VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) Phones
VOIP phones are being adopted for business in increasing numbers recently and we want to share some strategy and knowledge we have gathered over the years:
There are two major directions (currently) for selecting VOIP phones: Internet Hosted phones and locally hosted phones. We have seen both work and both fail. Failure shows itself in distracting line drops, hiss and echo. The challenge we see in IT is that the failure is typically jumbled in an office computer network. This is where we at GCS come in.
Since the first VOIP phones popped up ten years ago, our first and best fix is to fully isolate the phones on their own physically separate network. We have received quite a bit of resistance over the years from phone vendors which are sure that is not required but it has had a 100% effectiveness and it is fast and easy to do. The costs can be high when you consider that sometimes there are insufficient network drops run in the walls but beyond that, this solution is a no brainer.
Going further, the Locally hosted phones are usually supported and installed by local vendors and affiliated with a major manufacturer. There are real benefits to locally motivated hands and businesses to get around issues and ownership after the sale. We have had the best problem resolution with locally hosted phones supported by local vendors. Internet hosted phones are growing in popularity and they have limited resources to resolve issues during and after install. Our experience with them is that they either work or they don’t – and if they don’t – run far and run fast. We do see more local companies supporting and installing Internet hosted phones and we support that.
Beyond physical separation and if issues persist: strap in for a long line of finger pointing between phone vendors, IT vendors, cablers and ISP. Someone will have to take leadership and walk with the customer through isolating challenges and working with vendors.
In summary: pick your phone and VOIP vendor carefully (consider locally available support heavily) and ISOLATE the phones from the starting line. Then – enjoy the benefits of VOIP.