What is VoIP?
When you say VoIP, most people associate it with what we call ‘Hosted IP’ which means that it is provided by a VoIP carrier much like your traditional phone service, Internet access and long distance. The VoIP carrier provides their service over an Internet access line (DSL, T-1, or other high-speed solution) that they provide, or in some cases, they allow you to provide your own access. In many cases, the VoIP carrier also provides you the VoIP phones by either selling or leasing them to you. Phone calls are made through the Internet by connecting your new VoIP phones to their hosted service.
Why do I want VoIP?
The most common answer is that people want to save money. In many cases, VoIP can save you money, or at least be similar in cost to what you pay today, but give you many more features and all new phone equipment. Some other reasons why people want VoIP:
- You have multiple offices that you want to work as ‘1’ phone system
- You have people who want to use their phones in a remote office, or when they travel
- A Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) requires you to have voice backup in case you go down
- You have a small office, but want Direct Lines (DID) to each phone
- You want to easily manage your own phones via an easy-to-use Web interface
- You want to save money by easily moving phones, changing features, managing phones
Is VoIP reliable?
VoIP is 100% reliable when designed correctly. That’s why quality VoIP carriers suggest or require that you use a ‘voice-optimized’ access pipe from them in which case they will guaranty quality of service. They realize this is not always possible (you may be tied into a long-term commitment with your current Internet provider), so many have a provision which allows you to waive the service guaranty so you can us your existing Internet provider. Some common complaints you may have heard about VoIP are:
- “The quality is awful” – This is true if you use a VoIP carrier who is not reputable or does not guaranty quality. ComRes offers service through reputable providers who will provide you excellent service.
- “It doesn’t work and/or my people do not understand how to install or use it” – We offer professional installation and training pretty much anywhere in the U.S. This is a ‘commercial-grade’ solution, not a consumer-grade product that many people may be familiar with that is provided by a company we all know the name of. In almost every meeting, we hear somebody say “I want VoIP service like I have from ________, I just want it to work!”.
- “It’s too much money, or I have to put too much money down” – ComRes offers options that not only make VoIP attractive, but may even eliminate the need for paying money up front for equipment or installation.
- Will my 911 service still work? – Most providers now provide you with access to 911 emergency services, with some limitations. For example, technology now allows you to take your IP phone anywhere in the world to work behind high-speed Internet, in which case, calls to 911 will not display the correct physical address you are calling from. Most VoIP carries have a policy regarding 911 calling that you should read fully if you have questions about this important feature.
How does it all work?
ComRes provides VoIP service from several carriers. One of the primary providers is Broadsmart. Based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, they offer nationwide service and support. Broadsmart offers a variety of plans using the highly popular Cisco IP phones. All Internet access is ‘voice-optimized’ for the highest quality available. With VoIP, you need:
Internet Access – Broadsmart offers DSL and T-1 Internet access (they have higher-speed offerings if you need them). With your address and phone number, we can qualify your location to determine what type of service is available.
Phones – Broadsmart offers several common phone models:
- Cisco 7960G – A 6-line phone with all LCD display, speakerphone and several hard-codes buttons for easy access to voice mail and other applications/features.
- Cisco 7940G – A 2-line phone with all LCD display, speakerphone and several hard-codes buttons for easy access to voice mail and other applications/features.
- Cisco WIP 300 Wireless – This is a wireless phone for use with your in-building wireless network
- Soft Phone – for people who either want a phone on their computer, or want to use a computer phone to control their desk phone.
Plans – Each phone requires a ‘Plan’. The plan is what makes the phone work and provides basic features. It also includes a package of local and long distance minutes. There are 3 plans offered which are summarized below:
SmartFlex User Level Options
||– We recommend that you keep fax lines or alarm lines on standard analog lines. In some parts of the country, we can provide this line for on the same bill. You may wish to keep your existing fax/alarm lines for backup or in areas where we cannot serve you.
||– Voice mail is provided via licensing, we simply need to know how many you need and what type. Automated Attendant is also a license. This feature allows you to answer all calls with a general greeting, using prompts for callers to reach the desired extension or department.
I’m interested in VoIP, how much does it cost?
We thought you’d never ask! Simply answer the questions on the following form and we will email you a budgetary quote for our service. Please note that this is budgetary only, and some factors do affect the final price or quote:
- Cabling – VoIP phones required Category 5E or better voice/data cabling. In some cases we can share your existing data cabling, but we must survey the site or talk further to determine this.
- Rates subject to credit approval – You must have sufficient credit to be approved by the VoIP carrier and for any lease/rental of equipment.
- DSL/T-1 availability – We must qualify your location to determine if we can provide either type of common voice-optimized Internet access there.
- Other applications – there are applications you may need that require other solutions or features.