowance. So if one eSim uses more data than another but overall the aggregate allowance is not exceeded then no additional charges are incurred.

Signal

Companies want to connect to the network with the strongest signal. Some multinetwork SIMs are steered and so always try to connect to their own network, when competitor networks may be stronger. eSims connect to the strongest signal irrespective of network.

Control

Companies need to have visibility of their data usage on each device to manage data limits. If they go over their monthly data limit, they may be billed high data overage charges or run the risk of being barred.

Solutions

An eSIM solves all these problems with network agnostic, un-steered or steered, plastic triple-cut SIMs. eSIMs roam automatically across hundreds of global networks and additional profiles can easily be added OTA (Over The Air)

As Value Added Resellers (VARs), Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Internet of Things Service Providers (IoTSPs) we are uncovering more and more opportunities for multi-network, roaming eSIMs in vertical markets, such as construction, yachting, motorsports, transport (including taxi companies), logistics and manufacturing.

End-users need 4G data in roaming devices such as mobile broadband routers, monitoring and tracking devices.

Using our Mobile Manager online management we can manage SIM activations, ceases, suspensions, reports, alerts and bolt-ons.

 

Pay Per Zone or fixed monthly price

eSims can be provided on a fixed monthly tariff (aggregated or individual) or on a Pay Per Zone tariff which is based on over 450 global networks, divided in to 5 pricing zones. With Pay Per Zone eSIM tariffs, data is charged at different rates based on the zone in which it is consumed and data is charged per MB consumed.

For more information on eSims and their benefit to your business email ask@telephoneskent.com or call 01227 200625

CallSwitch VoIP telephone system designed, provisioned and built. Boxed and waiting to be loaded into the vans. Then off to install 80+ telephone handsets across two client sites.

Yealink has come out on top for the SIP phones for a second consecutive year with a market share of 27.3% in 2018 and also received the highest customer satisfaction rating for its VoIP phones in the SME sector.

The “Acoustic Shield” technology used in Yealink phones brings HD distraction-free voice clarity which can remove background noise; and for conference units the AI-power feature automatically detects and suppresses non-human voices to optimise conference efficiency.

The recently introduced T5 series business phones comes equipped with adjustable HD displays, supports cordless DECT handsets and provide distraction free communication with “Acoustic Shield” technology.

Yealink has developed an increased product portfolio integrated seamlessly with MS Teams, which will soon be available with the CallSwitch platform.

If its time for a telephony change then CallSwitch and Yealink combine to provide the ideal solution

#phoenixlink # cloudtelephony # unifiedcommunications # newtworkTBN #VOIP

 

Do you ever hear people complaining that “this Wi-Fi” is better than “that Wi-Fi”? that’s because not all Wi-Fi is the same! Clearly hardware makes a significant difference to the “perceived quality” of Wi-Fi but the differences are actually much more fundamental than that; relating to the design and capability of the Wi-Fi version being employed.

Wi-Fi ( a common misconception is that the term WiFi is short for “wireless fidelity,” however this is not the case. WiFi is simply a trademarked phrase that means IEEE 802.11) was first released for consumers in 1997 as the original 802.11 standard; and has kept evolving (improving?) with the latest “version” released this year. The issue with variation in the “perceived quality” of Wi-Fi is down to the fact that most users are not experiencing the latest version of Wi-Fi.

1999 – 802.11b – 2.4 GHz radio frequency and data transfer rates of up to 11 Mbps and a range of up to 50 meters. At the same time 802.11a was introduced (because the 2.4 GHz frequency was somewhat “crowded”) using the 5 GHz frequency with data transfer rates of up to 54 Mbps, but hardware to support 802.11a was much more expensive than 802.11b.

2003 – 802.11g – 2.4 GHz radio frequency and data transfer rates of up to 54 Mbps

2009 – 802.11n (later renamed Wi-Fi 4) 2.4 & 5 GHz radio frequency and data transfer rates of up to 300~450 Mbps. Using MiMo (multiple input multiple output) technology that uses multiple transmitters and receivers to transfer more data at the same time.

2014 – 802.11ac (later renamed Wi-Fi 5) 5 GHz radio frequency and data transfer rates of up to 433 Mbps (in fact in theory the data transfer could go into multi Gb speed ranges) using beamforming (an adaptive antenna technology by which a wireless access point (WAP) selects an optimal transmit path out of many possible options. It is fundamentally an antenna technology, combining special hardware and sophisticated software) and Mu-MiMo downstream (meaning multi user multiple input multiple output; an enhanced form of the MiMo technology that enables multiple independent radio terminals to access a system) allowing hardware to efficiently connect to multiple devices simultaneously.

2019 – 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) designed for high user density environments and has a data transfer rate some four times faster than Wi-WI 5; potentially in excess of 5Gb/s. Utilises 2.4 & 5 GHz radio frequency simultaneously combined with Mu-MiMo both downstream and upstream; resulting in the ability to support large volumes of mobile devices simultaneously. It is worth noting that before you rush out and buy new Wi-Fi 6 hardware that WAPs need to be connected by Cat6a or Cat7a shielded structured cabling and because Wi-Fi 6 WAPs perform highly complex signal processing they are unable to operate within the 13-watt Power over Ethernet (PoE) budget that supported earlier generation Wi-Fi implementations. New Wi-Fi 6 WAPs must be supported by either a direct DC power connection or cables and connectors compatible with 30-watt Type 2 PoE. Its also worth noting that much of the older technology relating to  Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5 still exists in Wi-Fi 6 hardware, which means older connection devices that aren’t Wi-Fi 6 compatible will still be able to use Wi-Fi 6 WAPs, albeit at the  lower data transfer rates that relate to Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 4.

 

 

 

 

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So what is the difference between Wi-Fi 6 and 5G mobile wireless?

5G and Wi-Fi 6 both provide faster speeds, less latency, and more capacity than (for example) 4G and Wi-Fi 5, and both use advanced technologies like MU-MIMO and beamforming.

Where the two “ wireless” technologies differ is in the envisaged use and scope of deployment

Wi-Fi 6 is essentially a wireless local area network (WLAN) technology that is meant to operate “inside” in an office, hotel, or other” crowded” multi user spaces. 5G is a wide area network (WAN) technology that is designed for “outside” use in high density mobile data, IoT applications, and other “exterior” connections.

 

Wi-Fi 6 is somewhat backwards compatible (as are most of the previous version) but 5G is a completely new technology that isn’t backwards compatible, which means that new hardware is needed to broadcast and receive 5G signals. Existing non-5G devices won’t be able to connect to 5G networks, even at lower speeds. That’s why even the latest iPhone 11 isn’t 5G compatible even though it gets more out of 4G than previous iPhone models.

In short; if static use Wi-Fi6 and if moving use 5G