Power Outages and the Hosted VOIP Option

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1 Power Outages and the Hosted VOIP Option

2 What happens to your business when the POWER is OUT? Office 1: On-Premise VOIP Voice applications are lost when grid and UPS backup fail. Without power to your busieness server even basic communications are lost. Office 2: Hosted VOIP Grid and UPS power failure is curtailed by cloud-hosted redundancy. Network applications and functions are uninterrupted. Voic Branch Office Settings Monitoring Customers Partners Customers Suppliers Partners Automated Services Suppliers Mobile Failover Co-location Limited On-Premise Redundancy Multi-layered Hosted Redundancy Customers, associates and employees can't communicate through regular channels, incurring losses and recovery costs. Continuity is disrupted at company's expense. Incoming calls, automated services and custom applications continue through the network. Network continuity improves ROI and customer satisfaction.

3 OVERVIEW Overview This article explores how businesses can prevent total communication loss in the event of a power outage. It covers the role of UPS battery backup for VOIP networks, what to consider before investing in UPS devices and the added benefits of offsite power-redundancy typical of hosted VOIP solutions. Overview 3

4 CONTENTS Contents Hosted VOIP & Power Outages....1 Overview Introduction... 4 UPS backup & Onsite Redundancy What to Consider 5 Types of UPS 5 Installation 5 Maintenance 6 Local & UPS Power Failures: Hosted vs. On-Premise... 6 On-Premise VOIP (Internally Managed) 6 Hosted VOIP (Externally Managed) 6 Full Power Redundancy with a Hosted Solution Remote Access 7 Incoming Calls, Recordings & Automation 7 Failover Facilities 7 Cost Savings and Recovery 7 Conclusion... 8 Contents 4

5 INTRODUCTION Introduction Businesses across North America are switching to VOIP technology and adding many new tools and applications to their communication arsenal. As the technology provides more advantages in productivity and efficiency, network uptime and performance has become more important. For the first time, business continuity has become communication continuity. Among the various causes of downtime, power failure has emerged as a continentwide problem. The last decade has seen numerous grid failures and natural disasters in major cities, crippling both public and private communication channels. The only way to avoid losses and setbacks caused by prolonged downtime is with a comprehensive, multi-layered redundancy plan. Hosted VOIP & Power Outages 5

6 UPS BACKUP AND REDUNDANCY UPS backup & Onsite Redundancy Unlike traditional analog phone lines which generally stay operational during an outage, both On-Premise (internally managed PBX) and Hosted (externally managed) VOIP networks require supplementary battery power. The more critical voice communication is to business operations, the more robust and redundant the battery backup should be. Proper implementation begins with an assessment of how long battery power should last after the general power stops. Most companies opt for anywhere between two and eight hours depending on the circumstances. What to Consider (see figure 1) How often are local or minor outages experienced? How long do they typically last? Is the area prone to disaster outages? How much energy does the network need? How critical is voice communication to business operations? Businesses that frequently experience outages and prioritize network uptime will need a more reliable and lasting reserve of onsite power. Types of UPS (see figure 2) In most cases, an On-line UPS will be required for a dependable amount of uptime in an outage. An Offline UPS is generally cheaper but provides a limited amount of uptime in outage, and often lags during a switchover to battery power. A Line-Interactive UPS is more suited to manage variation in the power stream and will be ineffective in a full outage. The number of batteries depends on the intricacy and power requirements of a network. Complex, large-scale networks will require high capacity UPS devices placed in multiple areas to sustain the appropriate load and improve redundancy if units fail. Multiple types may also be used in specific places to account for different types of power disruptions. Installation UPS devices are connected between power outlets and networks devices, or between different network devices to create power redundancy. Once installed, each device requires troubleshooting to ensure the equipment is functioning, properly configured and can switch seamlessly between regular and battery power. Planning and implementation will usually require professional technicians since many issues can arise. IT personnel or external technicians can also help set up a schedule of maintenance for long term reliability. Hosted VOIP & Power Outages 6

7 POWER FAILURES Maintenance Different UPS devices have different requirements and lifespans usually lasting between three and five years. They re sensitive to many factors that can cause them to fail. For instance, batteries should be stored at specific temperatures and charged every three months to optimize performance and prolong lifespan. Batteries should also be checked after outages. Depending on the quality or make of the battery, it may last up to 7 years when charged and tested regularly. As with installation, proper maintenance - especially for complex networks - will likely include technical support from external IT personnel with experience in UPS implementation. Local & UPS Power Failures: Hosted vs. On-Premise The high reliability and redundancy of Hosted VOIP becomes particularly significant when UPS power fails. UPS devices are only reliable if properly configured and maintained and even then, only up to a certain point. Full network downtime can occur in prolonged outages - disasters or grid failures - where battery power runs out, or when UPS devices aren t properly implemented and maintained. On-Premise VOIP (Internally Managed) An On-Premise VOIP network will go down completely when grid power and battery power fail. Neither staff nor employees will have any access to voice communications. Callers will encounter a busy signal with no access to voic or automated services. Employees working from home or other locations will have to resort to external communications to work. Hosted VOIP (Externally Managed) Battery power is important for Hosted VOIP to maintain onsite continuity. While there is less onsite hardware to backup, UPS power will generally require the same investment and results. Fully-redundant backup power will stay up for the designed amount of time, allowing both employees and customers to access the regular voice communications and automated service. In the case of full network downtime - when UPS battery power fails - the backbone of a hosted service continues to operate. A Hosted VOIP provider houses and maintains critical network hardware in a specialized, super redundant facility. Hosted networks are even protected against citywide failures and disaster outages failover is guaranteed by additional network facilities located in different cities. This ensures that when battery power fails, majority of the voice and automated service are accessible to employees in other locations and incoming callers. Hosted VOIP & Power Outages 7

8 FULL POWER REDUNDANCY Full Power Redundancy with a Hosted Solution Reliable power is an unquestionable advantage. A guaranteed level of voice service is key for so many different businesses - brokers, traders, distributors, realtors, lawyers, call centers, sales and service departments - all of which need to be connected to their network at all times. It follows as well for companies that experience routine power disruptions that need a solution without moving offices. With specialized facilities and failover locations, a hosted infrastructure and SLA keeps an organization connected and operational at all costs. Remote Access The office access may be down, but the network is up and running. Employees can literally bring their IP phones somewhere with power and Internet access. It s as easy as plugging into an outlet. Remote employees won t even notice a difference and can continue with their tasks, and traveling employees can use their mobile apps or softphones. Employees can also access any important information from the network, and manipulate call flow and feature settings as usual. Incoming Calls, Recordings & Automation Automated voice services continue to work in a full outage including general options like voic or more custom automations like order requests or instructions. Regular call flow continues with options to redirect calls to branch offices external numbers. Employees, clients and associates can easily complete their objectives as per usual. Calls can also be redirected to mobile extensions and home offices to make sure that in any case, calls can be addressed and satisfied. Failover Facilities Hosted or cloud facilities are themselves backed up by other locations. A reliable provider has multiple facilities that ensure network uptime even in city wide outages. This is important in total blackouts and disaster scenarios. If it takes your office days to get back in order, your network can continue to support employee and customer objectives. Cost Savings and Recovery The most significant savings are created by the ability to continue business. By avoiding downtime, companies can maintain customer and associate satisfaction. Any important deals, exchanges or meetings can be continued without interruption. Companies can also save money by avoiding any last minute solutions to an outage, like using personal cell phones or an additional office space to compensate. Business can continue to benefit from the cost effectiveness of VOIP right through a power failure. Hosted VOIP & Power Outages 8

9 CONCLUSION Conclusion Despite the added advantages of a Hosted VOIP solution, it is still highly recommended that office hardware is backed up with UPS devices as well. Although critical network hardware is stored and maintained off-site - the cloud or hosted aspect of the service - there are key pieces of equipment that need on-site power during a failure. IP phones, routers and switches have to be backed up to function in an outage. But when onsite power fails, Hosted VOIP ensures that many critical functions and applications continue. 21st century businesses can continue to operate and grow despite the risks of power failures. Hosted VOIP & Power Outages 9

10 ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Assessing the Basics of Your Battery Backup (Figure 1) Apply these questions to your network to find out how protected your operations are from a power failure. Assessing your business VOIP backup system. Yes No Have you experienced multiple (unscheduled) power failures this year? Have you experienced an area blackout this year? Are your voice services lost in a power outage? Have you installed a UPS system for your VOIP / Data network? Does your VOIP system have a dual power supply? Is your UPS system more than 3 years old? Do you routinely test your batteries? Do you routinely check the switchover from regular to battery power? Are your batteries stored at a specific temperature? If your voice system fails entirely, will it severely affect your operations? Is voice contact critical to your business, customers or suppliers? Hosted VOIP & Power Outages 10

11 ADDITIONAL RESOURCES UPS Battery Purchasing Guide (Figure 2) This checklist will help you identify which devices provide the best reliability and features. Use it to compare and score various UPS types or manufacturers. Features Brand 1 Brand 2 Brand 3 Output volt-amp capacity Output watt capacity Battery backup and surge-suppression receptacles Surge suppression receptacles only Data line surge protection User replaceable battery Average life of battery = 3-5 years Battery runtime under full load Battery runtime under half load Cold startup from battery Auto shutdown via USB Status: LED and audible Cost epiknetworks.com Epik Networks Inc. Head Office 80 Bloor St West, Suite 503 Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2V1 Toll Free: Phone: Fax: Hosted VOIP & Power Outages 11

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