What are the recommended Network requirements for an optimal Hosted PBX experience?

The following is a guideline for a solid LAN structure which will ensure a successful Hosted PBX Implementation and ongoing service.  Users should have adequately engineered their LAN to support Voice over IP.

This includes (but not limited to): 

– CAT6 Ethernet Cabling supporting 10/100/1000 Mbps. CAT5 can be supported in some cases
– Power over Ethernet switches (PoE) unless they specifically require power adapters for handsets
– Voice-enabled switches/routers supporting the management of separate VLANs
– Separate VLANs configured for Voice and Data
– QoS Traffic class for VoIP (Signalling & RTP) and packets marked accordingly (EF traffic & media)
– IP Phones configured with the Voice VLAN ID

Customer LAN must meet the following minimum QoS parameters: 

– Jitter < 30ms
– Round-trip latency < 200ms
– Packet loss <1%

Can I keep my existing telephone number?

The answer to that question largely depends on who that number belongs to.

If this is a Geographical number (011, 010, etc.) you may Port this number to a new provider. Non-Geographic numbers (087, 086, etc.) cannot be ported at this time, however, your provider may have a way to ensure that you can switch onto their service and retain the use of that number. Enquire with your Service provider or contact us for confirmation.

To read about Geographic Number Portability click here.

Do I need to be Technical in natured to set up this solution?

Not at all.

Most providers will pre-configure the solution so that when you receive the package; all that is required is for everything to be plugged into your Broadband connection.

What happens if my connection goes down?

If your lines go down or you lose power you may not be able to connect to your Telephone service however as this is Hosted, you may have the ability to send your calls somewhere else which could be another branch or even your mobile phone.

There are alternatives to ensure that you have a fail-over platform. This includes a UPS for power, a redundant line should the primary line fail, etc.

Chat to your Service Provider or Contact Us for the available options.

Should I use a separate Internet connection for VoIP?

This may depend on the type of connection you are using.

In the case of Wireless, the provider can segregate the traffic and create a virtual connection for voice, and another for data which can be managed separately and with Quality of Service (QoS) applied to ensure optimal voice quality.

What types of phones can I use with a Hosted PBX service?

Users have the option to use any type of device that is supported by the Hosted PBX provider. This could be a Softphone or a Desktop IP phone.

A softphone is the general term used to describe a VoIP phone connection where software is installed, is used to create a phone connection on a computer. The PC device acts as the phone with a virtual phone displayed on the screen. A headset is needed for good conversations, one with both a microphone and head speakers.

A VoIP hardware phone is a replacement for your current office or home fixed-line phone. They come in all shapes and sizes with different features and pricing. Hardware phones improve the experience of using VoIP as you do not need your PC to use it. The handsets can be placed anywhere in your office or home and used as a complete replacement for your current fixed-line solution.

Can I keep my existing SIP phones?

While any SIP-compliant phones will work with Hosted PBX services, there may be recommended hardware as specified by your Provider.

If you already have SIP telephones that you would like to use with another service provider you should confirm compatibility before you implement the solution.

Why is having the proper bandwidth so crucial for voice services?

High latency or packet loss can cause choppy calls and minimized voice quality.

High latency is when it takes too long for the data to be transmitted over the Internet connection; packet loss is when information is lost over the Internet connection. These symptoms are often caused by broadband problems, Internet congestion or heavy bandwidth usages, such as online gaming or file sharing. Increasing your bandwidth can usually fix related issues.

Check the health of your network connection with a broadband speed test.

What hardware do I need onsite for a Hosted PBX solution?

Usually, the provider only delivers the actual IP handset as the phone system is hosted at one of their data centres.

In a greenfield environment, the Provider would implement the Connectivity solution, connecting to a network switch which is the central hub for all devices on your network.

How much bandwidth will I need to run a Hosted PBX?

Generally, a Hosted PBX VoIP call will use 90 kilobits per second (kbps) of bandwidth for the duration of the call. If you were to add Hosted PBX for five users, and everyone was on the phone at the same time, it would require 450 kbps of bandwidth during the calls. (For reference: 1,024 kilobits is equal to 1 megabit.)

Your exact needs will depend on the call volume and call patterns at your company as well the type of IP phones you are using.

You can use your existing Internet connection for Hosted PBX as long as the connection is stable and you feel you have adequate upstream and downstream bandwidth for the number of users you are adding.