VoIP stands for Voice over IP (Internet Protocol). Essentially it is the process of taking sound and turning it into a media stream of digital data that can be sent over the internet to another location. Skype works in a similar manner and so does streaming music! VoIP obviously adds more into the mix though by way of ensuring the media gets to the correct destination, usually someone’s phone!
The traditional PBX
A PBX is a private phone system within an office, the system sits in a corner and all the internal phones connect to it which in turn is connected to the public telephone system. When a call is made the system knows what to do with it and where to send it. Other features such as voicemail and call forwarding are all part of the system. The PBX is essentially a small computer with software on it that understands and knows what to do with the calls, where to send them etc…
Hosted and the “Cloud”
Hosted simply means that it is somewhere else and someone else is taking care of it for you. For example Web hosting is a company “hosting” your website on their network for you, their network being part of the “cloud”, somewhere which is accessible from anywhere that has access to the internet. Hosted PBX, Hosted VoIP and Hosted PBX etc… Pulling all of the above together is what the new VoIP channel is all about. We have servers that holds multiple copies of PBX software, and we make use of the VoIP protocol to connect the phones to that system over your internet connection. This server is then connected to BT and Mobile providers, so we can get the media stream (or call) to where it needs to be.
There is often talk about bandwidth or whether someone’s internet connection is good enough. As we all know, internet connections are always sold at x speed. For instance, the new Super Fast Broad Band plan offer is 80Mb. Bandwidth in basic terms is how much data an internet connection can handle at any moment in time. VoIP uses a certain amount of this bandwidth to send and receive the voice media stream, as a result it will be continually fighting for its share of what is available. Due to its “real-time” nature - i.e. you don’t want any delay in the conversation if it can’t get its fair share because someone is downloading a big email, the call may start to break up - the speed of your internet connection is critical to the service operating as it should. It will depend on your network, but most often we do recommend a separate internet connection for the VoIP service to use to avoid this, and ensure that you get the experience from the service you would expect. It doesn't matter how good the VoIP platform is there has to be the underlying support to ensure you receive an exceptional service, but don’t worry we can help with all of that.
Peace of Mind
The VoIP platform is plan.coms own in house system, used everyday business across our group (Bramden group) we have law firms using it, as you can imagine communication in that industry is paramount.
The VoIP system is always on line, if we are to carry out any service disrupting work we’ll let everyone know and will aim to carry out work ‘overnight’ but with plenty of notice for customers to advise us they will need their system.
The main cause of VoIP outage is broadband. If a broadband connection goes down, it could be caused by numerous 3rd party issues, such as damaged or even stolen copper cable. When all goes down we can set up diverts to mobiles or other landlines to ensure you can carry on working.
We have numerous data centres in multiple locations & if one goes down we can transfer all traffic elsewhere in a blink of an eye. However, our three main centres are based at Manchester, Isle of Man and Southampton with more being added all the time for backups.