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Archives: November 2011

You Can Rely on VoIP
November 2nd, 2011

As VoIP is such a new technology, you may wonder how reliable it is. Communication is key to any business, so it must be reliable.  Most companies rely on multiple forms of communication, including telephones, email, web services, and more.  Of all these communication types, phone calls demand the highest level of instant interaction, and any delay or trouble with a phone call is noticed more quickly.  So call quality and reliability of your phone service are critical.  A major interruption in service can greatly impact a company’s performance and have far-reaching consequences and even poor call quality reflects negatively on your business. Inconsistent or unreliable phone service is simply unacceptable. So, if you are considering switching from a traditional phone service to a VoIP phone service, you may wonder if VoIP is something you can rely on.

Simply put, today, VoIP can be extremely reliable. VoIP has been around long enough for all the big issues to be worked out. With a good VoIP provider and solid internet service, problems such as latency, jitter, static, and dropped calls have been eliminated. Interestingly, the reasons some people worry about using VoIP – sound quality, dropped calls, intermittent loss of service – are the same concerns that afflicted the original PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) phone system. PSTN quality has continued to improve over its many years of use, and old-style analog phone systems using copper wires for connection have become the standard for call quality.  VoIP is still undergoing important changes, but by selecting the right VoIP provider, you can already get quality and reliability that rivals analog connectivity.   VoIP communication services are progressing and evolving faster than ever and the issues associated with VoIP are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

In fact, now VoIP telephone service can be even more reliable than traditional telephone service and provide better features at a lower price. VoIP telephones will often work in situations when traditional telephone services won’t.  Suppose, for example, that you need to work from both home and office.  With VoIP, you can have service anywhere you have an internet connection. So even if you loose internet connection in your home or office, you can make and receive phone calls from any internet connection anywhere, whether you take calls on your desktop VoIP phone or a softphone on your computer or smart phone.  And the internet itself  is very reliable. It has built in redundancy, routing packets around any failing links.  The biggest reliability issue will be with your own Internet Service Provider (ISP), so you’ll want to select a provider that has a solid reputation for reliability.  To check your current service, you can run our VoIP Test and see the bandwidth, jitter, latency, and packet loss associated with your current connection..

In addition, the sound quality of a VoIP call can be as good if not better than a call made through traditional landline services.  This is because with VoIP, your voice breaks down to a digital form, which can be exactly reproduced at the other end of the call, unlike with landlines which can inject noise or lose strength over distance.

The real question in VoIP reliability may be in your choice of VoIP provider.  You’ll want to choose a company with a strong reputation for reliability, and know what they do to make sure your phone system stays up and running, all the time. VirtualPBX has taken all the precautions to ensure you will have the most reliable VoIP service available.  Our service runs in a secure, hardened data facility that is part of our national infrastructure.  It has many sources of power, carriers, and lines, including primaries and multiple backups in each area.  In addition, we’ve built the whole system with reliability in mind.  Every component has multiple backups and redundancy.  So if a component fails, your calls are not affected.  In most cases, over half of our equipment could fail and you’d still get your calls.  This is one of the reasons Virtual PBX is so well known for its reliability and quality.  For more information, check out the Quality and Reliability page of our website at http://www.virtualpbx.com/learn-more/quality-reliability/.

What Exactly is a Softphone?
October 27th, 2011

I am sure you have heard the term softphone recently with the huge growth of everything VoIP, but do you really know what one is? Common sense will tell you that it is a phone but what kind of phone and how could it affect your business?

Basically, a softphone is a phone that lets you make calls over the internet from a computer or other smart device. As the name would imply, it is a piece of software that acts as a phone interface, allowing you to dial phone numbers and carry out other phone related functions via a screen (PDA or Computer) using your mouse, keypad or keyboard. Conversations usually take place through a headset or a microphone and computer speakers.

The softphone software or application can be downloaded from a variety of providers such as Counterpath or SNOM. These are sometimes also referred to as ‘clients’. Many of these applications are free although some have a modest cost. Softphone clients are available for Macintosh, Windows and Linux computers, and many smartphones, such Androids and iPhones.

In most cases you will find a softphone used in conjunction with VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol. This form of computer telephony uses an internet connection to deliver voice information over the internet. For more information regarding VoIP, please check out this blog. VoIP calls can go over a standard internet connection on your local network, wireless networking (WIFI) or even a cellular data network, such as 3G or 4G.

So, we have a softphone client and an internet connection. There is one more component needed to use a softphone and that is a provider. Although anyone can download and use the free softphone software, a VoIP service provider must provide the underlying VoIP phone service over which the calls are carried.  A softphone is registered with the service provider, and often a phone number is assigned.  Calls to and from the softphone are routed over the service provider’s network. The features and functionality of each softphone will vary somewhat from one softphone provider to another.

So who can benefit from using a softphone? Telecommuters and anyone who travels frequently for starters. For users on the go, especially those who travel overseas, softphone service allows them to conveniently make calls from their smartphones and laptops, saving them the hassle and expense of using a hotel phone or roaming on a cell phone. Also, softphones are well suited for small and medium size businesses that save money by cutting their ties with expensive traditional phone companies. Furthermore, softphones do not require expensive hardware which needs to be maintained. Softphones are inexpensive and easy to upgrade.

Thinking about trying out a softphone yet? If so, Virtual PBX would be happy to help you set up you softphone to best fit your needs. Every Virtual PBX system includes VoIP Anywhere technology, which can turn your cellular phone or computer into a Virtual PBX VoIP phone. With VoIP Anywhere and our award-winning open-systems approach, you can use any standard SIP softphone, from almost any vendor, to make and receive calls over your data connection. We’ve reduced the bandwidth requirement so that high quality calls can be made over 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi connections. You simply register your softphone as a VoIP device in our service, and open the softphone application to make calls.

Benefits of a Virtual PBX Softphone

Tons of Included Features

All standard Virtual PBX features that are available to a VoIP extension are available to all calls to and from a softphone, like call recording, or choosing your caller ID. And softphone calls are included in your Virtual PBX business reports so you’ll always have records of every call. You can make outbound calls from your cellular phone without giving up your personal phone number. And call-backs go to your company number, not to your personal phone. You protect yourself while looking more professional.

Little to No Cost

Our flat-rate plans include the ability to add softphones at no charge. And any extension in a usage-based plan can be enabled to use VoIP, for both VoIP phones and softphones, for just $5 per month per extension. Minutes used on a soft phone are part of your plan. Flat-rate plans have no per-minute fees for calls to a softphone or to a destination in the continental U.S. or Canada (within our fair-use policy), and calls through usage-based plans simply use plan minutes.

Getting Started

To put a softphone on your Virtual PBX account, you should first download a softphone from a good provider. Then, you add the softphone to your account starting from the VoIP Phones page of our vConsole web portal. For more information visit our VoIP support pages.

Virtual Pbx Introduces Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere for iPhones, Android Phones and Computers
September 21st, 2011

VoIP Anywhere streamlines VoIP bandwidth requirements to allow VoIP calls over Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G connections

In modern day business, the ability for workers to stay connected wherever they are is invaluable. Traveling to international destinations, working in between their homes and their offices, people are constantly on the move and having a phone service that can keep up with them is crucial.

Although cell phones are great for taking important calls when away from the office, the costs of calling are high, especially when it comes to roaming charges. Furthermore, dialing out from a mobile phone shows the user’s personal caller ID, not the company’s phone number.

VirtualPBX now offers a cost effective way to stay in contact with anyone, anywhere with its newest enhancement to Virtual BX Complete – VoIP Anywhere. Customers can now use their smartphones and computers as VoIP handsets with complete business phone system capabilities. This is drastically cheaper than cellular roaming, long distance charges, and hotel room rates. VoIP Anywhere is very inexpensive, flexible, and functional, offering advanced functionality at a fraction of the price. With VoIP Anywhere, your smartphone becomes your office extension, receiving calls just like you were at a hardware VoIP phone, as well as displaying your company’s caller ID information when you make outbound calls. In addition, Virtual PBX announced support for HD Voice for HD-capable devices.

“Our launch of VirtualPBX Complete has generated tremendous demand from our customers. As they embrace our system, they are increasingly seeking the freedom to access their VoIP business features on any device, wherever they are,” said Greg Brashier, COO of Virtual PBX. “By introducing Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere, we are delivering that freedom and flexibility to carry their business extension anywhere in the world.”

Because of Virtual PBX’s commitment to open systems, users can avoid the high costs of proprietary software and choose the option that best fits their needs. With VoIP Anywhere, turning your computer or smartphone into a VoIP Extension is easy. Just register any softphone, such as those available for Android phones, iPhones and computers, as a VoIP device in the Virtual PBX service to access VoIP Anywhere capabilities. Once registered, simply open the softphone application to make calls and access all of VirtualPBX’s system features, such as business caller ID for outbound calls, call recording, call transfers, presence management and reporting. By reducing bandwidth requirements for VoIP calls, Virtual PBX allows high-quality calls to be placed over 3G, 4G and WiFi connections.

New System Features

  • Calls from ANY device: With Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere, turning your smartphone or computer into a full-featured VoIP phone is simple. Using any standard softphone and a minimum of a 3G connection, any device can be accessed through your existing Virtual PBX number.
  • U.S dial tone: VoIP Anywhere provides a U.S. dial tone while avoiding high international dialing rates. Dialing a U.S. number from an international location can even be free with Virtual PBX’s flat-rate packages.
  • HD voice: The new VoIP Anywhere system negotiates HD voice on any HD device. If the device you are using supports HD, then the call can automatically be connected with HD quality.
  • Business caller ID: Calls made from a VirtualPBX extension can send the company’s phone number for caller ID. With VoIP Anywhere, mobile users no longer need to worry about giving out their personal cellular numbers while making business calls, and contacts know how to get back in touch with the company, not just the individual.

For more information regarding VoIP Anywhere, please visit http://virtualpbx.com/products/voip-phone/softphones/