Common issues of hosted VOIP service (and how to avoid them!)

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1 Common issues of hosted VOIP service (and how to avoid them!)

2 CONTENTS Contents Is your business ready for hosted VOIP? The Potential Issues Poor call quality concerns....4 Incomplete inbound and outbound calls...4 Latency or lag time...4 Connection issues Inherent Internet threats Potential inferior customer service How to improve your VOIP experience Move to a dedicated fast Internet connection...6 Proper VOIP components...6 A reliable provider network infrastructure Summary... 7 Additional Resources:... 8 Additional Resource links:....9 Is your business ready for Hosted VOIP? (PDF)....9 Key drivers of hosted VOIP (PDF)....9 Top questions to ask when choosing a Hosted VOIP provider (PDF)....9 A little bit about Epik....9 Contents 2

3 INTRODUCTION Common issues of hosted VOIP service (and how to avoid them!) VOIP communication has been on the horizon for many small and medium sized businesses. People on every level of the business world are tuning into its advantages: cost savings, improved productivity and increased flexibility. With this edge in telecom, CIOs and managers are likely considering the switch. But the decision isn t always as easy as it should be. Any new technology comes with its share of uncertainties. Expert advice can help to balance any hesitations and ensure that changing to VOIP is as seamless and beneficial as people are saying. In this document we have highlighted some common issues faced by organizations after moving to hosted VOIP. By identifying them early they can be resolved before you begin your transition. Common Issues 3

4 POTENTIAL ISSUES The Potential Issues Poor call quality concerns Call quality, or QoS (Quality of Service), refers to all the properties of your connection, such as response time, signal to noise ratio and cross talk. It also covers other distortions such as robotic and choppy voice. Severe problems include lost sentences and even lines dropping calls. The technical VOIP term for this distortion is jittering which is essentially when voice packets aren t received in the order they were input due to delays or bandwidth issues. The result is a voice that cuts in and out in the middle of words and sentences or causes them to overlap. This is similar to having no reception or a poor signal on a cellular phone. Incomplete inbound and outbound calls With a VOIP phone it s possible to have calls that only sound correct on one end. For instance, the caller may hear the ringer although the person being called doesn t, or vice versa. Latency or lag time It s the time between the moment a voice packet is transmitted and the moment it reaches its destination. It is caused by slow network links and congestion, which can lead to delays in voice. This usually happens when voice and data run jointly over the same Internet connection lines. When a phone call is placed, VOIP compresses it into small data packets, which are simultaneously uploaded and downloaded for the duration of your call. If your company is downloading thousands of s with attachments at the same time it is likely that they re using every available VOIP line. It s very easy for companies to reach unexpected bandwidth traffic levels, creating poor call quality and possibly even lost calls. Common Issues 4

5 RESOURCES Connection issues VOIP is dependent on Internet connectivity. Should the Internet go down or if your company experiences slower Internet speeds, your VOIP services will suffer. With a very slow connection it can sometimes be impossible to make calls. Redundancy can also present a problem because if your Internet goes out entirely so do your phone systems. Inherent Internet threats Hosted VOIP face the same risks associated with any Internet services. The dangers include spam over Internet (SPIT), spoofing and confidentiality concerns. Potential inferior customer service By outsourcing the ability to troubleshoot, your network management is at the mercy of your provider. If their customer service or support departments are backed up or generally unresponsive, you can t do much to resolve your problems. Tasks that are meant to be easier, such as line moving and switching or even resetting a voic password could become relative hurdles if response time isn t fast enough. There are other issues which may occur with devices such as networked fax machines that could be difficult to prevent and hard to identify. If the customer service is outstanding you have a burden lifted, otherwise you re going to run into errors and problems that could last much longer then necessary. Common Issues 5

6 IMPROVE YOUR VOIP EXPERIENCE How to improve your VOIP experience We believe hosted VOIP has plenty to offer organizations willing to embrace the future of telephony. Businesses shouldn t avoid the changing technologies because of minor bugs and hiccups. Issues with connectivity and bandwidth can be prevented and measures can be made to ensure all outbound calls are completed and have high voice quality. All of these problems can be avoided almost entirely. The first step is to know them; now we can see what needs to be done to avoid them. Move to a dedicated fast Internet connection The speed of your Internet connection is determined by the amount of data that is transferred to and from a device at a specific time interval. When it comes to VOIP, your upload speed is more important than your download speed. The greater the upload speed of the Internet the more reliable and consistent the quality of your voice will be. Low cost shared Internet access like Cable and DSL provide bandwidth on a best effort basis, meaning that you can t be certain of the performance. Instead a dedicated high-speed Internet service will provide symmetrical bandwidth configured to your needs that is available 24/7. A sufficient bandwidth will ensure your VOIP calls a high level Quality of Service (QoS). *See tables under Additional Resources Proper VOIP components VOIP components have a lot of bearing on the quality of voice. Routers play an important role to compress and allow voice to transmit over less priority activities. The compression software used is called codecs. Some codecs are of poor quality and will decrease your VOIP quality. Outdated firmware on a router can also cause connection issues on your Common Issues 6

7 SECTION network. Have your VOIP provider conduct a site survey and assess your business needs before they design and install any hardware for VOIP service implementation. A reliable provider network infrastructure The primary network of the VOIP provider is critical for the success of a hosted Voice over IP service. Many issues related to call quality, network congestion and security are addressed by providers that carry voice traffic on their own private MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) network. A dedicated MPLS network will offer crystal clear voice quality and call stability. In addition the provider will be able to monitor Quality of Service (QoS), track network performance, deploy analysis tools for visibility, proactively secure networks, and troubleshoot connection problems quickly. Summary The ultimate preventative measure is choosing the right company. Look for companies that can offer data as well as voice services. This will have a huge impact on your VOIP experience. Research and interview potential provider candidates and have them tell you what they do to prevent these issues. The best companies will be able to tell you how their hosted service differs from the others and what they do to avoid the pitfalls. Do your homework first, and then let the companies tell you why their services are different. Common Issues 7

8 ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Additional Resources: A comparative table of Internet speeds and its suitability for hosted VOIP services Type Download Speeds Upload Speeds Benefits/Drawbacks Cable 4 mbps - 20 mbps 1 mbps 2 mbps DSL 1.5 mbps - 9 mbps 384 kbps 1 mbps Dedicated Internet 1.5 mbps 150 mbps 1.5mbps 150 mbps Shared Unsecured Speeds capped Inconsistent bandwidth Sensitive to neighborhood usage Asymmetrical upload/ download speeds Not suitable for VOIP Shared Unsecured Speeds capped Inconsistent bandwidth Asymmetrical upload/ download speeds Sensitive to neighborhood usage Not suitable for VOIP Private Secured Scalable Commercial grade Guaranteed bandwidth Symmetrical upload/ download speeds Always On connectivity 24x7 network monitoring Suitable for VOIP Table chart to know when dedicated Internet is the right choice for your business Business Demand Cable DSL Dedicated Internet Constantly upload/download large files between offices No No Yes Need multi-site access No No Yes Connect travelling/remote employees to main office No No Yes Stream content over Internet No No Yes Run web based applications No No Yes Deliver data securely No No Yes Support hosted voice services efficiently No No Yes Virtually no downtime No No Yes Don t want to share bandwidth No No Yes Need a future proof network No No Yes Section 8

9 ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Additional Resource links: Is your business ready for Hosted VOIP? (PDF) Download your checklist Key drivers of hosted VOIP (PDF) Are you sitting on the border to decide if VOIP is right for your organization? Let this document clear any doubts you have. Top questions to ask when choosing a Hosted VOIP provider (PDF) An extremely important informational guide to finding the right VOIP partner for your business. A little bit about Epik Epik Networks is the industry leader in advanced data and communication services, offering turnkey solutions for almost a decade. Through centralized Broadsoft softswitches and high-speed fiber-optic connections, Epik Networks provides companies of all sizes with highly customized telecommunications solutions that are both affordable and completely reliable. We take care of everything from the hardware and software, to ongoing maintenance. You will never worry about your voice services again. In addition to all the equipment, Epik Networks offers one easy-to-understand bill. Let us show you why over 8000 users have made the choice to use Epik Networks as their service provider. Feel free to call us at Epik sales consultants are standing by to help guide you to make the best possible decisions for all your telecommunication needs. epiknetworks.com Epik Networks Inc. Head Office 80 Bloor St West, Suite 503 Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2V1 Toll Free: Phone: Fax: Common Issues 9

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