Phone system experts.

Discussion in 'Yellow Pages' started by hornmeister, Dec 19, 2018.

  1. hornmeister

    hornmeister Administrator Staff Member

    I'm looking at a replacing an ISDN30 phone system. Our current supplier has let us down and the PBX equipment has gone belly up.
    We have a need for 5 desk based handsets. There are 2 different land-line telephone numbers routing to to the company plus an extra analogue line for our alarm system. This we can't change. Ideally I'd like to dump our current providers and get everything under one contract including the ADSL broadband we have on a dedicated telephone line. Phone usage is light at 90% UK & UK mobile based.

    Now here is the main issue. Our broadband is dreadful. 6mb/s at best and is unreliable. For this reason most small business systems are out as they use VOIP technology on an internet line. Anything that sucks bandwidth away from our internet access is automatically out.

    I've had a look at the BT One phone system which looks interesting. My understanding is it basically joins up mobile phones over a the EE 4G network. It allows you, via internet, to configure which phone rings at what time, voicemail & messaging etc. What's termed a cloud based phone system. The bonus being it's independent of office location.

    The issue is BT have been a bit evasive with us in the past and haven't been so transparent in pricing a quote up. Does anyone have any experience, recommendations of alternatives? I've tried the usual suspects, Vodafone, Three, O2 etc. but most seem to be ip / voip based.

    Any help & suggestsions much appreciated.
  2. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    I have just the thing:

  3. Arakel

    Arakel First Team

    Literally every single place I've worked at since 2007 has used VOIP. Honestly, that's the way the industry is going and will continue to go for the forseeable future.

    My advice would be to take a good look at how to get yourselves there so you don't find yourself looking for another solution in a few years time.

    I'm not up with the state of UK business broadband, but only 6mbps down for a business seems shocking to me. My push would be to upgrade your internet to a more business appropriate level (no idea how big your place is so can't comment on that, but my employer uses two 100 meg pipes aggregated together for bandwidth and HA purposes, ~500 employees) and get a solid VOIP solution. If you're a small company and hosting your own VOIP on premises makes no sense, there are some fairly reasonable hosted solutions available now. You should bear in mind that remote VOIP solutions add latency. I'm not a fan of this and prefer on-premises VOIP solutions in order to mitigate latency (that was what we recommended when recently proposing a new phone solution).

    If increasing your internet bandwidth is absolutely not an option then you can certainly use a forwarding service to transfer/forward calls from a landline number to a cellular service, but that method is generally used as a failsafe system in many places and not as primary telephony. For example, if we ever have a disaster recovery scenario at work and lose our entire site, we have the ability to divert calls made to a land line number to a particular mobile number temporarily. This would allow us to retain calls into executive/director level types while the service is offline.

    You could certainly do something similar as your day-to-day solution, but I wouldn't say it's an optimal solution by any means. Can't help with UK vendors, I'm afraid.
  4. VOIP is definitely the way fwd. I can even get an expert who sells these services to businesses to give you a buzz for a chat if you like ? They might be able to help re the braodband too if you wanted. A company I used to work for.
    hornmeister likes this.
  5. hornmeister

    hornmeister Administrator Staff Member

    I appreciate the advice however VOIP (cabled) is unfortunately not an option. It's the infrastructure that restricts us. the office is at the end of a 100m private road which we don't own. The local exchange cabinet is in shockingly poor condition. Generally if anytihng is changed it knocks out other srvices so we really need to free ourselves from it. The area isn't cabled so fibre is out from Openreach, the national provider and the only other fibre provider about Virgin have no plans to add it in the foreseeable future. We've maxed out the bandwidth on our physical data connections and don't want to spend money on repairing/replacing ISDN technology as the system is scheduled for turn off in the next few years.

    Parts of the UK just don't have the ability to get decent quality VOIP (cabled) and to be honest it's old hat now anyway. We get faster internet on 4G mobile and 5G is on the way. Having a cloud based system on a mobile network means it's location independent and therefore already set-up for disaster recovery. Given we have relatively low throughput of calls it makes sense.

    If starting from scratch we'd just have a couple of mobiles, but unfortunately we have legacy phone numbers we need to retain.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  6. Diamond

    Diamond Squad Player

    Is moving office an option? Sounds like you're in the dark ages.
  7. hornmeister

    hornmeister Administrator Staff Member

    Nope we own the building. You wouldn't think we were within 16 miles of the 2nd busiest financial centre in the world.

    I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that I need to quit. That way I won't need to worry about a bloody phone system.

    Most VOIP systems ask for 5mbs/2Mbs Our current bandwidth as tested today is 6.21/0.94 so upload is too slow anyway and download would kill internet speed when a call/calls are in progress.

    Virgin - no plans to cable the area and no unified wifi 4g systems anyway.
    02 has mulitple broken links on their www site and to be honest I've got fed up with it.
    Three has poor 4g coverage in the office and the bosses are looking to move their mobile contracts away.
    Vodafone won't deal with us down to location, even on a normal landline. They will offer wifi 4g dongles but don;t seem to have a unified cloud based telephone system.
    EE is partnered with BT for the One system I'm currently favouring.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  8. Hornet4ever

    Hornet4ever WFC Forums Last Man Standing Winner 2018/2019

    Done this recently with our office. Speak to a company called Gamma. With VoIP you only need to focus on the upload speed. Download speed does not come into the equation at all.

    1 single VoIP call uses around 100k bandwidth so with 0.94 you should be ok for 5 users & guess it's unlikely all 5 users will be on a call at the same time?

    With Gamma they will supply you with a secondary ADSL line (via BT) which is used solely for their IP voice network & this means they guarantee the bandwidth with SLA etc. Expect to pay in the region of £10-£15 per month per user with free handset & this also includes bundle of free landline & mobile minutes too.
    hornmeister likes this.
  9. hornmeister

    hornmeister Administrator Staff Member

    Cheers will look at them in the new year. The main issue is we can't have any more physical lines, which is why the 4G BT system spiked my interest.
  10. Hornet4ever

    Hornet4ever WFC Forums Last Man Standing Winner 2018/2019

    You mentioned you have an alarm line, no problem to put an ADSL on that line for the voice calls. Just use any basic micro filter.

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