Posts Tagged ‘DID’

cccVoice over IP (VoIP) has been the standard transfer protocol for voice telecommunications for quite some time. Its biggest drawback is that it utilizes the internet. Voice and video need to be transmitted in “real time.” Delays in video result in buffering which though annoying are somewhat acceptable. Delays in voice transmission result in jitter, latency and eventually, a dropped call. To most callers, this is unacceptable. The internet does not provide Class of Service (CoS); and since all traffic is treated equally, voice calls will suffer when internet usage is heavy. CoS allows for the prioritization of traffic such that voice and video data are sent ahead of non time-sensitive tasks such as e-mail and web page accessing.

In order to achieve a private telecom voice network free of jitter, latency and dropped calls you need to have a Closed Loop Communications Network, (CLCN). We have partnered with Cisco, EarthLink and Adaption Technologies to provide an integrated telephone and network application that couples the flexibility of Hosted with the operability and ease of use of a key system. Our solution utilizes Adaption Technologies’ Hosted VoIP technologies for transport over the nationwide backbone maintained by EarthLink. We provide a controlled CoS with end to end delivery. Carrier quality is guaranteed while jitter, latency and dropped calls are virtually eliminated. Your conversation never touches the internet.

This service is monitored 24/7/365 in our Aurora, IL Network Operation Center (NOC) in conjunction with our Help Desk. Our network is guaranteed with measurable Service Level agreements (SLA’s).

With this Closed Loop Communications Network you can use your existing telephone equipment or you can equip some or all locations with SIP handsets using Hosted VoIP. All calls are on net. One auto attendant can serve multiple locations. If there is a service interruption, calls are automatically redirected to a pre-assigned destination. This is location specific. We can provide enhanced customer service, detailed call reporting at a cost substantially lower than conventional telephone services.

CLCN takes the revolutionary technology of VoIP and refines it to be a cost effective business application for companies with multiple locations. It provides on net, no cost dialing between locations. You can answer any call from any location with the ability to transfer that call to any location. This results in enhanced customer service while requiring less manpower. If you believe this solution has an application at your company, contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151. We’ll help you get your own piece of the internet.

best of bwVoice over IP (VoIP) phone systems are here to stay. At least until the next breakthrough technology arrives on the scene. Most crystal balls do not have that happening any time soon. Maybe that is a good thing. For those wishing to use premise based equipment, the question comes down whether to choose pure IP or converged IP, sometimes referred to as blended IP. With Toshiba you have the IPedge which is a software-centric unified communications platform for those who want to deploy an all IP network. The benefits of this pure IP solution are:

  • You have a single network to manage. Voice is but an application running on your LAN.
  • Advanced applications are either included in the software package or licensed. Typically, there is no additional hardware to purchase.

The Strata CIX, on the other hand, is a converged IP system. Benefits being:

  • You can mix IP, analog and digital devices. This is important if you are migrating digital sets from an existing Toshiba phone system.
  • It uses Cat3 (twisted pair) or dedicated Cat5e cabling . If you have older wiring in your building, converting to Cat5e or higher may not be cost effective.

The good news is that either solution provides a myriad of applications such as:

  • IP wireless sets which work off your wireless LAN access points
  • SoftIPT soft phones which transform your PC into a telephone providing global access anywhere you can get an internet connection
  • Call control from your PC; CRM integration with screen pops
  • Presence, Instant Messaging/Chat between extensions
  • Meet-me audio conferencing with web collaboration and video
  • Browser-based system administration
  • uMobilty Fixed Mobile Convergence turning your dual-mode smart phone into your phone extension
  • Contact Center capabilities

It really comes down to the premise wiring and the need for either digital or analog sets. Either solution will offer you a portfolio of applications which can be tailored to your company’s specific needs. From a few users to thousands, Toshiba has the right solution for you.

For more information, contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or give us a call at 815-282-5151.

Network Services, commonly referred to as dial tone has been around since there have been choices from the telephone company. Years ago your company could have a T1 line which provided Direct in Dialing numbers, DID. This affords your employees having a direct telephone number without have a dedicated line. This evolved to ISDN, Integrated Services Digital Network. This was like T1 but had ANI, Automatic Number Identification which is very similar to Caller ID. It had some additional features most notably DNIS. This stands for Dialed Number Identification Services which allow your company to determine which telephone number was dialed by a customer. Unique numbers could be associated with distinctive products and services. These numbers could be answered differently by your employees. Do you remember those late night 800 numbers selling the ginsu knife? That was DNIS in action. DNIS let those operators know if you were calling for a Kitchen Magician or the Slim Whitman record.

In the old days, every outside line you had in your business corresponded to a pair of copper wires sent from Ma Bell’s Central Office over her telephone poles and into your building. Today the great majority of business telephone service is brought in over T1 or coax. Ma Bell evolved into a LEC, Local Exchange Carrier. They are the default providers. In our neck of the woods, it’s AT&T and Frontier (who purchased it recently from Verizon, formerly GTE). Chances are your service is not provided by the LEC but a CLEC, Competitive Local Exchange Carrier. You know them as Earthlink (formerly One Communications) TDS Metrocom, PAETEC, Norlight etc. Since these CLEC’s don’t own any telephone poles, all their service to you is over anything but copper. It could be T1, fiber, coax or even satellite.

Since you’re getting a full T1 and voice is but an application on the network. LEC’s and CLEC’s are providing internet access and dial tone (voice and data) on the same connection. Whatever is left over on the T1 bandwidth after you subtract what is needed for voice equals the usable bandwidth for your internet.  Sometimes this is called Dynamic T1. Do you want DID numbers and DNIS with that? It’s not a problem.

So now that we know where we’ve been, where are we going?  SIP, Session Initiation Protocol, holds the most potential. SIP trunks typically cost less than comparable service. They’re location agnostic-you can have listed telephone numbers from anywhere in the US and often times the world. Since the FCC and Illinois Commerce Commission see it as a data service, it’s exempt from many of the taxes levied on traditional dial tone services. Most of the newer telephone systems are designed to integrate directly with SIP trunking. This lowers the cost of the telephone equipment needed.

SIP, T1, DID, DNIS; what works best for my business and will be a cost effective implementation? Do what the Pro’s do. Call a vendor who is affiliated with your LEC and all the CLEC’s and provides all the services. Our affiliation with a Master Agent to all these providers with all their services make us the Pro’s choice. Give Select Telecom & Technologies a call today at 815-282-5151 or at sales@selectteltech.com and let us put our 25+ years of experience to work for you.

This is a story of a customer who wanted to purchase phone systems for her organization. They were a non-profit which provided audiologists to the local public school districts. You had your office staff but you also had fifty technicians working in the field. Here’s the problem as we saw it:

  • The off-site employees needed to receive calls but not initiate calls
  • Calls were directed to them specifically. Since they dealt with scheduling, a receptionist would be of little help.
  • Employees needed to be notified in a timely manner but not necessarily immediately
  • Since they were a non-profit, the solution needed to be cost effective

After some brainstorming we decided that the best solution would to have DID, Direct in Dial numbers, ring to notification only voice mailboxes assigned to each offsite employee. The DID number would use the organization’s bank of telephone lines and give each off-site employee its specific ten digit telephone number. This satisfied the cost effective requirement as well as need to have calls be directed specifically to each employee. When a caller left a message in the notification only mailbox, the call processor would call the employee’s cell phone, prompt them to enter a security code and play the caller’s message. The employee could then return the call when their schedule allowed.

The result was a more productive customer with a staff responsive to it’s clients’ needs. They used technology to improve customer retention without adding headcount and that’s the moral to this story.

The short answer is neither. Having a qualified receptionist to answer incoming calls, transfer them to the appropriate extension and address questions and concerns is the best way to provide good customer service and foster client retention.

If for reasons beyond your control you can not have a full-time receptionist, you have a choice. Making an informed decision will affect how your customers perceive you and your business.

Let’s first look at Automated Attendant which is the application in a Call Processor that routes callers to an extension or group of extensions based on the digits entered by the dialer after the auto attendant answers. We have all heard, “If you know your party’s extension, you may dial it now;” or, “For the Sales Department, press three.”

The benefits of Automated Attendant are:

  • It’s relatively inexpensive. If you have Voice Mail you have Automated Attendant
  • It operates 24/7/365
  • It’s never in a bad mood
  • It can provide a wealth of information a receptionist may find tedious

These are all pretty impressive and need no additional discussion.

The weaknesses of an Automated Attendant are:

  • It’s impersonal
  • The more choices you give a caller, the more annoyed they become
  • It cannot answer questions or provide customer service without making the caller “guess” to whom they wish to speak

Remember, people don’t like talking to a machine. Keep the choices short and specific. It’s impossible to get all callers to the correct extensions 100% of the time. Make sure you have an exit strategy, usually by allowing callers to dial “0” which will send them to a live person who can guide them through the process. Make the technology enhance your Customer Service Department, not replace it.

Let’s now talk about Direct in Dialing also known as DID. DID is the ability to have a 10 digit phone number ring directly at an extension or group of extensions. It’s a function of your Carrier Service Provider and your telephone equipment. In other words, you need to pay for the service from you dial tone provider and your telephone hardware must be sophisticated enough to support DID.

The benefits of DID are:

  • Callers to whom you have given your DID number have direct access to you without receptionist or Automated Attendant intervention
  • Incoming traffic is redirected away from those extensions previously involved in transferring callers
  • A small company can give the allusion that they are much larger

The drawbacks of DID are:

  • There is cost involved if you need to upgrade your current telephone equipment to support DID
  • Once an unwanted caller has your DID number, there is no easy way to screen them

Depending on the size of your company, DID service may be less expensive than typical voice lines. If DID can be cost-effective, it should be considered. If you choose to implement an Automated Attendant solution, you can get very favorable results if it’s designed correctly. When designing any telephone system, think of the users; your customers. What is the most efficient and user-friendly way to get them to purchase your goods and services, resolve a problem or pay their bill? If you keep that in mind, the “Which is Better” argument becomes moot.

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IP telephone systems have been on the market for years. The reliability of existing digital phone systems was good enough that a company could keep a system for 10+ years before issues made it necessary to be replaced.

With the economy improving, digital systems aging and the buzz of IP features such as Unified Communications, Mobility and SIP Trunking; now may be the time to give IP Telephone Systems a hard look. We have assembled 5 Frequently Asked Questions to help you in your discovery process.

1. Why are IP Telephone Systems considered better than Digital ones?

The simple answer is applications. IP telephony allows for features not available in the digital arena. The major ones being:

  • Support for off site employees; telecommuting. This is the ability to have a  telephone or telephone software residing on a PC to be connected to your office’s phone system by way of an internet connection. This is considered VoIP, Voice over Internet Protocol.
  • Ability to seamlessly network multiple systems over the internet. You can have 4 digit dialing between offices, share a receptionist and cut down on long distance costs since calls between offices are free. You can access the dial tone of a networked office to make a “local” call; local to them but long distance to you.
  • SIP trunking. This is a feature rich network service priced lower than traditional outside lines and even PRI. SIP supports DID (Direct in Dialing) and is location agnostic. Need a Manhattan telephone number for  inbound or outbound dialing? No problem! Want to ring your office phone and cell phone simultaneously? Piece of cake!
  • Unified Communications (UC). This is the next generation of the voice mail/ auto attendant. With UC you get FAX to the desktop, Visual voice mail, Chat features, Click to dial from your Outlook contacts, Voice mail and e-mail to your mobile device. The list goes on.
  • Fixed Mobility Convergence (FMC). This allows your smartphone to connect and be switched between your IP phone system and your wireless carrier. Your IPhone/Droid/Blackberry is now your office phone, but only when you’re in the mood. When you leave your office, FMC seamlessly puts you on your wireless carrier. When you’re back in the office or at a Wi-Fi hotspot, FMC switches you off your wireless carrier and back on to the wireless LAN to eliminate network charges.

2. What don’t I know about moving to an IP system that may haunt me later?

Your local area network (LAN) is now your telephone network. Ask yourself:

  • Do I have Cat5e or Cat6 cabling to every extension? If not, what are the costs associated?
  • Do I have Quality of Service software (QoS) in my routers? Without QoS, voice and data are treated equally. Since voice (and video) are time sensitive, lack of QoS may result in latency, jitter or dropped calls.
  • Is my IT department technically astute enough to set up a V-LAN (virtual LAN) allowing the voice traffic to be segregated from the data traffic?
  • Are my data switches Power over Ethernet (POE) compliant? If not every IP telephone will need an AC adaptor for power. If you have a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) for the data equipment, you could still lose the ability to make phone calls during a power outage.

3. Can I upgrade my current system or is this a forklift upgrade?

That depends. If you are a Toshiba Telecom customer, you’re probably in luck. Nortel, Samsung and Telrad customers are not so lucky.

4. What about downloading free telephony software off the internet?

That can be done. You’re downloading an open source PBX software package typically on a LINUX platform, although a variety of operating systems are supported. It’s the PBX software that transforms the LINUX based platform into a communication server. It is free, but requires programming expertise. Unless you’re a system’s integrator, you’d be wiser to get a turnkey software package which resides on the open system. Designing and maintaining IP telephony software is not for the faint of heart.

5. Is an IP system future proof?

As engineers like to say, “Anything that leaves the drawing board is obsolete.” IP, VoIP and SIP are entrenched protocols which should stay on the forefront of telecommunications for years to come. We all realize that technology is constantly improving. With that in mind, IP telephony may today be the 21st century’s answer to a technology that’s been around for well over 100 years.

Every business needs dial tone. If you need dial tone you need a network service provider. Years ago, you had no choice. If you were in Illinois Bell territory you chose Illinois Bell. If you were in GTE territory.. you get the picture. The next generation was dialing 10-10 plus 3 digits to get an alternative long distance carrier. MCI was 10-10-288, Sprint 10-10-333 and so on. You still had no choice for local service. Today the choices are many. The more choices you have, the more you need to know. Here are 3 things to consider when choosing a network service provider.

1. Features. If you are a small company with basic needs. VoIP to analog lines may be the most cost effective choice. Do you have bandwidth requirements and want to project your company as being larger? Dynamic PRI with Direct in Dial numbers (DID’s) may be the solution. Are you mobile and always out of the office? SIP could be the solution.

2. Price. Once you decide the feature set required, get a side by side comparison of the competing carriers. Take note of costs for local calls and long distance packages. Unlimited long distance is meaningless if all your calls are local. Be wary of signing a contract longer than 36 months. The technology is changing rapidly and so are the pricing models. Read the fine print for early termination penalties. It will be worth the eye strain.

3. Support. You will need support from your local provider. If your service is VoIP based, internet speeds can play havoc on your call quality resulting in jitter and latency. Your ability to stay connected is also affected. If your service is not being provided over coax or fiber, it is using the telephone company’s wiring between their central office and your company’s location. These poles and wiring could have been installed before rotary dial was invented. Maintenance on these is always an issue. This “last mile” can result in static and cross talk especially in inclement weather. You need an advocate to make your problem their problem.

The solution is to deal with a company tied to a Master Agent.  Unlike a network service provider sales agent, a Master Agent represents many carriers. They can sift through their portfolio and find the best combination of features and price. As Master Agents, they have more clout with the carriers than a single customer would have. Since rates are tariffed, that is, set by the state utility commission, the cost quoted by a Master Agent and a sales agent of the carrier are identical. At Select Telecom we are partnered with On Track Communications who are Master Agents for over 40 carriers. Whether it’s simple dial tone, MPLS or a dedicated fiber connection to Beijing, we have you covered. Give us a call. You’ll find that the solution may be as simple as 1,2,3.