Posts Tagged ‘jitter’

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.

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Dear Hosted IP Provider, or as your Marketing Department might say, Managed IP Provider:

I realize that you believe Hosted IP is the hottest product to hit the world of telephony since Centrex was introduced in the mid 1960’s. It does have great potential if it is proposed correctly to the appropriate client. If you take the approach that since this technology is awesome one size fits all, disaster awaits. Doug Allen, senior editor of PHONES+ magazine addresses this quite eloquently. See http://www.channelpartnersonline.com/articles/2010/11/hanging-up-on-hosted-voip.aspx These are some of the issues I’d like to address concerning your Hosted/Managed product.

  • Stop focusing on the technology and tell me what it means to me. I can’t get excited that it’s “cloud technology.” Wasn’t my AOL dial-up cloud technology? In those days we were much more modest and called it “web-based.” If Hosted/Managed IP will increase productivity and add to my bottom line, please explain how. Calling it “Software as a Service” is not the answer I’m looking for.
  • Taylor your solution to the way I do business. If I want unanswered callers to ring back to the receptionist instead of going into voice mail, don’t tell me that’s not the way it should be done. My goal is to talk to every incoming caller and see if we can sell them something or solve their problem. Work with me.
  • Self Administration should not mean, “Here’s the website, now go find out how to do it.” If I’m trying to designate my cell phone to take incoming callers in the event my Hosted/Managed IP system crashes, tell me how. Don’t send a tech to do on-site training if all he’s going to do is fumble through your website while charging me $200 an hour.
  • I appreciate the fact that you’re always upgrading the network to better serve me. Do you mind doing that after business hours? When my calls are dropped or my phones and programming reverts to factory defaults, don’t tell me that you were installing a remote patch and I’m the first one ever to complain.  If I can’t make, take or hear calls coming in, we’ve got a problem.
  • Show me the warts. For example:
    • Can we send and receive faxes or will I need another analog line for that? What about a credit card machine?
    • Must all phones be wired with Cat5 computer wiring or can I use the existing twisted pair wiring?
    • If I have single line phones in a shop or warehouse, can I use them?
    • I want to page over our overhead horns and speakers. Will they integrate or will I have two phones on my desk?
    • Can I just put a call on hold and have someone else pick it up?
    • If my internet service goes down will my Hosted/Managed IP system go down too?
  • Don’t make me sign a 5 year contract. Technology is changing so rapidly and prices keep dropping. How much have the prices for flat screen TV’s dropped since 1996? How can you cost justify your solution if you don’t know the competitive costs for dial tone in 2016?

Don’t get me wrong. Hosted/Managed IP is feature rich and a perfect fit for many a clientele but not every clientele. Focus on what’s important to me and stay away from the “state of the art” discussions. If this is not a good fit, let me know and let us part as friends.

Respectfully,

Mike Bayer

P.S. Every example was based on my or a customers’ personal experience with Hosted/Managed IP. As I tell my children, “I don’t have to make stuff up.”

If you have experiences with Hosted/Managed IP, good, bad or imaginary; we ask you to share them with us. Good products with exemplary customer service sold and implemented correctly are in everyone’s best interest. Please share.

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.

In last’s month’s bog, Spotlight on SIP Trunking Part 1, we spoke about what SIP Trunking is and what it means to your business. In this final installment we will discuss when it is wise to implement based on your business needs and goals.

Three factors weigh heavily in the decision to implement SIP. They are Features, Potential Cost Savings and Functionality. Let’s address each separately.

Features are fine but what’s really important is the application and how it benefits your organizations’ bottom line. Some of the primary features of SIP Trunking are:

  • The service is location agnostic. You can have telephone numbers from anywhere in the world appearing on your phone system. This is beneficial if you wish to project a presence in a local area although your company is located elsewhere.
  • Direct in Dial (DID) numbers are readily available. Any or all of your telephone extensions can have a unique 10 digit number. That number could be local or from any area code in the country.
  • Find Me Follow Me is a feature allowing your DID number to ring your office phone, cell phone and any other number of phones simultaneously. A more practical application would be to ring the office phone and then ring other assigned numbers if the call is not answered.

Potential Cost Savings are realized the following ways.

  • Average monthly savings can range from 30-60% less than comparable service. The keyword here is comparable. If you replace 8 analog loop start (also known as P.O.T.S.) lines with SIP trunks you will see the savings. If you decide to eliminate your 8 P.O.T.S. lines and give each of your 40 extensions individual SIP trunks, you most likely will see a cost increase. Individual SIP trunks may make sense if you have a small number of extensions. If not, the cost savings may never be realized.
  • Long distance is typically less than $0.025 per minute
  • As a VoIP service, SIP is not yet subjected to the same telephone related taxes that traditional dial tone and long distance services are. This may change in the future.
  • If your company uses the same SIP provider, calls between the locations are usually at no charge

Functionality can be a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that SIP is cloud based. Changes to most features, primarily, call forwarding functionality can be accomplished by the user over a web browser. Most users have their DID number ring to their cell phone in the event of an internet failure. Additionally as a cloud based service, there is no interaction with the local telephone company. Issues concerning bad wire pairs from the telephone company which result in static, cross talk and dropped calls don’t exist. SIP trunks are delivered by your internet service provider.  

The curse is that SIP is internet dependant. Call jitter and latency affects call quality as well as reliability. Overall quality, while usually acceptable, is not yet on par with land lines.

Implementing new technology is neither easy nor clear cut. SIP trunking is heralded by many as the future of carrier services, at least until a new technology arrives. In any event it is a technology that should be seriously assessed when considering a modernization of your telecommunication services.