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VoIP Phones

Buying Guide

What do you need to consider before buying a VoIP phone

for your business?

> Benefits of VoIP    > Key Features    > How to transition

What is VoIP?

VOIP technology allows high quality, affordable phone connections via the internet, perfect as a cost effective and scalable business solution.

As the NBN rolls out across Australia and land lines are disconnected, more and more businesses are moving to VOIP technology. Most larger organisation that have a phone system with voice recordings and phone menu options will already be using a VOIP service.

PABX, PBX, Commander, Key, VoIP or Converged Systems are most of the different types of phone systems used by businesses today. Each system operates differently and provides various features and technologies but all share the common trait that they are designed to support businesses telephony infrastructure in the following ways:

  • Manage inbound and outbound calls through a phone service provider such as TPG, iiNet, Telstra.
  • Manage internal calls, communications and transfers as informatively and efficiently as possible.

Can using VoIP save money?

A well planned and configured VoIP phone system can simplify business communications in addition to saving money in a number of different ways.

  • Calls within the company VoIP system are free of charge. Interstate, international and home offices are included if calls are through the company network.
  • VoIP systems can be scaled to meet business requirements resulting in lower ongoing telephony costs and ongoing savings from an improved and centrally manageable telephony infrastructure. Network administrators, maintain a single network infrastructure allowing for better efficiency and productivity. Centralised management allows the move, add and change process of hardware within the network to be simplified and streamlined through a remote web interface. Changes can be made quickly and simply without the assistance of on-site technicians and hardware vendor involvement.
  • Multiple office locations and staff can share company resources such as a single receptionist and automated phone services such as an auto-attendant and voice mail service.
  • When remote staff connect to the business networks using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) they can utilize the business VOIP network rather than being reimbursed for their own higher costs. This can be useful when staff are travelling internationally, they can make calls using a laptop by connecting to the business network via a VPN and using a softphone, which is an application installed on the laptop that acts like a software phone.

Featured VoIP Phone

Key Features of VoIP Phones

For small and medium businesses there are a number of features that are important to consider.

  • VoIP systems allow interactive menu’s and services to be implemented to assist callers to get to the right person or department simply and effectively.
  • On hold content can be a mix of music, business information and advertising. Inform clients and customers of important changes to your business, sell products and services or just set the mood with some choice tunes. Time on hold can be a tool to enhance your business, not just pass time.
  • Call recordings to capture the caller experience for the standard reason of training, sales and general business analysis.
  • Call queuing, prioritisation and other call directing rules are available, whilst generally used in call centres, any team of any size can benefit from a well configured call system.
  • Correctly configured and assigned phone extensions and a well maintained dialling directory for ease of communication.
  • A very handy feature is voice-to-email transcription which helps manage busy environments and ensure communications are received and directed to the relevant party.

One of the most significant differences between a VOIP service list a cloud hosted PBX and a traditional phone system is the software services that are available. Administrators will have a host of software tools at their disposal to help develop a customised business communication solution that will boost internal and external communication processes and boost productivity. Two key points of interest that stakeholders tend to notice are the ability to integrate phone systems with other software such as CRM tools to further customise the overall solution to meet business requirements and softphones, which are software based phones used in situations where a traditional VOIP desk phone may not suit such as mobile or temporary staff.

The use of integrated applications like CRM and analysis tools allow data to be collected and analysed to better understand how sections of the business are operating and give greater visibility to internal and external communications. Mobile phones, laptops, tablets, wireless phones conference phones and conference rooms are all able to be integrated into a single network with a single phone system. Data analysis can assist in measuring customer satisfaction, peak calling times, call durations and call locations. You can also implement automated service systems to give information and answer enquiries.

What is the NBN?

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is a new, high speed internet infrastructure in Australia.

NBN isn’t a single technology, it’s a range of different technologies that connect together. Depending on your location, existing infrastructure and rollout schedule, your location will be connected to the NBN via one of a number of different connection options.

The goal of the Australian Government is that a high percentage of Australia will be connected to the NBN with a minimum connection speed of 25MB per second. 

How do I get NBN?

Your existing Internet Service Provider (ISP) will organise your NBN connection when it is available in your area. You can also select from a large number of ISP’s to pick the best package for you.

You won’t be able to select the type of NBN connection to your location but if you plan on purchasing a new router, the connection type you have is extremely important

Do I need to buy an NBN router?

Your existing Internet Service Provider (ISP) will organise your NBN connection when it is available in your area. You can also select from a large number of ISP’s to pick the best package for you. You won’t be able to select the type of NBN connection to your location but if you plan on purchasing a new router, the connection type you have is extremely important

How does this NBN guide work?

We aim to provide you with information on the different types of NBN connection and then make recommendations on popular routers for each type of connection.

Fibre to the Node (FTTN)

Using this connection type, the fibre optic cable runs to your street node, before switching to the 
existing underground copper to cover the remaining distance to your premises. This wiring is the same kind of cabling used for landline and ADSL services prior to the NBN.

Although it uses the same cables and wall sockets as ADSL, FTTN uses VDSL technology which is much faster. The use of FTTN nodes means less copper than ADSL, which links a premise to an ISP exchange building.

While your internet speeds on NBN are based on what plan you decide to choose from your service provider, the maximum theoretical speed is actually determined by how close your premises is to the node, the closer you are, the closer to maximum speeds you will get from your NBN plan. It should be noted that the quality of the copper line in your area/street can also have an impact on performance.

Close to 50% of Australian households will be connected to the NBN via FTTN. If you connect to the internet through ADSL, then it is highly likely that you will have FTTN connection to the NBN when your property makes the move.

Fibre to the Building (FTTB)

Also commonly referred to as ‘Fibre to the Basement’, FTTB is almost identical to FTTN, however instead of installing a node on your street, it's built in the basement or communications cupboard of the property. Customers who will be accessing NBN through FTTB connection will be required to either purchase their own VDSL2 modem or will need to use one supplied by their service provider.

Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC)

HFC is more commonly known as cable internet and uses fibre optic cable to fit most of the line to your house, with coaxial cabling finishing the remainder of the journey. Coaxial cabling is generally used to deliver paid TV services such as Foxtel.

This differs from other NBN connection types as the coaxial cabling is a shielded copper technology. Due to this type of technology, data can be transferred at a faster rate over a greater distance without signal degradation. HFC is also compatible with new technologies that have the potential to offer gigabit speeds.

Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)

FTTP is the fastest NBN connection technology as it takes fibre cabling all the way to your premises without the need for copper. Essentially considered the top standard of NBN connection, the fibre can come through via the overhead lines or being laid in the ground. FTTP connections have a much higher reliability of meeting your advertised speeds and is not affected by the distance between your home and the local fibre access node.

FTTP connections are also already capable of much faster internet speeds than what is currently offered by Australian ISP’s. Eventually, customers will be able to get speeds as fast as 1Gbps which is 10 times the speed of the fastest plan offered by most providers. Unfortunately, the only negative of this connection is that is will only be available to 17%-21% of properties that will be connected to NBN.

Fixed Wireless and Satellite

Rather than connecting to homes via wiring underground, this connection runs fibre optic cable to a transmission tower. The signal is then transmitted to a fixed antenna fitted on the customers roof. This connection is type is less common and is only planned to be used for 5% of properties, primarily for rural and regional residences.  

NBN Co's satellite service, Sky Muster, uses two satellites to deliver Internet service to homes and businesses located in remote or rural areas where premises are spread over many square kilometres geographically. This technology is also reserved for when sightlines for fixed wireless signals are blocked by obstructions such as trees or hills.

This technology is the slowest the NBN will offer, as the distance required to cover from the satellite is large, however as far as satellite broadband is concerned it is one of the best in the world.

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