Your VoIP Questions Answered!
We answer your VoIP questions and give you a better understanding of hosted telephony
The coronavirus pandemic has forced more and more businesses to look towards remote working solutions or solutions that will flex with their new way of working.
As well as mobiles devices, hosted telephony is another modern business communication that is fast gaining traction amongst those businesses looking to adopt a new normal. Since the lockdown, our sales teams have been inundated with questions from businesses wanting to know more about hosted VoIP so we’ve collated some of the most common VoIP questions and answered them for you.
Do VoIP calls keep dropping?
There’s no doubt that some businesses probably adopted this technology too early, at a time when their broadband infrastructure wasn’t prepared for it.
With the PSTN Switch Off coming up, the infrastructure is more prepared to handle VoIP which is why network providers are encouraging customers to adopt it.
Historically, when someone made a call using an ISDN line, that call was allocated a certain amount of bandwidth, usually around 64KB per second. However, with hosted VoIP, it allocates 100KB per second to your calls ensuring that the call quality is better – this is known as HD Call Quality which is better than the traditional CODEC used by ISDN or PSTN Telephony.
What’s more, with Daisy Hosted Voice, your broadband will be segregated so that it can support your VoIP calls and ensure they’re better quality than what you’d receive with an ISDN line.
Do we need to change our desk phones?
It really does depend on what desk phones you’re currently using and that obviously varies from business to business.
If you are currently using analogue handsets its worth upgrading your handsets to receive the full benefits an IP telephone would bring. However, older analogue devices can be connected to our VoIP solution, Daisy Hosted Voice (DHV), via an analogue terminal adapter (ATA).
There’s also no need for a handset at all as you can use DHV on a soft phone only.
How are voice VS data conflicts handled? For example, if we have a lot of data connections to our network from staff working from home, what happens to our calls if those connections take up most of the bandwidth?
Think of your business internet connection as a pipe. Emails, internet browsing and general data usage such as connecting to your network simply travels through the pipe at ease. When we introduce voice, we allocate a section of that pipe to VoIP and that’s how we can guarantee you bandwidth for the required number of concurrent calls at any given time. It doesn’t matter what’s going on within your network, or with your data, we’ll always allocate a section to your VoIP calls. Your VoIP calls will always take priority so you’ll always have the ability to make those calls.
Where is the data centre located and who owns them?
We don’t use a single data centre we use, its multiple data centres across the UK, run on a resilient ring network up the East coast back down the West and all of those hand over to one another.
For example, if one data centre was to ever go down, it would automatically hand over to the next data centre and the next etc.
Our chosen hosted telephony partner for Daisy Hosted Voice (DHV) is Gamma and the reason we partner with Gamma is because they have 14 years’ experience and are the only partner offering 99.9% uptime.
How is a changeover managed during the current pandemic situation and how long does it take to get up and running?
We have, like most businesses, changed the way we work including how we do installations but how long the changeover to VoIP will be depends on your environment.
If we can maintain social distancing then we will send engineers but we have already deployed a lot of our DHV systems remotely. We’ve managed to do that by speaking to the customers in detail to understand their current set-up and we’ve sent out the handsets already pre-programmed and then talked them through the changes.
The changeover process is something that can take up to six weeks but can also be completed within ten days. It depends on whether you’re looking to port numbers and what features you’re going to use.
Sales Manager Thomas Usher took a call at the beginning of the pandemic from a customer that already had DHV in place but urgently needed to upscale a helpline they ran by adding 30 temporary staff as DHV users. We were able to deploy a softphone onto the laptops of those temporary staff, create new numbers and then route the old ones to them. The helpline and the upscale of the additional 30 DHV seats was completed within 48 hours so the length of time an installation would take is very specific to the set-up each business is wanting to create.
What is a softphone?
We’ve spoken about the use of a softphone and, put simply, a softphone is a software application that’s installed on an internet-connected device and used to make phone calls. Usually, The softphone software is provided by your VoIP provider and is a user-friendly interface that functions much the same way a regular phone would.
What length of contract would we need to enter into?
The typical duration is 36 months but we can be flexible with those terms. For example, if you had seasonal workers we could reduce the terms for those particular users.
Do we still need a handset?
No, you don’t. If you want to go fully softphone, which would mean using the Collaborate tool, all you’d need would be a headset to plug into your laptop. Or, if you wanted to run that from a mobile or tablet device, you can providing your device has got a microphone and a speaker. We do find a lot of customers like the mix and match where they still would like a handset when they’re hot-desking or in a fixed office environment but also utilise the Collaborate tool when they’re working either remotely or from home.
Is a dedicated data connection or VPN needed for a site where lots of users are calling simultaneously?
No, VPN isn’t necessary. The business may require one so their users can connect back into its core network but we don’t need one to run DHV and we’re not reliant on one.
If it’s a site with a lot of users we’d assess what the capabilities of your current connectivity solution are. If it’s strong enough to host the calls you need then we’d look at applying a voice and data split across the routers and systems to make sure you’ve got the bandwidth you need for the calls. If your broadband isn’t sufficient, we would then advise you to take a dedicated connection and which type you would be the most suitable for the calls you need to make.
Can you scale up and down easily as staff levels fall or increase due to seasonal business trends?
Yes. One of the first things we did at the beginning of COVID-19 was to create some new contract terms so that businesses could grow their DHV system gradually.
We have customers who have taken out the product for their core users and then added a handful of users onto their system for a three or six month term.
Businesses can scale users up and down to suit their business and you can also add users part-way through your contract.
How does DHV integrate with third-party packages like Office 365?
It’s also got CRM integration so it will integrate with the vast majority of solutions straight off the shelf. Office 365 is one of the more generic ones but there’s a lot of packages within that. For example, there’s an Outlook plugin that would work with DHV and your emails to enable you to click to dial on someone’s contact card.
If you have any programme you would like to integrate with DHV, fill in our enquiry form and we’ll let you know if it’s something we can do and what work is required.
How easy is it to switch between a desk phone and mobile?
If you are in the middle of a call and you’re taking the call on a desk phone but you need to go out, you can either key in a code onto your desk phone to switch onto your mobile seamlessly or you can use the Collaborate application on your mobile. At no point does the call need to go on hold and the person you’re speaking to won’t even realise the call has been handed from one device to the other. Both will seamlessly move the call from your deskphone to your mobile or tablet device, allowing you to move away from the office while still talking to your client without interruption.
It works the other way too so, if you’re coming into the office but you’d rather move the call to your desk phone from your mobile, you can do that as well.
There’s no need to put the call on hold or end it and call back, it’ll continue seamlessly.
What connectivity do I need to use DHV?
It depends on how many concurrent calls your business will be making. To get a HD quality call you’ll need 1000KB per second upload speed which is more than you’ll need for an ISDN line.
In truth, you can run your VoIP calls over an ADSL broadband connection and comfortably support your calls depending on how many are running concurrently.
There isn’t really a minimum speed that we advise, it would depend on how many users and how many people will be on calls at the same time.
How does Daisy Hosted Voice compare with other VoIP solutions that are in the marketplace?
A lot of providers out there are just selling another carrier’s product rebranded. We do it very differently.
We’re in full control of our Daisy Hosted Voice solution and we tailor the solution to each business and its users.
Daisy compare very strongly. Whether you’re looking for a basic or advanced user, we’ve got a wealth of experience we’ve gained since 2002 which we can lean on to help you. We’ll talk you through the set-up and ensure that it is truly tailored to your business.
You can buy this as an ‘off the shelf’ product but no ‘off the shelf’ product will truly fit your organisation.
Your tailored, bespoke solution will also be supported with wrap around support. We can manage this product 24 hours a day so if you’re a business that operates outside of standard working hours we can still raise, diagnose and rectify most faults no matter the time of day.
Will my lines really disconnect in 2025 or is this a tactic by Openreach to move people to new technologies?
Openreach have made it clear that in 2025 the dial tones will get turned off. Soon, Openreach will come to a cost point of view where it won’t be worth it to pay for the upkeep of the legacy copper network. More and more people are switching to fibre therefore, from a cost point of view, it won’t be cost-effective for Openreach to support the legacy copper network.
The 2025 date is now fixed. Openreach first announced its intention to switch off the PSTN back in November 2017 with the 2025 date set in motion. Following a lengthy consultation, a formal notification was issued in December 2018. They’ve made a very firm and clear statement to us as a supplier that 2025 is the end date and they’ve put all the points before that to ensure it happens. In 2025 your lines won’t get dug up out of the ground but if you pick that phone up to make a call over the copper line you won’t get a dial tone. That applies to residential as well as to commercial. On the back of residential broadband routers you now have a port for a phone and that’s because a lot of the handsets you buy for residential properties encourage you to plug that phone into your broadband and use VoIP for that call as well.