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VoIP

How Do Virtual Phone
Systems Work?

October 17th, 2014

How Virtual Phone Systems Work

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology revolutionizes the way users can make phone calls. Replacing traditional landlines lines with a high-speed internet connection is a great way to improve signal reliability and reduce costs for your business.

Digitized Conversations.
VoIP digitizes sounds to transmit calls over fiber optic cables. Once your voice is translated into transferable data, the sending computer separates this information into even smaller packets of data. The packets are then transmitted from your router to the call recipient’s computer through the internet.  Within seconds, the recipient computer receives these data packages and pieces them back together. The reassembled information then instructs the recipient’s phone system how to reproduce your verbal message. All of this allows virtual phone systems to circumvent the use of dedicated copper wires utilized by costly and often outdated traditional phone systems.

Virtual Phone Perks.
This packet-based communication offers several inherent advantages over the dedicated circuit-switch system. Packaging information allows data from multiple conversations to simultaneously transfer across a single fiber optic phone line. The result is a far more efficient strategy for transferring phone calls. Furthermore, data compression allows virtual phone system users access to even more cost-effective services, like digital faxing, enhanced messaging, and sophisticated call routing.

Unique-to-VoIP Features.
Virtual phone systems can also perform the same functions as any traditional private branch exchange (PBX) system. VirtualPBX simplifies this process by hosting powerful servers that transmit calls to its users. Incoming calls are received by either a digital or real-life receptionist. Callers are then prompted for a specific extension, which connects them directly to the branch or employee of their choice. This connection transfer happens digitally and can connect callers to VoIP-capable phones in literally any location – so you no longer need to be in the office to take a business call. VirtualPBX’s Anywhere Plan provides this type of flexibility and is great for companies with workers on the go or at home.

For more traditional brick-and-mortar operations that can also benefit from the freedom of a VoIP system, VirtualPBX also has several Office Plans to choose from.

To decide which plan works best for your business, check out the VirtualPBX Plan Comparison tool or give us a call at 888.825.0800 today!

Built on a Foundation of Service
September 18th, 2014

Built on a Foundation of Service

Okay, we can admit, it’s nice to get noticed every now and then. That’s why when VoIP and PBX Industry Analyst, Daniel Harris, of technology review company Software Advice wanted to include VirtualPBX in their suite of product offerings, we were thrilled.

“We wanted to include VirtualPBX here because we were looking for hosted PBXs who lead the pack in innovation and quality of service,” Harris said. “As our readers are mainly small business owners, we were also looking for hosted PBX systems that provide exceptional service for buyers in this niche, and VirtualPBX certainly fits the bill.”

Software Advice professionals consider how well a product’s features are married to high quality customer service when making recommendations to their clients. In that area, we are proud to say we buck the trend of offshoring our support teams and charging extra for their service.

We understand that our success is critically linked to the success of our customers. That’s why we have an entire team, in-house, that is dedicated to helping them maximize their familiarity with and benefit from VirtualPBX’s suite of products.

“One of the features of VirtualPBX that especially impressed me… was the incredibly easy setup–few VoIP providers allow a business to start service with nothing more than traditional analog desk phones,” Harris added. “I was also impressed by VirtualPBX’s disaster recovery options and quality control mechanisms including the dedicated service team which helps to manage customers’ network settings.”

It’s always an incredible honor to receive industry recognition for our customer service, but the best praise we can ever hope for is that from our customers themselves.

  • 85% of our customers recommend VirtualPBX to others
  • 90% of our customers are completely satisfied with VirtualPBX
  • 95% of our customers say they receive great customer service

Thanks for letting us get to do what we love, be your complete business phone solution. If you have any questions or would like to share your experience with VirtualPBX or VoIP in general, please feel free to share your comments with us! The full Software Advice article is available to read here.

5 Advantages of Telecommuting for Employers and Employees
September 11th, 2014

Advantages of Telecommuting

Did you know that 40% of jobs in the U.S. can be done from home? While working from home isn’t feasible for every person or every type of job, there are a variety of benefits that both employers and employees should take advantage of when possible. Many of the barriers that have limited telecommuting in the past are waning, including the evolution of softphone technology, which makes it easier and more common for employees to work from home.

  • Increased Productivity
    Telecommuting results in a 10-20% increase in employee productivity. When working in an office, employees tend to drag out the length of time tasks take to finish, as finishing quickly likely results in additional assignments to fill time… as a result there is no incentive to maximize daily task performance. Oftentimes, the time spent at the office is filled with unproductive tasks – chatting with coworkers, surfing the web, smoke breaks, long lunches, etc.
  • Increased Job Satisfaction
    Employees who work from home are reportedly more satisfied with their jobs, as the stress that an office atmosphere creates is alleviated. In fact, 25% of telecommuters report having less stress than their counterparts. Increased job satisfaction leads to more productive, happier employees that want to stay with the company and see success.
  • Reduced Costs
    Businesses can cut office costs with few to no employees present in the office ranging from furniture to electricity used, while employees save money used on gas to get to and from the office.
  • Improved Life-Work Balance
    80% of telecommuters say they are able to maintain a better life-work balance by telecommuting. The average commute to work is 45 minutes, so on average, telecommuting can offer workers an extra hour and a half to spend to themselves or with their family.
  • Decreased Pollution for the Environment
    If every employee who could work from home did so, 50 million people could save a grand total of 587 million barrels of oil – this is equal to 74% of United States gulf oil imports. Only one day of telecommuting could save a whopping 423,000 tons of greenhouse gas.

It’s important for businesses to take a look at the benefits of having their workers telecommute, whether it’s one day per week or five days per week. With new and improved technology, employees can work from virtually anywhere. The tools are there; it’s up to employers to take advantage of them.

Sources: Staples Advantage, Workopolis, The Telework Coalition, The Telework Research Network, The Oil Drum, Opportunity Now

How Bandwidth Can
Negatively Impact VoIP Quality
…and How to Improve It

August 24th, 2014

Bandwidth Can Negatively Impact VoIP Quality

It’s widely-known that business VoIP phones rely heavily on your Internet speed. A High-speed Internet connection provides VoIP with clear, high-quality calls and is a necessity in any business with an implemented VoIP phone system. However, what most people don’t know is that network bandwidth plays a large role as well. VoIP needs a certain amount of bandwidth to be usable. Businesses rely on a number of other Internet activities and while you might have enough bandwidth for VoIP to remain clear, when traffic spikes in one area of your network, your VoIP call suffer a loss in sound quality, resulting in static… or even drop completely.

So how do I determine if I have enough bandwidth?
While there are a number of network speed and bandwidth tests available online, it can be difficult to determine the right amount of bandwidth to meet your specific business needs. Because of this, you may want to contact the experts.

How do I find the right network bandwidth provider?
Once you’ve determined what amount of bandwidth is required to meet your business needs, it’s important to shop around for a reputable provider. VirtualPBX makes it easier to shop around and takes the search out of your hands. Simply request a quote, and VirtualPBX will search your local providers for you in order to provide you with the best quote for the bandwidth that you need.

Hosted PBX vs. Standard PBX: Which Is Right for You?
August 12th, 2014

is Hosted PBX or Standard PBX right for your business

Choosing a hosted PBX service vs. a standard PBX service depends greatly on the needs of your business. But how do you know which is right for you? Sometimes the choice is easy – for example, a hosted PBX service would make the most sense for a company with employees who work outside the main office; a company where all employees are located at the same office location may find that a standard PBX system is more beneficial. Below are more details to help you decide which service is best for you and your business.

A standard PBX system makes sense when:

  • All employees are located at the same office
  • The company doesn’t mind high up-front costs in order to receive the lowest possible monthly costs
  • The company wants the cheapest solution available and capabilities are unimportant
  • The business is larger
  • Customers won’t benefit from a toll-free service
  • The company is not likely to change in size

A hosted PBX service is the best choice when:

  • Not all employees are located at the same location – some telecommute, work away from the main location, or need to be available outside of regular hours
  • There is not a brick-and-mortar location – the company is virtual
  • The business wants low up-front costs
  • Customers would benefit from a toll-free service
  • The business is smaller
  • The company is likely to increase in size
  • The business experiences a high number of incoming calls
  • System reliability and fault tolerance are important
  • The business would like to avoid dedicating employees to outsourcing for PBX support
  • The business would like a complete set of features

A PBX service helps save your business money, as well as offers additional features that simply can’t be had with a traditional phone system. Still not sure which is right for you? Call VirtualPBX today at 1-888-825-0800 for more information on our hosted PBX service. We can help you decide what’s most beneficial for your business.

Which VirtualPBX Plan
is Better for Me?

April 30th, 2014

With VirtualPBX, you’re not forced into a payment plan that doesn’t match your business. Most companies will find our flat rate plans will provide the most savings, and give the peace of mind that comes from knowing how much your bill will be each month, regardless of usage. Other businesses, usually those that don’t use the phone a lot, will benefit more from our usage based plans – why pay for unlimited use when your needs are low?

FLAT-RATE PLANS

This is what most companies market as “unlimited”.  There is never any such thing as “unlimited” in the telecom industry.  Let’s just get this straight right up front.  Carriers charge each other on a price per minute basis when they hand calls off to one another, so at some point in time that cost makes it down to the consumer.  However, VirtualPBX doesn’t really push the “unlimited” as much as they push flat-rate.  It’s a flat rate under normal business usage.  Here’s what the flat-rate plan comes with:

Plan Overview

  • Anywhere from $39.99/mo down to $19.99/mo per user, depending on how many extensions are needed
  • Unlimited free minutes for typical business use
  • No charge for long distance any where in the continental US or Canada
  • 1,000 minutes of toll-free included in every plan

Best for:

  • Most companies with typical phone use
  • Employees who work in offices or home offices with broadband internet

USAGE-BASED PLANS

Usage-based plans basically means you pay for only the minutes you use.  This can be extremely useful if you don’t have that many inbound calls or make many outbound calls.  You don’t need to pay a higher flat rate per extension because your overall usage is low compared to the average office.

Plan Overview

  • Prices start at just $9.99 per month
  • Pay only for minutes used
  • Unlimited users
  • Same system features as the flat-rate plans because it’s the same system
  • Toll-free is built into the plan minutes

Best for:

  • Companies with low phone use
  • Employees on cell phones or land lines

PLAN CALCULATOR

Still not sure which plan is best for you?  Not a problem.  To help make it a little easier, we’ve put together a little calculator where you input the number of users that need an extension and the rough amount of minutes that they use each month for inbound and outbound calls.

Please click to learn more about the plan calculator.

So, bottom line is that VirtualPBX has the right plan for you.  And even better is no matter which plan you choose, you can use the hardware VoIP phones with them, allowing you to cut all ties with your land line and traditional carriers.  This could save you a lot of money.  And that’s why VirtualPBX is doing what they’re doing.

3 Things to Look For When Choosing the Right VoIP Provider
August 28th, 2013

VoIP seems to be all the rage in various business industries and it’s important to do your research to choose a VoIP provider that is right for you before jumping right in. The most important aspect in choosing the right provider includes finding one that includes a secure telecommunication network, with call quality, and VoIP quality. Below are three things to look for in a PBX phone system and service provider.

Data Center
With a hardened, co-located facility, switches should be stored in a co-located datacenter that is part of a government-protected network for technology and communication. Multiple power and telecom sources allow the system to stay secure and functioning even if a telecommunication provider were to collapse with no risk of affecting customer calls. Carrier Class Switching allows providers to make their own changes, therefore providing you with virtually zero downtime.

Network
It’s important that all network points are firewalled and that full security measures are taken. Separate systems are ideal so that a web failure won’t affect calls. If calls are being placed to VoIP phones or soft phones, it is vulnerable to access through the internet, something copper wire calls are immune to. Therefore, VoIP calls must go through a secure backbone to ensure your VoIP calls are secure at all times.

Reliability
When searching for a reliable VoIP provider, it’s important to search for a company that promises no planned downtime. This means that no customer calls are affected, even if repairs are needed with the provider. Ask your prospective VoIP provider about the percentage of uptime you can expect.

As the most reliable virtual phone service in the market, Virtual PBX understands the importance of quality. Contact Virtual PBX today to see what we can do for you.

This “Technology of the Future” Can Save Your Business Money
June 3rd, 2013

You may have heard about “VoIP services astonishing growth”, “internet telephony tremendous success”, and “VoIP revolution” in the latest headlines of technology news. While VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is not a new service, more and more businesses are opting for this cost-effective phone system. There are two ways to take advantage of VoIP – you can get a complete VoIP phone system that includes business VoIP phones and inbound and outbound calling, or keep your existing phones and use our VoIP service to route callers and handle voicemail. As a third option, you can blend your usage and do both.

shutterstock_21824359Still undecided as to whether or not you’re ready to jump on the bandwagon with VoIP? Consider the following benefits:

Aside from saving your business money in startup costs and monthly maintenance costs, the benefits include a variety of added features that a traditional phone system simply cannot offer. A few of these benefits include professional greetings, music on hold, custom auto-attendant, fax with no fax machine, ACD queuing, call recording, conferencing, and more – the list is never-ending.

Users are able to access VoIP anywhere they go as long as they have access to internet connection. This is ideal for businesses with employees who travel often or work from home. VoIP can also help increase productivity among employees with integrated mailboxes and real-time videoing. Aside from lower setup and maintenance costs, businesses will see infrastructure costs reduced as well as lower facility costs without such a large number of wires running through the office.

A great VoIP provider will offer a plan that fits your budget and needs, while still offering the same great features that attracted you to shutterstock_95064232VoIP in the first place. However, before jumping on the bandwagon, it’s important to test your network to make sure it’s up for the task of handling VoIP. You can easily do this with a VoIP test, which will measure bandwidth, latency, and jitter, and check on the port status of your network.

Once deemed technology of the future, VoIP has since become a reality and continues to aid businesses in saving money and increasing efficiency.

Using Hosted VoIP to Consolidate Communications in 2013 and Beyond
December 19th, 2012

As another year draws to a close, it is a good time to reflect on the trends of the ever-evolving communication landscape that took place over the past 365 days and consider what may come in the new year.

Looking back, 2012 can be considered the year of mobile, but as we head into 2013, the year of hosted VoIP adoption may be among us.

Though existing for several years, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology has been slow to catch on outside the enterprise. Whether it’s due to consumer patterns or lack of awareness, people haven’t been particularly interested in VoIP. This all may be changing; however, as the technology becomes more mainstream and people discover the benefits of a VoIP phone system.

As we head into 2013, more and more businesses will realize that when they want a great phone solution, they must turn to Hosted VoIP. It allows quick and inexpensive communication over pre-existing telephone lines and is easy to use. It also often comes with many features that traditional phone services don’t provide.

People in general want a better phone service; and as soon as they get a feel for all the benefits VoIP phone systems give them at their workplace, they begin wanting the same types of features and connectivity in their personal lives as well.

In 2013, VoIP integration will play a major part as old phone technology rapidly becomes obsolete. The proliferation of smartphones will hasten adoption as demand for better telephone service pushes users towards VoIP and away from outdated legacy phone systems.

The chasm of adoption may just be crossed in 2013, as more people discover what new phone technology like VoIP can do to improve their call quality and lower their total phone costs.

It’s an exciting time to be in the hosted telecommunications industry and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

Virtual PBX Offers New, Cutting-Edge VoIP Phones
November 6th, 2012

VirtualPBX is excited to introduce three new Panasonic models to our list of top-of-the-line VoIP Phone list. We have added the Panasonic UT 113 Desk Phone, the Panasonic UT 123 Desk Phone and the Panasonic TGP 550B Desk & Cordless Phone.

Panasonic, a global leader in business communications, has a long history of offering state-of-the-art advanced telephony products. Designed to complement your existing communication infrastructures, Panasonic phones are ideal for home office and business environments, providing outstanding voice quality and a wide range of productivity-boosting options all in feature-rich desk phone replacements. They provide functionality and flexibility for optimal business communications.

The UT 113 and UT 123 desk phones are great choices for almost any desktop, with large digital displays, high-quality speakerphones, hold and mute buttons, and more. The main difference between them is the added pass-through Ethernet port on the UT 123 that lets you “daisy-chain” to another Ethernet device. Ethernet connects a VoIP phone to the Internet, and some offices have only one Ethernet port. Using the UT 123, you can plug the phone into the Ethernet port on the wall and then plug your computer into the phone, so you don’t have to run another Ethernet line into your office.

Of special interest is the TGP 550B Desk & Cordless Phone. This set includes a desk phone that you can place where you work the most and a roaming, cordless handset that you can take with you as you move about your office. Both include the great features you expect, like speakerphones and backlit digital displays.

For more details, look at the VoIP Phone list on our website or call us at 888-825-0800, option 1. All of these phones are available for purchase now.

Panasonic SIP phones are a proven, cost-effective endpoint solution for any size business utilizing the latest in Hosted and Open Source PBX technology. Put your business on the cutting edge of communications, with a system that delivers value now… and flexibility for the future.