When businesses understand that VoIP should be embraced and not rejected then the benefits just start rolling in . To embrace VoIP the business should really understand how it works and what they need to do to give it the best chance of working . Talking to a VoIP/cloud/hosted telephony specialist such as Phoenix Link ( www.phoenixlink.co.uk ) is a good place to start.

Voice signals , frequencies are  analogue….. not digital. Voice communication can only go onto a data network if it is converted into a digital equivalent that can be converted back into “voice” when it reaches its destination.

The conversion of audible sound into data is called quantization. The process of quantizing voice is typically done by sampling the sound at eight thousand times per second, assigning one of eight bits to each sample. This yields a 64-thousand bit-per-second data stream that can be reproduced at the other end.

The additional added packet information (overhead ) required to get the voice data stream across the data network when there are several simultaneous conversations can cause issues on the network , and therefore voice is generally compressed unless there is lots of available bandwidth or the voice data network is a separate network to the general data network.

Compression as a technology in not something that is new – it has been used for many years with fax machines. Voice communication can be compressed into a much smaller data stream ( than the original ) with almost undetectable loss of quality. Compression standards are expressed as CODEC ( Coder / Decoder ) , of which a common one is called G.729 which cuts the actual voice data stream down to 1/8 of the original size (the overhead remains the same). The highest quality voice has the CODEC G722 although the most common CODEC for voice is G711 which uses 64 kbps over bandwidth ( plus overhead)

A basic element of a data network is the ability to recover from lost packets by tracking and retransmitting any portions of the data that do not arrive intact and on time. The packets that handle this are a variety called Transmission Control Protocol, or TCP. These TCP packets cannot be used for voice communication. It would result in poor quality when missing packets were re-sent and inserted into the sound at the other end in the wrong place. It’s much better to just drop any defective or missing packets and listen to the part that does arrive as expected. Remember, you have 8,000 samples per second. You can lose some and still understand what is said. To accomplish this, voice uses exclusively packets designated User Datagram Protocol, or UDP. These packets are “best effort” delivery.

A subset of UDP packets is used to further enhance the delivery of voice packets in a timely manner: Real-time Transport Protocol, or RTP. This streaming-specific protocol improves the quality of sound by giving special attention to packets that may arrive late or out of sequence (called jitter).

In summary ; as long as the data network is configured correctly , with sufficient bandwidth and the right CODECs are used there is no reason why a user would even realise that their conversations are taking place over VoIP rather than the PSTN

 

4G business connectivity for rural locations

Demand

Demand for faster, more reliable internet connectivity has never been higher for business users but the reality for many rural businesses is that fibre broadband is not yet available and Ethernet leased circuits are too expensive and with long lead times. Companies are turning to 4G for both interim and longer term solutions, and here at Phoenix Link we provide 4G solutions on a rolling month contract basis

SIMs are monitored and cost-effective data bolt-ons added as required.

Fixed IPs

For some applications, such as an SMTP, IP CCTV, ATM, M2M and PoS, that require fixed IPs, fixed IP SIM cards with public IP address assignments are available.

Mobile is changing

Small to medium sized companies are buying air-time and handsets separately and the SIM-only market has rocketed. The price of mobile data has dropped more than 70% in the last year. Some sim only resellers like Phoenix Link have access to sophisticated online tools that allow us to activate stock SIMs, track usage, set usage thresholds, SIM-swap and add bolt-ons without having to go to the mobile network to set up the order . So if you want the personalised customer service experience that you get with fixed line and cloud communications for your mobile needs ; then come to Phoenix Link for your Vodafone and O2 requirements. Email ask@telephoneskent.com or call 01227 200625

The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, commonly known as MiFID II, is a set of sweeping reforms for the financial services industry which mandates the ability to record conversations relating to financial selling.  As a result, network based call recording and storage will be central to the new MiFID II provisions ; timetabled for introduction on January 3rd 2018.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) currently mandates that only the telephone conversations of individuals directly involved in trading need to be recorded, but the new legislation, MiFID II, will broaden the scope considerably.

The SIP and cloud telephone services provided by Phoenix Link will be compliant. For more information EMAIL  ask@telephoneskent.com

It is rather obvious that combining voice and data on an existing  data connection ( already connected to every desk )  is a no-brainer that saves money as long as the connection is sufficient. Having the voice traffic simply added to your existing data stream on your existing structured cabling completely eliminates an entire wiring infrastructure and eliminates IT involvement in moving a phone….. just make sure the internal switch the phone is suitable.

How can this be achieved ?

Every tiny piece of data that travels across your network in a “container” called a packet. Packets are tiny amounts of information that take many forms and carry all kinds of information. For example :

Your email arrives in packets.

When you click on a link, packets are sent.

Every picture that appears in your browser arrives in packets.

These packets can travel a long way from various sources around the world to reach your computer. As a matter of fact, two packets that are parts of the same sentence from the same origin can take utterly different routes, through different countries to reach you. When the second one gets there before the first one, it has to sit and wait for the first one to arrive. That delay of the first packet is called latency. Latency is delay in the network. When you have multiple people on the network moving large files at the same time, delays can be considerable; they can even take a whole second to arrive.

When latency occurs, a part of your network may have to increase a buffer that effectively establishes on purpose a delay in presenting subsequent packets. That purposeful delay to give more time for packets to arrive is called jitter. Whilst this works well and invisibly for such communication as email ,when jitter exceeds 150 milliseconds for voice traffic, people notice the delay and are frustrated with an unworkable disruption of the normal rhythm of a voice conversation.

Sometimes packets do not arrive at all. That is called packet loss. Some programs / protocols will request a replacement, creating further delay.

To compare these terms to everyday business life, think of department meetings. The meeting can’t start until everyone arrives. Delay is when one or more of the members is late. Over time, the 10:00 meeting seems to start at 10:15 because someone is always late. That’s jitter. If some people don’t arrive at all, or if you have to send someone for them, that’s packet loss.

Such delays are devastating to voice traffic on your network, just as they are to your meeting.

Your network may have locations with a lower bandwidth, such as a separate building or remote location. A connection that was designed for carrying email and other business traffic is likely to be completely inadequate once voice traffic is added to it. As a result, voice conversation is impossible. Hence our emphasis here at Phoenix Link as the  suitability and sufficiency of the data connection.

Further, maybe that remote location has a “shared” service where your traffic is mixed with other companies’ data, or even worse, over the “public” internet. There may be no guarantee that packets will arrive at all, much less arrive on time and intact. Here at Phoenix Link we only provide business grade data connections

So moving to a VoIP based voice solution can be a major step forward or a significant pain depending on who undertakes the implementation ; so choose Phoenix Link for a smooth , painless transition

A recent research study revealed that 86% of organizations cite employee efficiency and productivity as the leading internal use of telecom technology with improving communications between employees and customers coming in second at 64%.  Both use cases are indicative of alignment between technology and business objectives.  Employee efficiency and productivity affect corporate expense, and communication between employees and customers influences customer satisfaction and customer retention leading to positive revenue returns.

The writing is on the wall for ISDN… how will the ISDN “switch off” by BT/Openreach in 2025 impact your business ?

ISDN as a technology ,and therefore as a telephone line for your business telephone system, is dying ( due to be switched off in the UK in 2025 ) and companies are turning to SIP trunk telephone lines as their preferred solution going forward . A SIP trunk is in essence a form of VoIP ( Voice over IP ) telephone line that connects your on premise telephone system ; via the internet (using a form of secure VPN ) rather than via a BT telephone ISDN or analogue line .

Perhaps you think that SIP trunking is too expensive and too much hassle to implement. Fortunately these concerns are unfounded in most cases and the reduction in line rental charges and call charges and the increase in usable features far outweighs any short term change management issues.

If your telephone system is five or more years old then bypass SIP and go straight to Cloud Telephony as this has the potential of reducing your costs even further , future proofing your business telephony and adding a raft of productivity enhancing functionality.

2020: Five years before ISDN lines will be switched off; businesses will no longer be able to buy any telephone systems that use these networks. Although 2025 may seem a long way off, 2020 is less than five years away…

If your business is ready for a well managed telephony change then contact Phoenix Link at ask@telephoneskent.com or 01227 200625 for advice on how to proceed.

Introducing a Point to Point internet access service , available as either a managed (we supply the customer premise hardware) or wires only option (the client supplies the hardware). This service can be ordered as a standalone service or as part of a Converged Private Network. Point to Point provides increased resiliency and business continuity as part of a disaster recovery plan or for high speed data replication between two key customer sites. For details email ask@telephoneskent.com or call 01227 200625

Why is it Company owners want to take a perfectly good telephone system and completely change the way it works? Voice telephone systems as a whole are extremely reliable. What good can come of replacing or changing it to move the “working bits” of the service out into the “cloud” ??

So – traditional telephony. A big attraction is that it was always there. Even when no one was on the phone, the phone service was there. Any time you wanted you could pick up the handset and hear dial tone. Possibly its biggest advantage was that it was always standing by, waiting for someone to make a call. The wires connected directly to a port on a local telephone system and were dedicated to your business and no one else. You could use it or not, but your phone bill paid for that consistent availability just as much as for the calls you made.

This  was true for your place of business up through the 1970s and into the 1980s when it became common for businesses to get their own phone systems rather than multiple analogue lines with handsets . In a way, the Company became the “phone company”  for themselves, providing a desk phone. The phone sat there at your desk with a hardware port and wires that sat unused until you made a call.

Along came Company LAN networks and the internet and  companies committed to using networks as an integral part of business communication, they also committed to new, expensive wiring for their buildings. It took several years for that wiring to standardize to such as CAT5e , but it became common to see network and voice wiring to every desk and along the walls where anything might need to plug in.

By 1990’smany Companys had converted from analogue to a digital phone system with (mostly 1308 ) 2-wire digital phones at each desk. Most of the time there’s a DC voltage across those two wires, but nothing else. When the phone rings or when you make a call, there is some data exchange across the wires, but if you analyse the voice data then you can ascertain long spaces in the conversation when nothing is happening. Even a busy conversation has short periods of silence between words and sentences. Those periods of silence are important to the communication, but they are still times when the wiring is not being utilized.

Your Company probably uses Ethernet ( eg CAT5e cables) with two transmit wires, two receive wires, and two used for power for data – ie PCs. There is frequent movement of data across the transmit and receive wires, whether or not any actual data is needed. The amount of data that can move across these wires is massive. Most users never come even close to pushing the wiring (and connected switch port) to its capacity even once. When your computer downloads an email message with an attachment, there is a burst of activity that might last a second or less, but it only uses a tiny fraction of the available power of the network port.

It’s no wonder that the sensibility of combining the voice and data on a single network of wires and ports has long been the way forward . Of course, there is no way you can squeeze the same data speeds and capacity through ( 1308 – 2 wire ) voice wiring, but there is generally  no problem superimposing the voice communication into the data system as long as you could convert the voice stream to IP, and that’s what VoIP is – Voice of Internet Protocol.

When you convert the voice communication to IP data and integrate it into the Ethernet data stream, you eliminate one entire set of wiring infrastructure. That saves thousands of £ on a new building. If you want to move a phone to a different location, you just unplug it and move it to another available Ethernet port. Most of the PBX equipment in the telecom cabinet is there to provide a dedicated port and set of wires to each phone. All of that can go away. More savings. You no longer need to have to have ANY phone equipment other than phones that plug into the Ethernet jacks.

Whats not to like …………………. And that’s why Company owners are moving their telephony into the “cloud”

 

Cloud telephony ( sometimes called hosted telephony ) uses VoIP ( voice over internet protocol ) to provide ” telephone lines ” over your broadband connection . Cloud telephony systems do not require a telephone system processor ( PaBX ) to be located on site and the physical location ( from a geographic perspective ) of the handsets is irrelevant …. so your telephone system could be operational over several continents !

This type of telephone system benefits from remote support , flexibility and a rich set of features as standard which can include inbound ring groups, call forwarding , voicemail to email , auto attendant , call queuing , call recording , call history , PC soft phones , smart phone applications , telephone numbers from multiple dialing codes and much more.

Whether you need 1 handset or 1000 handsets cloud based telephony is the solution for your business

If you are not sure how to move to a cloud based telephone system then call Phoenix Link and we will help you