Buyer BEWARE – All VoIP Line Services are not created equal.

I thought it was important to add this information so innocent and unsuspecting buyers have a little knowledge before jumping on the VoIP roller coaster. We deal with several service providers when it comes to VoIP lines and it turns out, not all of them are created equal. There are some good ones, but the ones that are bad, are really… really bad.

When purchasing VoIP services from a provider, this includes DSL and lines, make sure you have spoken to another business in your area that has dealt with this company and is happy with the level of service they are providing. We recently dealt with, for the first and last time, one of the largest VoIP providers in North America. We can’t mention any names, but for being one of the largest providers, they are absolutely brutal when it comes to supplying services. On three separate occasions at three different locations, they completely messed up the client’s service requests. Everything from assigning the same phone number to two different accounts, assigning the same account number to two different clients, providing the wrong credentials to our installers for setting up the services, assigning only part of the order and forgetting to assign the rest of the client’s lines,…and the list goes on and on. They mishandled, setting up the services so badly, it was embarrassing and each time they tried to blame someone else for their mistakes. Thank goodness all of the customers were extremely patient with small service requests – (5 lines and under). I’d hate to think what would have happened if these were large clients with several lines and large service demands. It would have been a disaster. So, just a word of caution, they may be great for providing residential phone services, but as far as business services are concerned, we will be avoiding them like the plague. Sorry Mr. Domi.

It can also make a huge difference on the actual location of your business with regards to the quality of the services you are capable of receiving. The provider may tell you they can provide up to 10 Megs down and up to 2 Megs up, but in reality you are only capable of receiving 2.5 Megs down and 0.65 up. This poor service is often caused by the lack of updated cabling in your area and no matter how much you complain, it won’t get any better. This poor quality of service is a huge factor that is often over looked by most consumers and causes major issues when switching over to VoIP, especially when you’ve already purchased a new, very expensive, VoIP phone system.

So what can the average consumer do? Well, again it’s a good idea to talk to your neighbours and it’s also advisable to have some preliminary tests done on the high speed services you already have. Remember, in most contracts, the consumer is responsible for providing sufficient bandwidth for the system, especially when it comes to Hosted Solutions. Without sufficient bandwidth, you’re wasting your time and definitely wasting your money.

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VoIP Features – What Are The Advantages?

When it comes to VoIp lines and phone systems, they usually offer a unique set of features. Some are more useful that others, but for the most part, they help keep you connected no mattter where you are. Lets look at the some of the more popular ones.

VoIp phone lines (often referred to as SIP Trunks) can come from various providers. These are phone numbers or lines that are provided to customers usually over a high speed DSL circuit. One of our favorites is a company called NetAccess located in Hamilton Ontario. Stick with one of the larger providers in your area. The service will be more reliable & much more stable. A stable DSL circuit will support up to 7 or 8 SIP Trunks depending on the bandwidth of the circuit. The lesser amount of bandwidth means the lesser amount of trunks it will support. These trunks or lines are usually less expensive than traditional phone lines and some providers include free long distance either in Canada or North America. It depends on the provider, but the average cost per line is between $25 and $35 dollars per month. That can amount to a significant cost savings compared to the cost of traditional business lines that usually cost about $55 to $60 dollars per month.

One important thing to remember about SIP Trunks, we don’t recommend using them for fax services. They are not as reliable for this purpose as traditional analog lines. We often find that faxing services fail more often when using SIP lines and for the few extra dollars it’s going to cost to keep a fax line as analog, it’s not worth taking the risk.

Another important point to consider, it’s always a good idea to keep at least one basic analog line as a backup in the event the DSL service goes down. Most SIP providers can set  your SIP Trunks to reroute all incoming calls to this backup analog line if the circuit fails. This means, even though it will be a little inconvenient, you won’t miss all of the incoming phone calls and potentially lose valuable business. As previously mentioned, these lines can be connected to traditional phone systems. You just have to let the provider know what type of system you are using.

On the next posting we’ll discuss some amazing features offered by VoIP Phone Systems like the Allworx IP System. It’s one of my favorites.