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How to Set Up a Global Phone System?

Did you know that 64% of customers have switched to another company after a bad experience? This shows how important it is to make customers happy.

For global businesses, maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction is even more critical. And when your customers are spread across different time zones and regions, a robust communication infrastructure is essential for building trust and loyalty. And all this depends on having a reliable global phone system.

Let’s look at:

How Can Your Business Benefit from a Global Phone System?

In a nutshell, global telephony providers facilitate communication over the internet using VoIP technology. They offer a range of cloud-based services from virtual numbers to softphones and web dialers, that you need to establish a global phone system. Let’s look at the top benefits of using global telephony services:

1. Establish a Global Presence and Wide Network

Virtual numbers have brought the world closer. You can operate your business across borders without a physical presence. Simply purchase a phone number for your target region and then place calls virtually.

For hard-to-reach regions, United World Telecom offers Toll-Free FlexDial, a solution that makes your business accessible even in countries where toll-free numbers are hard to purchase.

Also, expanding to new markets is easier with virtual local phone numbers. This is because it showcases a localized approach, which is important for gaining trust and building credibility among locals. Paired with outbound calling, these numbers let you display a local number as the outgoing caller ID. This can improve the chances of customer engagement, as they perceive calls to be from a familiar source.

2. Offer 24/7 Global Customer Support

Providing round-the-clock customer support is a must for businesses with customers worldwide. To that effect, call management features like call forwarding, time of day routing, and follow the sun support strategies can help you stay available for all customers anytime and anywhere.

For instance, say a customer from Japan reaches out to inquire about a product at 2 AM Japan Standard Time. This would be outside your US business’ regular hours. With a feature like time of day routing, you can preset where calls are directed depending on the time of the day. This means that the call from Japan will automatically route to a support team in a closer time zone, such as Australia. In this manner, you can effectively provide all your global customers with timely assistance.

3. Work with Global Workforce

The internet and cloud telephony have made it possible for businesses to work with a global talent pool. Through features like conference and in-network calling, distributed teams can meet virtually, brainstorm ideas, and coordinate projects in real time.

Say the marketing team of a business in New York needs to discuss a new campaign with the design team in London and the production team in Tokyo. Using your business’s global phone system, they can initiate a conference call, allowing all team members to participate in real-time discussions. Global phone system typically comprises telephony features that facilitate communication across different regions.

4. Use Advanced Business Communication Features

Are you looking for new ways to stay ahead in a competitive market environment? Here’s what you can do.

From interactive voice response and call analytics to voicemail transcription and call recording, there’s a plethora of sophisticated global phone services available today. You can streamline communication, gain customer call insights, and more. Moreover, the option to integrate these features with business applications and platforms could further improve efficiency and workflow.

Take for instance the call masking feature. Besides offering privacy, it helps with building a brand and trust from local customers. How? By displaying specific local or a business phone number when making outgoing calls. So, if you work with a remote sales team, each salesperson can display the business caller ID when making calls. This helps in increasing response rates as they are more likely to answer calls from a known number.

Global telephony providers like United World Telecom offer a range of advanced business communication features with their virtual number plans. With these, you can review and handle calls more successfully.

What to Keep in Mind When Upgrading Your Business Phone System?

Here we’ll go over a couple of important pointers to consider when setting up a global phone system. To skip over, jump to the How to Set Up section.

When building a global phone system for your business, there are several key factors to keep in mind to ensure optimal use of resources and effectiveness. Here are some of the top considerations to take into account:

1. Business Needs

Before rounding up the global phone services for your phone system, consider your business needs carefully. Identify your communication challenges and coverage gaps. Find out how many phone lines you need and how many users (local, remote, and global) need to be connected.

As a global business, you have clients and staff across the world, so figure out if you need features for multi-language support. For instance, a voicemail translation feature makes communication easy by translating transcriptions, allowing your agents to assist customers from anywhere and in any language. Similarly, call routing strategies and rules can ensure your global and remote teams are comfortably connected to your phone network.

If this process seems daunting, you can always reach out to your service provider and get help in shortlisting your communication needs. United World Telecom has been helping global businesses upgrade their business phone systems since 1996. We can help you scale up with our top-rated services like call routing, call forwarding, voicemail transcription, and more.

See a global phone system in action.
2. Types of Global Phone Services Offered

There are several factors, such as budget, existing infrastructure, desired features, and specific communication needs, if any, that need to be considered before getting global phone services. For instance, both voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and unified communications as a service (aka UCaaS or UC) utilize the internet for communication. You’ll notice that they also offer similar benefits. However, UCaaS combines various communication technologies into a single platform, while VoIP mainly focuses on making calls over the internet.

Learn about their differences in our UCaaS vs VoIP guide or ask one of our cloud communication experts.

3. Global Coverage

This is the most basic telephony requirement for any global business. You need to peruse international coverage services that providers offer—such as toll-free or local virtual phone numbers. These features are necessary especially if your target markets include remote and hard-to-reach regions.

Check out our country coverage to see if we cover your target markets.

4. Tools and Tech Needed

Cloud communications, such as VoIP, session initiation protocol (SIP), and Unified Communications (UC), offer a wide array of features and functionality. Key tools that you will need to simplify and centralize global communication include international phone numbers, call routing, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), outbound calling, local caller IDs, call activity reports, and more. Assess these tools to determine which ones align with your business requirements.

5. Scalability of Features

A scalable system allows you to upgrade to accommodate the increased communication demands without disrupting service or requiring heavy investments. For example, if you initially start with a simple VoIP service, you can easily scale up by adding more phone lines, country phone numbers, or advanced features like call routing as your business expands. The idea is that your communication infrastructure should adapt to the business’s growing needs without breaking the bank.

6. Integrations

When thinking about global phone services, it is important to look at how well they integrate with your existing tools and system. VoIP integrations, for instance, help you multitask efficiently.

Let’s understand this with an example. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are normally used to manage data, track interactions, etc. But this has to be done manually. VoIP integrations enable automatic tracking of customer interactions, access to customer information during calls, and so on. So when a customer calls a support line, the VoIP CRM integrated system displays the customer’s order history and previous inquiries when the call comes in. Plus, with click-to-call functionality, teams can quickly call from within their preferred business applications.

United World Telecom offers multiple CRM and help desk integrations to help you centralize business communications.

7. Operations

Decide how you want to organize your global communication setup. You can send all the send all global calls to one main office for easier and centralized control. On the other hand, you can give distributed teams in different regions their own numbers to offer tailored support in their regions. Align your operations model with your business goals and customer service strategy.

8. The Ideal Telephony Partner

When selecting a global telephony provider, prioritize factors like reliability, uptime, responsive customer support, customization options, etc. Also consider the provider’s track record, reputation, and ability to deliver tailored solutions that meet your specific requirements.

Next, research different providers to ensure they offer services for your target countries and regions, competitively priced plans, secure communication systems, integrations, licensed carrier status, and highly available networks with multiple connections. Consider factors such as pricing, activation times, available features, network reliability, and customer support.

Pay attention to other customer testimonials to gauge service quality, industry relevance, problem-solving capabilities, and customer support availability.

Finally, be wary of hidden fees and long-term commitments, and ensure you have a clear understanding of cancellation and refund policies before signing up.

How to Set Up a Global Phone System?

Setting up a global phone system for your business involves several steps to ensure smooth communication across borders. Let’s break it down into four simple steps.

1. Sign Up and Buy International Phone Numbers

Once you’ve researched your providers, decide on one that meets your needs and budget. Then, purchase international phone numbers for your target regions. Use call forwarding and advanced routing rules to forward incoming calls to your desired destinations.

2. Configure Devices and Install Software

Depending on your needs, you can use softphones (software-based phones), IP phones (hardware phones), or gateways to connect legacy phones to your VoIP system. Simply download the necessary software or connect your hardware devices to your internet router to get started.

3. Customize Your Phone System

Take time to familiarize yourself with features provided so you can set them up as needed. Call management features will ensure that your phone system operates efficiently and meets your specific requirements. Create call flows, set up IVR (interactive voice response) systems, implement routing strategies, enable call recording, and establish ring groups to manage call volumes effectively.

4. Verify Network Performance Through Testing

Thoroughly test your network for any issues before deploying your global phone system. Look into connection reliability and call quality. Check the latency and audio quality. Finally, test the network speed. Test your system for coverage, address any issues with your service provider, and get necessary adjustments made before going live.

Once live, continue to collect feedback to improve and maintain your global phone system.

How Can UWT Help?

As you know, success of global businesses hinges on effective communication strategies that transcend borders. From establishing a global presence with virtual numbers to working with a diverse workforce, there’s much that can be achieved with a global phone system.

For 28 years, United World Telecom has been helping businesses worldwide with global telephony features such as call routing, voicemail transcription, and integration capabilities. Using these, our customers have not only fostered stronger relationships with customers, but also improved operational efficiency.

Ready to upgrade your business phone system? Contact our experts today to find out how United World Telecom can help you drive business growth.

 

Achieve Global Voice Connectivity with SIP Trunking

Reliable voice connectivity is without a doubt crucial for global businesses. It helps businesses become more accessible to customers while fostering strong relationships with them. So how do you achieve better global voice connectivity? A global SIP trunking solution is one way to expand the coverage of your business phone system while improving reliability and call quality.

SIP Trunking for Global Businesses

Global SIP technology makes it possible to run global businesses from anywhere you are. Simply integrate this service with your existing infrastructure and then connect with customers, stakeholders, partners, and employees anywhere in the world. Let’s learn more.

Understanding SIP Trunking and VoIP

SIP trunking and VoIP rely on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)—a signaling protocol—to transmit voice and other communications over the internet and IP networks.

SIP trunking refers to virtual phone lines over which this communication can take place. A SIP trunk can hold multiple SIP channels, enabling you to run multiple concurrent call sessions through one trunk.

Easily integrate SIP trunks into your existing phone system and let your PBX system leverage VoIP to make calls over the internet.

SIP Trunking with United World Telecom

United World Telecom offers a SIP trunking solution as our Outbound Calling service. You can sign up for a monthly outbound calling subscription with an outbound number and inbound features.

An image with more information about global SIP trunking.

How Can SIP Voice Solutions Help Your Business?

But why go for SIP trunking?

From transcending geographical barriers to unifying communications, there are myriad ways in which your business can benefit from global SIP voice solutions. Here’s how:

1. Establish your Business Beyond Borders

Global SIP trunking expands your reach, connecting you with potential clients across different regions using virtual local, international, and toll-free numbers.

If you are looking to expand your business into remote, even hard-to-reach and rural areas, you can do so without establishing a physical office. SIP trunking works alongside toll-free and local virtual numbers in different regions. For instance, if you are looking to expand your business into Australia, then you can get a local 2-way number—for both inbound and outbound calls—providing your customers a convenient way to contact your business.

With these numbers, you can display the desired outbound local caller IDs. You can get local 2-way numbers for multiple countries like the US, Singapore, France, Australia, etc. with United World Telecom.

2. Leverage a Reliable Voice Network

Additionally, you can avail a highly redundant voice network essential for reliable global outbound calling. For instance, United World Telecom has long-term partnerships with local tier-1 carriers around the world, enabling us to deliver top-notch SIP trunking call quality at competitive prices.

Our global telephony services are accessible in nearly 195 countries and over 4,000 cities worldwide. This ensures comprehensive coverage for global business activities.

3. High-Quality Voice Calls and Communication Functionality

As SIP trunking sends calls over the internet, you can make high-definition calls. Keep in mind the quality of these calls hinges on factors such as internet bandwidth and device caliber. It is therefore important to allocate sufficient bandwidth that can accommodate SIP traffic.

Moreover, service providers like UWT often offer a range of advanced call management features designed to streamline communication processes. From setting up IVR for different phone lines to changing your outbound caller ID to managing call routing rules, we’ve got you covered.

Related: How to Achieve Best VoIP Call Quality?

4. Flexibility and Scalability

A significant advantage of SIP trunking is the flexibility and scalability it offers. With our softphone, your team can transform any device, such as smartphones or laptops, into a robust business phone, enabling you to make and receive calls from anywhere. This way they stay connected to headquarters via their smartphones, making and receiving calls as if they were in the office.

You can get a softphone from United World Telecom with our outbound calling plans. We also have a web dialer that is powered by WebRTC.

Plus, you can use complementary features like call routing and forwarding to direct calls to available staff or agents, in case a call goes unanswered. Simply set them up and adjust as needed through the control panel. This flexibility extends to users as well; add or remove phone lines and users depending on business needs.

5. Work with a Global Workforce

SIP trunking simplifies collaboration across global teams, bridging distances effortlessly. Hire remotely and work with global teams—all easily managed with a unified communication platform. Teams can connect with each other over audio, increasing collaboration and productivity. And as all this is possible over the internet, you don’t have to worry about paying through your nose for long-distance calls.

Finally, SIP trunking solutions with their robust security measures can protect your communication channels from cyber threats like hackers. This makes it a reliable technology for conducting business virtually. Learn how to keep your global phone system secure in our security and encryption guide.

6. Quick and Easy Setup

Integrating SIP solutions into your current setup is a breeze, requiring very little effort to get up and running. You can quickly incorporate SIP technology into your existing infrastructure without encountering any major obstacles.

And service providers, like United World Telecom, handle and guide you through the setup process. This allows you to focus on your core operations while leaving the setup and management of such cloud solutions to professionals. Once you get an outbound calling plan with United World Telecom, we will provide you with the necessary SIP trunk credentials. Feed these credentials into your SIP or PBX phone system, and you’re all set!

Get Global SIP with United World Telecom

Looking to expand your global voice connectivity? Dive into the world of global SIP trunk solutions.

Get a virtual phone number with United World Telecom and join our extensive global SIP network. As a leading provider since 1996, we offer top-rated international SIP trunking services. Our solutions include outbound calling, call forwarding, local 2-way calling, and more.

Reach out to our experts today to learn more and achieve global voice connectivity!

How Much is Your Legacy Phone System Costing Your Business?

Modern businesses thrive on seamless and efficient communication, with the business phone system serving as its backbone. While traditional phones were once reliable, they now pose limitations. Once stalwarts of business communication, they are now proving to be expensive relics.

In a recent study, a majority of IT and non-IT leaders say technical debt severely limits their IT function’s ability to innovate and migrate to new technologies. On top of that, many businesses report allocating significant funds and budget towards sustaining business operations. This means, less is available for innovation as time and money is spent maintaining, fixing, and damage control.

As technology advances, maintaining outdated phones can incur unforeseen costs, hindering business efficacy. In this article, we cover the factors that affect legacy phone system cost and how you reduce your communication expenditure with alternatives like voice over internet protocol (VoIP).

How Much Do Legacy Phone Systems Cost? Key Factors

Legacy phone systems refer to traditional business phone systems that have been used for decades. These systems transmit analog or voice signals through copper wires between users. The most common examples of legacy systems are the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and the Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). Legacy systems are characterized by their reliance on physical hardware, such as landline phones and on-premise PBX systems.

Knowing how much your legacy phone system is costing you is essential to understanding your communication expenses. From unexpected outages and downtime to call volume charges and hardware upkeep, each aspect contributes tremendously to the big picture. Let’s look at the key factors contributing to the true cost of a legacy phone system.

1. Outages and Downtime

Hardware failures, network issues, low-quality IT infrastructure, and bad weather are some factors that can trigger outages, disrupting the ability to make and receive calls. This interruption could affect communication with customers, suppliers, and stakeholders. Such downtime can ultimately impact revenue generation and tarnish brand reputation.

Still, businesses are reluctant to move to newer, more efficient technologies. In contrast, VoIP and internet-based phone systems offer redundant and high-availability networks that ensure continuity and keep the business running as usual.

2. Call Volume and Usage Charges

One key factor contributing to the higher costs of legacy systems is the method of call routing and transmission. Calls made through legacy systems typically travel over the PSTN. When you make a call, a dedicated circuit is created between the point where your call originates and the point serving the person you’re calling. This circuit allows your voice signals to travel through the network from your phone to the recipient’s phone.

However, the establishment of these circuits comes with costs, particularly when the call crosses long distances. For long-distance calls, more infrastructure and resources are required to establish and maintain these circuits, resulting in higher costs for both the telecom provider and the user. Plus, getting more phone lines means adding new infrastructure, which costs a lot of money.

3. Hardware Upkeep and Support

Legacy phone systems rely on outdated hardware components like analog lines, physical switches, and handsets that may need to be replaced periodically due to wear and tear, which can contribute to ongoing costs.

Additionally, they need IT staff with the right expertise and skills to maintain operations daily. However, as newer phone systems continue to grow popular and become the norm, fewer people know or are willing to deal with older systems. Hiring the right people to work with such technology can, therefore, prove expensive.

Adding to that, failure to maintain these systems could result in service disruptions, which further entail financial repercussions for the business.

4. Limited Flexibility and Scalability

A legacy phone system offers limited flexibility and scalability, and you might need to allocate more of your infrastructure budget. For instance, adding new phone lines or expanding infrastructure—like purchasing additional hardware and phone lines—means additional spend. Naturally, this will lead to increased complexity and cost.

While traditional phone systems allow call merging and routing, you may require staff to handle these tasks manually. If this manual intervention is insufficient or unmonitored, especially in high call volume settings, you may experience missed opportunities and revenue loss.

Further, the absence of advanced call management features (like transcription, IVR, and auto-attendant) and modern solutions (like integrations with other business systems) make legacy phones incompatible with remote and hybrid work setups. Modern businesses demand mobile, flexible, and easily scalable communication solutions, and lack thereof adds to the overall cost. However, adding these features to your legacy phone system will stack up as more hidden costs.

VoIP, on the other hand, typically comes packed with advanced features and call management functionality. Read more about VoIP features ahead.

5. Staff Training

Training and skill development are essential for all those who manage legacy phones. While using a legacy phone might seem straightforward, there are still essential functions that employees need to understand, such as call forwarding, conference calling, and using voicemail. Proper training ensures that employees know how to use the phone system efficiently, reducing the likelihood of missed calls and minimizing downtime.

However, training staff over time can be an ongoing expense. This includes costs for initial training as well as recurrent training for updates or new features.

Cost Advantages of VoIP Business Phones

Many organizations are transitioning to modern and flexible communication solutions, such as VoIP and session initiation protocol (SIP), to mitigate costs associated with legacy systems. This migration presents an opportunity to streamline communication processes and reduce costs. Basically, VoIP/SIP lets you upgrade telephony service but decreases costs.

Understand the disadvantages of a legacy phone system.

VoIP leverages software-based platforms and internet infrastructure to offer a spectrum of cost benefits compared to legacy phone systems.

Let’s explore the key factors that contribute to its affordability and effectiveness in modern business operations:

VoIP vs legacy phone system costs

1. Initial Investment

VoIP relies on software-based solutions and utilizes existing internet infrastructure, reducing upfront costs. This means you can use it to add new functionality to your existing structure. Or, do away with your outdated equipment and forward calls to your computer or laptop using a VoIP softphone.

In fact, United World Telecom offers a flexible softphone and web dialer with our outbound calling plans, so your teams can connect from anywhere.

2. Call Costs

VoIP providers often present more competitive pricing structures, particularly for long-distance and international calls. For instance, United World Telecom offers plans for as low as $7.95 per month and they come with a host of free call management features.

Additionally, we offer extensive voice global coverage, reaching even the remotest locations at cost-effective rates. Our connectivity spans over 160 countries, allowing you to engage with customers worldwide. Furthermore, by forwarding calls virtually, you don’t need to worry about additional long-distance rates.

Get a toll-free number and facilitate cost-free communication for your global customer base. And if you choose local numbers, customers still call at low local rates, even if you forward those calls internationally.

3. Maintenance Costs

VoIP is a cloud service, which means it is hosted and maintained by service providers. This way, you don’t have to worry about maintenance and upkeep at all. From routine updates to troubleshooting and repairs, the responsibility falls squarely on the VoIP provider’s shoulders, freeing up valuable time and resources for you to focus on core business operations.

4. Downtime Costs

VoIP systems are inherently more resilient to downtime with the availability of features like redundancy routing and failover forwarding. These features are proactive measures that automatically redirect incoming calls to alternative destinations in the event of system failure or network disruption. All you have to do is set up routing rules to specify alternative phone numbers, extensions, or voicemail boxes where calls should forward to during downtime.

To improve phone system reliability, check out our resource on VoIP uptime.

5. Features and Functionality

Service providers like United World Telecom offer an exhaustive list of cloud telephony features and functionalities unavailable with traditional legacy systems. From time of day and VIP caller routing to advanced IVR and call flow builder, the list of options is endless! You can use these VoIP features to reduce costs as they come free and can be implemented in an online control panel. So, no extra hard or software investment is required.

Additionally, these features can help cut down on time-consuming tasks, improving operational efficiency. For instance, while legacy phone systems can send voice calls to voicemails, an agent or staff must manually listen to the messages and jot down important details. Additionally, if you have a global customer base, you’ll need a translator to interpret or translate transcripts. But with a business voicemail translation feature, you can get the voicemails transcribed and translated in your preferred language on a single platform. This way, global teams can efficiently communicate and collaborate regardless of where team members are located.

6. Flexibility and Scalability

With VoIP, you get unparalleled flexibility and scalability to adjust your communication infrastructure according to changing business needs. You can add or remove users, phone lines, and numbers in a simple few steps—all this without investing in costly hardware upgrades.

7. Integrations

One of the best aspects of VoIP telephony is it seamlessly integrates with other business applications and tools, allowing for greater efficiency and workflow automation. Integrations with CRM software, email platforms, and collaboration tools streamline communication processes and eliminate the need for manual data entry, resulting in time and cost savings.

United World Telecom offers the option to connect your phone numbers to your business tools like Zoho, Salesforce, Zendesk, and more. Visit our integrations page or speak to one of our experts to learn all about this telephony capability.

8. Remote and Hybrid Work Support

VoIP systems are well-suited for remote and global environments, providing employees with access to the same communication features and functionalities regardless of their location. With mobile apps, softphones, and web-based interfaces, remote workers can stay connected and productive without the need for additional hardware or infrastructure, reducing overhead communication costs.

As you can see, the total cost of ownership for VoIP systems is generally lower than that of legacy phone systems due to lower infrastructure costs, reduced call rates, and increased efficiency and productivity gains.

You can read more about why VoIP is a good fit for distributed teams in our article.

How Can UWT Help?

Legacy phone systems are undoubtedly becoming obsolete. Latest technologies like SIP and VoIP come with endless possibilities in communication that can grow your business.

Is VoIP a reliable alternative?
Yes, VoIP is highly reliable and has globally emerged as a preferred alternative to legacy phones. We at United World Telecom have helped global businesses evolve with our VoIP offerings since 1996.

UWT offers basic to advanced VoIP-based call management features catering to different business communication needs. We also understand the complexities of upgrading from legacy phones to VoIP.

Don’t let outdated technology hold your business back!

How to switch to VoIP?
Switching to VoIP involves planning, testing internet connectivity, preparing infrastructure, selecting a provider, choosing equipment, training teams, and setting up your device for a smooth migration.

Stay ahead of the curve in the digital age. Consult with our experts today and let us help you transition to VoIP.

What is a POTS Replacement Service?

Globally, there has been a shift towards digital and internet-based communication services. Many countries are investing in high-speed internet infrastructure, and telecom companies are moving away from traditional copper wire networks.

While POTS has been reliable and served its purpose for many years, the shift towards more advanced and integrated communication technologies is driven by the desire for enhanced features, efficiency, and adaptability to the demands of modern communication.

Let’s examine why POTS lines are being phased out and what POTS replacement options are available for businesses.

Using POTS for Business Communication

Plain old telephone service (POTS) is a traditional telephone system that utilizes copper wires to transmit analog signals for voice communication. It has been the primary telephone service before VoIP and other digital communication techs since the 1880s. This solution is also called the public switched telephone network (PSTN). There are several local and national carriers operating these copper-based networks.

Businesses widely used POTS as it was considered reliable—particularly during power outages, due to its independence from electricity. Setting up POTS is relatively straightforward and viewed as a beneficial feature. One has to connect to the traditional telephone to the existing phone lines, and you’re ready to make and receive calls.

However, POTS has many limitations and drawbacks, such as higher costs, more maintenance, fewer features, etc. In comparison, more advanced communication technologies like VoIP offer better quality service for lower costs.

Why Replace POTS?

POTS replacement services aim to improve efficiency, support new services, and enhance connectivity in the evolving digital landscape. Legacy phone systems are primarily designed for voice calls, lacking advanced features that have become integral to contemporary business operations.

Integrating communication tools with other business applications—like VoIP CRM integrations—and workflows streamlines processes, reduces response times, and enhances productivity.

Also, digital systems outperform POTS in call quality with advanced technologies like digital signal processing, error correction, adaptive voice codecs, and echo cancellation, enhancing voice clarity and minimizing background noise.

Lastly, the upkeep of copper wire infrastructure for POTS can be expensive. Meanwhile, digital and internet-based communication systems often utilize existing broadband infrastructure, proving more cost-effective.

Are POTS Lines Being Phased Out?

Modern phone systems render PSTN obsolete due to its incompatibility with current communication needs and trends.

In 2019, the Federal Communications Commission implemented regulatory changes, such as Order 19-72A1, accelerating the transition from traditional POTS. This initiative supports incumbent local exchange carriers in upgrading to modern telecom infrastructure.

Similarly, the UK is phasing out PSTN by 2025 as part of its digital infrastructure transformation driven by technological advancements. Australia also sees a consistent decline in landline telephone usage. All this indicates better solutions and alternatives are available.

An image showing alternatives to POTS.

Exploring POTS Alternatives

As POTS becomes obsolete, evaluating available POTS replacement services is crucial. Many businesses are switching to cloud telephony solutions with session initiation protocol (SIP) and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) for business communications. Unlike PSTN, SIP and VoIP leverage digital technology and the internet to transmit voice signals, providing cost savings, advanced features, and enhanced flexibility.

What is the difference between POTS and VoIP?

POTS VoIP
Geographical Limits 1. Numbers tied to locations.
2. Relocation may need number changes.
1. Get local phone numbers for different countries.
2. Keep the same numbers despite office moves.
Infrastructure 1. Physical phone lines needed.
2. Each number needs separate lines.
1. Transmits calls via the Internet.
2. Supports multiple phone lines on one account.
Technology 1. Uses analog for voice.
2. Transmits analog signals via copper wires.
1. Converts voice into digital data for internet transmission.
2. Sends data packets via the internet.
Features 1. Limited features and services.
2. Typically handles voice calling.
1. Extensive features: advanced routing, voicemail translation, call forwarding, and more.
2. PBX, CRM, and help desk integrations.
Cost-effectiveness 1. Higher costs for international calls.
2. High maintenance cost.
1. Internet-based calls mean lower long-distance costs.
2. Free calling minutes and competitive rates for local and international calls.

Related: How Does VoIP Connect to PSTN?

How Can UWT Help?

As modern businesses embrace remote work models, the relevance of POTS dwindles. With unparalleled mobility, flexibility, and scalability, POTS alternatives like VoIP take center stage.

United World Telecom is one of the pioneering VoIP service providers, and we bring vast expertise in modern business communication solutions.

We can help you make the switch to VoIP seamlessly.

Consult with our expert today to explore POTS replacement solutions.

How to Improve Operational Efficiency in 10 Steps

Operational efficiency is like a compass that can guide your business towards adaptability and resilience, eventually boosting revenue. In a survey of 1,300 CEOs worldwide, a whopping 77% said that prioritizing operational efficiencies is their key approach to boosting revenue growth. This consensus among top leaders tells a clear story—efficiency is not just important; it’s a key part of the success formula.

In this operational efficiency guide, we’ll cover the following:

What Does it Mean to Improve Operations?

Enhancing operations involves creating a leaner, more responsive organizational structure. The bedrock of operational efficiency is well-designed, clear, and standardized processes. Such processes can eliminate unnecessary steps, reduce errors, save time, and ensure consistency in tasks, thereby, maximizing productivity.

The best example of operational efficiency for business is customer relationship management (CRM) software. The CRM is like a digital assistant that helps agents keep track of customer support interactions and manage information, allowing agents to respond quickly.

Say a customer calls in with a question. The CRM consolidates customer history, helping your agents to provide quick and personalized solutions. Now this CRM function not only saves time, but also improves the overall customer experience.

Importance of Operational Efficiency for Businesses

Improving operations isn’t just about cost savings; it’s about working more efficiently. For instance, when businesses smartly integrate digital technologies across their value chain and processes, they can see a 90% productivity increase, 50% energy efficiency, and 100% speed-to-market improvement, according to research by the World Economic Forum. This makes sure that your business can provide excellent service and adapt quickly to competition.

When you take time to improve business operations at various levels, you can:

  • Streamline workflows,
  • Optimize resources and reduce waste,
  • Reduce inefficiencies and errors,
  • Improve productivity and collaboration,
  • Ensure faster delivery times,
  • Offer reliable services,
  • And maintain sustainable growth overall.

Which Areas to Consider to Improve Operations?

As you know, seamless operation is crucial for sustaining growth and staying competitive. From business communication infrastructure to customer service, each area plays a big role in how well an organization works. Focusing on these areas will help your teams work together better and make business processes smoother.

Let’s look at 9 operational areas where you can make improvements:

Areas of improvement for operational efficiency.

1. Communication Infrastructure

Upgrading communication infrastructure for operational efficiency requires bringing together all voice services in one central place. Imagine it as a single hub for all your business calls. This simplifies things—no more juggling between systems. By centralizing, you reduce the need to manage calls manually.

For example, you can effortlessly handle and track business calls from a single platform with centralized voice services. This means no fumbling between phones or missing crucial information. When a call comes in, you have everything you need in front of you. Discover the latest trends shaping the future of unified communications in 2024 in our article.

2. IT Service Management

Implementing IT service management (ITSM) frameworks like an information technology infrastructure library (ITIL) is like giving your IT operations a smart makeover. The ITIL framework standardizes processes, ensuring timely incident resolution, strategic capacity planning, smooth change management, and expedited problem resolution.

By implementing ITIL, you can create a robust and reliable IT infrastructure. This integration optimizes internal processes and fosters an adaptive business ecosystem.

3. Cloud Migration

Making this shift involves moving your business operations and data from traditional on-site servers to the cloud, which offers a secure and remote digital space. This cloud migration shift has many benefits: scalability, flexibility, and cost savings.

Depending on business needs, you can easily adjust digital resources, like storage and processing power. This adaptability helps avoid wasting resources during slow periods and accommodates growth during busy times.

Cloud services allow your team to access important data and applications from anywhere with an internet connection. This flexibility facilitates remote work, collaboration, and swift-decision making, contributing to overall efficiency.

Migration also reduces investment and maintenance costs. You can eliminate hefty investments in physical infrastructure. Cloud services operate on a pay-as-you-go model, meaning you only pay for what you use, reducing overall expenses.

4. Security

Prioritizing the protection of your IT systems can lead to a seamless workflow and safety of sensitive data. An essential aspect is setting up IT security policies and routinely updating and patching systems to fortify them against potential threats.

Conducting regular vulnerability assessments will help you identify and fix potential weaknesses, preventing security breaches. Implement best practices such as zero-trust security. In this security model, each user and device must authenticate and verify their identity before accessing resources. It is an additional layer of security that acknowledges that threats can come from both external and internal sources.

5. Monitoring and Analytics

Proactive monitoring helps identify issues before they impact users. This involves regular examination of different system aspects like its performance, security, and overall functionality. Incorporating best practices like continuous monitoring helps in actively staying ahead of potential issues.

A practical example of a tool in this realm is Application Performance Monitoring (APM) software. APM tools keep a close eye on how applications are performing, detecting any slowdowns or glitches. When an issue is identified, the software provides insights into the root cause, enabling quick resolution before users even notice a problem. This not only prevents disruptions but also contributes to a seamless and efficient workflow.

6. Knowledge Management

A knowledge base or documentation system can help store and share critical tech information, troubleshooting guides, and solutions. It serves as a centralized hub for important IT insights, which helps your agents find answers easily. You can also leverage such documentation—whether you use dynamic PDFs or the best AI for presentations for slides—to bring new employees and customers up to speed on your systems, making the onboarding process more efficient. This helps everyone work smarter and faster.

7. Risk Management

Whether you’re a large enterprise or small company, IT risk management is crucial. Develop and implement a risk management strategy to identify, assess, control, and mitigate IT-related risks. First, you need to identify possible risks to IT systems and how they might affect operations. Next, assess the impact and likelihood of these risks. And finally, take steps to reduce the impact or chance of issues occurring.

For instance, you can use tech tools like threat intelligence software. This software provides early warnings, allowing you to address security risks preemptively.

8. Continuous Improvement

This practice is a cornerstone for enhancing operational efficiency within a business. It involves encouraging your IT staff to regularly review and refine processes and adapt to changing business needs. They must methodically create and implement a strategy to recognize, evaluate, and mitigate potential IT-related risks, thereby ensuring the resilience of the digital infrastructure.

9. Customer Service

Efficiency in response times entails a prompt and streamlined interaction with customers. It is about ensuring that when a customer seeks assistance, whether through call, chat, or email, the response is swift and helpful, leading to reduced abandoned calls and interactions. Quality support is the soul of customer service. Empower your agent with knowledge, tools, and resources to provide quick and personalized solutions.

operational efficiency 10 steps

How to Improve Operational Efficiency in 10 Steps

To improve operations, you must prioritize streamlining processes to enhance productivity while minimizing resources. By assessing the current state, setting goals, and creating a strategy, organizations can identify areas for improvement. Then, select the right solutions, embrace automation, and implement new tools to significantly optimize workflows. Businesses that invest in these steps gain a competitive edge, ensuring sustainability and growth.

1. Assess Current State

A critical first step is to assess where your organization stands right now. This involves meticulously examining needs, identifying gaps, and understanding the essential ‘jobs to be done.’ This evaluation serves as the bedrock for crafting strategies to enhance operational efficiency.

Break down your examination into specific areas. Workflow processes, communication, security, storage, and technology infrastructure are some of the key areas you can look into. For instance, picture a store facing delays because its inventory system isn’t communicating well. By fixing how information is shared, like providing how the store tracks its products, they can make things smoother.

2. Set Goals and Create a Strategy

Clear goals and strategies provide a sense of direction, while a strategic plan outlines the steps to achieve those goals. For instance, introducing a knowledge management system and conducting targeted training sessions could be strategic initiatives aimed at achieving the goal of reducing average handling time.

Moreover, goals also serve as benchmarks for measuring progress and fostering accountability. The iterative nature of this process allows for continuous improvement, adjusting to changes, and maintaining long-term efficiency.

3. Identify the Right Solutions

It goes without saying that finding the right solutions is one of the most important keys to improving operations. It involves a strategic approach to understanding and addressing gaps and challenges, facilitating optimal use of resources. Research plays a crucial role in this process. It gives you valuable insights into industry best practices, latest technologies, and customer expectations.

For example, understanding the latest trends in customer communication channels may help you identify the right tools and strategy needed to fix bottlenecks in customer support workflows. This might mean using advanced software or automated systems to speed up response times.

4. Consider Automation

Automation is a game-changer. Take, for instance, the manual task of routing customer inquiries to the right department. Without an automation tool like an IVR system, this process could be time-consuming and prone to human errors. However, with automated ticketing systems, you can quickly direct incoming tickets to the right department or agent based on predefined criteria.

5. Implement New Tools

The shift to new tools is driven by the recognition that outdated systems can impede progress. You can not only boost efficiency but also future-proof operations. For example, modern communication tools like international call forwarding or community chat services facilitate real-time communication, document sharing, and thereby enable quick decision-making. By embracing the advantages of such tools, you can adapt to evolving demands, enhance collaboration, and streamline workflow.

6. Consider VoIP for Communications

Unlike legacy phones, VoIP phone systems allow seamless communication over the internet, reducing costs and increasing flexibility. Features like call forwarding, voicemail-to-email, and virtual numbers, VoIP streamlines communication, ensuring your team stays connected from anywhere.

More on how to use VoIP to improve operational efficiency below.

7. Train Employees

Your staff needs regular training on new tools, knowledge, and methods to stay adaptable and updated. Skilled staff can handle tasks competently and troubleshoot problems independently. For example, a retail store with trained staff processes customer transactions faster, preventing long queues. This, in turn, leads to better customer satisfaction. You may even consider running regular training sessions as refreshers to maintain quality.

8. Provide Support and Troubleshooting Assistance

Helping your agents with support and troubleshooting leads to swifter problem-solving and first contact resolutions. It empowers employees to handle challenges well and stay productive. Providing prompt assistance and a clear escalation matrix also prevents work disruption and contributes to a positive work environment.

9. Document and Review Processes

By documenting workflows, you can create an operations blueprint for others to use and resolve similar issues quickly. And regular reviews of the documented processes are crucial for two main reasons: continuous improvement and maintaining business continuity. Additionally, in times of employee turnover or unexpected events, others can step in smoothly because they have pre-existing guides.

10. Collect Feedback and Update Process

Gathering customer and employee input is a great way to identify and address specific pain points and hiccups. By incorporating this feedback into process updates, you can tailor operations to better meet essential needs. This step ensures processes remain agile and aligned with customer expectations.

Improving operational efficiency with VoIP

Using VoIP to Improve Business Communication Efficiency

So, how can your business use a VoIP service to make business communications streamlined and efficient?

Here are some practical applications of VoIP to improve operations:

1. Implement Collaboration Tools

VoIP supports audio calls, which offers your teams a more immediate way to interact, make decisions, and solve problems. An optimized VoIP network also offers a variety of channels to communicate. This way, your teams can choose the most suitable mode of communication for a given situation, optimizing efficiency.

For instance, a quick clarification can be addressed through chat, while a more complex issue could be discussed over a video call. This adaptability minimizes delays and overall responsiveness.

2. Use Cloud Telephony Features

You can leverage cloud telephony features like virtual numbers, call routing, and auto attendants to scale your business cost-efficiently. These cloud calling features help create a tailored communication infrastructure in line with your operational needs and business goals.

For example, the simultaneous ringing feature can enhance sales teams’ availability and responsiveness. Picture a scenario where a potential customer has urgent questions about your product or service and is considering making a purchase. With simultaneous ringing, multiple sales representatives receive the call simultaneously. The first available representative can answer the call promptly and address the prospect’s queries, securing a potential sale.

Check out the wide range of advanced calling features offered with every United World Telecom phone plan.

3. Provide Customer Service from Anywhere

Cloud communications ensures business continuity and productivity even during crises like power outages or pandemics. How is that possible? With the data and communication tools available online, your teams can collaborate, attend virtual meetings, and keep the work going.

Say in the event of a severe weather event that forces the closure of your contact center’s physical location, you can quickly and easily forward or route calls to alternative locations or remote agents. This ensures that customers can still reach a representative for assistance, regardless of the impact on your primary facility.

Similarly, time-based routing allows you to direct incoming calls to different locations or numbers based on the time of the day. For example, during business hours, calls could be routed to an in-house customer support team, while after-hours calls could be forwarded to a remote center.
This feature also helps you provide 24/7 support and remain accessible year-round from anywhere.

4. Manage High Call Traffic

VoIP call features, including smart routing and automated attendants, reduce wait times and manage incoming calls smoothly. Setting up failover forwarding to send calls to remote or backup teams during peak periods or emergencies can maintain service continuity. Similarly, you can use an automatic call distribution system to efficiently smartly and evenly distribute calls, avoiding overload on specific agents or service centers.

5. Maintain Support Across Different Time Zones

You can support customers in different time zones better. Using VoIP features, route and forward calls from different international locations to your global teams. In this manner, you can offer assistance even during off-hours. It’s like having a 24/7 support system without making everyone work at the same time.

6. Integrate with Key Business Applications

VoIP integrations serve as a vital strategy to improve operations. Specifically, CRM integrations with VoIP can cut down time spent on repetitive manual tasks and eliminates the need to toggle between apps.

An image of operational efficiency being improved through VoIP CRM Integrations.

Agents can receive caller details on their screen when a customer call is received or initiated. And they can easily place outbound calls directly from the CRM interface with a simple click. No need to grab the phone and manually dial the number!

How Can UWT Help?

As you know, operational efficiency is an ongoing commitment to improvement. Effective business communication influences how tasks are carried out, information is exchanged, and customer relationships are maintained.

Modern business communication tools can reduce errors and misunderstandings and facilitate better collaboration, thereby upgrading operations. United World Telecom offers many features to optimize and power your business communication.

PBX Security: Common Risks and Best Practices

Legacy phone technologies, like the PSTN and on-premise PBX systems, shaped digital communications today, but it’s time for businesses to embrace the digital landscape’s growing needs.

This is especially important for virtual and hybrid work setups. Employees, stakeholders, partners, and customers can connect from anywhere, using features like virtual extensions and global SIP trunking.

But with more and more businesses using cloud-based communication, securing your cloud PBX phone system is crucial.

In this guide to PBX security, we’ll go over:

  • Which is more secure? Cloud PBX or On-Premise PBX
  • Potential threats
  • Best practices of PBX security

Importance of Keeping Your PBX Phone System Secure

It’s necessary to use cybersecurity measures to protect communication data handled by your cloud PBX from potential threats and unauthorized access. These cyberattacks can result in high costs (up to $10.5 trillion annually by 2025), data loss, and cause lasting damage to your business reputation. In the U.S., in 2022 alone, there were countless malware attacks (44%), data breaches (27%), and DDoS attacks (22%) (Forbes).

And yet, most companies don’t invest in cybersecurity because they have “little financial incentive to do so.” However, when organizations have advanced security measures and capabilities, they can deliver 43% higher revenue growth. This means that if your business is not paying attention to security across the board, you are not safeguarding your business enough.

This is true even in the case of a cloud telephony or PBX system, primarily because they rely on the internet to function.

Is Cloud PBX or On-Premise PBX More Secure?

Whether cloud PBX or on-premise is more secure depends on a few factors such as communication needs, budget, provider, and IT team availability.

The main difference between cloud and on-premise PBX systems is where they are stored and who is in charge of the system. Cloud PBX is typically hosted by your PBX provider and available through the Internet. Since it’s a hosted system, your provider maintains, updates, and secures the system. While cloud communication technology is convenient, cost-effective, and easily accessible, if not secured well, it can be prone to fraud, breaches, and similar disruptions.

On-premise PBX, on the other hand, is located in your office premises and connected to your internal network. This is typically built, run, and managed by your experienced in-house IT team. Since your team is in charge, you have more control over how to keep your system secure. Yet, on-premise systems can be outdated compared to modern technology, and by extension, modern cybercrimes. This may lead to struggles with functionality, recovery, and stability.

Learn more in our guide on cloud vs on-premise PBX.

5 Potential Threats to PBX Security

Identifying and fixing security issues begins with understanding the different cybersecurity problems and what elements they can affect. From the menace of eavesdropping to sophisticated cyberattacks, several threats make your cloud PBX system vulnerable. Here are a few of them:

1. Unauthorized Access and Hacking

Threat: Weak, compromised user credentials and lack of multi-factor authentication can make PBX security defenseless against unauthorized access by hackers.
Consequence: If hackers get in, there can be serious consequences, like call interception, fraudulent calls, data stealing, and leaking of sensitive information for malicious purposes.

2. Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed DoS (DDoS) Attacks

Threat: In a DoS attack, a single source or a small number of sources try to overload a PBX system with excessive traffic, requests, or harmful data. This can severely threaten the availability and performance of PBX systems
Consequence: Both DoS and DDoS attacks can cause temporary or long-lasting service disruptions. The PBX system may not work well because of it, causing delays, dropped calls, and other problems. This could lead to interruptions in business communication and operations.

3. Eavesdropping Attacks

Threat: An eavesdropping attack refers to the unauthorized access and interception of information and data transmitted between devices. Inadequate encryption may expose voice and data traffic to eavesdropping.
Consequence: In the context of VoIP eavesdropping, this means data transmitted during phone conversations and between two callers is intercepted, modified, or destroyed. If confidentiality is breached, attackers can leak sensitive information, harming your business’s strategies and reputation.

4. Malware Attacks

Threat: Malicious software like spyware, ransomware, botnet, adware, etc., are computer programs that can infect the cloud PBX system, especially if your PBX shares its network with other computers and devices.
Consequence: This may lead to fraudulent activities and unauthorized control of the PBX. Attackers may demand ransom for data recovery.

5. Phishing and Social Engineering

Threat: Phishing attacks are a persistent menace. They are a social engineering technique used to trick people into giving away important information—such as their user credentials or PBX access. Attackers can trick or scam your agents by sending fake emails or messages that seem trustworthy.
Consequence: Successful attacks can lead to data breaches, loss of customer trust, and legal consequences.

5 Best Practices of PBX Security

Securing your cloud PBX system is paramount, and implementing best practices ensures its resilience against potential threats and attacks. From fortifying your system with robust passwords to bolstering its defense with modern technical measures, here are some ways to protect your PBX system:

PBX Security Best Practices

1. Password Fortification

Use long, complex, and strong passwords for your PBX phone system and update them regularly. Change default admin and guest passwords to something uncommon to avoid common attacks. These simple steps replace easy-to-guess passwords, reducing the risk of common attacks.

2. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Now, most PBX and VoIP providers offer two-factor authentication (TFA) or MFA as part of their service. Users must provide a verification, like a code sent to their email, along with their password to get into the account. This way, even if an attacker gets a user’s password, they can’t get in without the verification code. Enable these defenses for all user accounts for an added layer of security. Also, remember to check and update MFA settings periodically.

3. Software Updates

Make sure both your PBX provider and your business update the software regularly. Providers should fix bugs and security concerns and release timely software upgrades. And users must make sure to apply all the latest security patches and updates. This helps fix security issues and address potential vulnerabilities.

4. Control Access

Set up controls to decide who can access what. It ensures that only the right people can use and manage the communication system, keeping sensitive information safe. By assigning specific permissions and restrictions, you can mitigate the risk of unauthorized usage and cyberattacks. This proactive measure enhances the overall system resilience.

Learn more about our user and role management features.

5. Technical Measures

Intrusion detection systems and firewalls help in monitoring and blocking suspicious activity. Employ encryption to shield communication data, especially in VoIP calls, videos, text messaging, and other communication-related data. Encryption converts data into secret texts accessible only through a decryption key that converts it back to its original form. This protects the data from unauthorized access.

In addition to that, use digital certification, VPNs, and other authentication protocols to verify device and user identities, preventing breaches. Proactively audit network, system, and access logs and user accounts for unusual usage patterns.

These technical measures, combined with established practices, offer robust protection against unauthorized access and threats to your PBX security.

Learn more in our guide to VoIP security.

6. Educate and Train Users

Nothing helps keep systems secure like teaching your users the dos and don’ts of IT security best practices. Do refresher training, set up reminders to change passwords, conduct regular service checks, and so on.

How Can UWT Help?

As more businesses use cloud-based communication, it’s crucial to prioritize strong cybersecurity and safety measures. Since 1996, United World Telecom has provided secure and reliable VoIP services. We know that security is important for high-quality, fraud-free VoIP calls. Get in touch with us now for any questions about improving your business communication system and protecting it from security risks.

Call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 and learn more about our privacy, security, and fraud control measures.

Understanding VoIP Architecture, Call Components, and Features

Voice over IP (VoIP) continues to be an evolving force in the world of business communication, reshaping and improving how businesses communicate with their customers. But how do you get started with building a VoIP architecture that supports a cloud-based phone system?

We’ve created this guide that goes over core components, elements, and equipment to help businesses make informed decisions, ensuring their VoIP infrastructure aligns with their communication needs and demands.

In this extensive guide, we’ll cover the following essential topics:

  • What is VoIP Architecture?
  • Importance of Efficient Communication Architecture
  • Switching to VoIP: Benefits + Features
  • Key VoIP Call Components
  • Planning Your VoIP Architecture: Best Practices + VoIP Diagrams

Let’s jump into it!

What is VoIP Architecture?

VoIP architecture details how the different components within a VoIP platform connect with each other to deliver voice calling functions.

It is a network topology that determines how real-time audio will travel through your organization’s internet and infrastructure setup to enable VoIP calling.

Voice over IP is the process of converting analog voice signals into digital packets and transmitting them to the desired destination over the internet. This technology makes internet calling possible while reducing long-distance communication costs.

For this to occur effectively, VoIP functions and components typically include:

  • Signaling: Needed for activation and operation of voice calls by allowing devices in the network to communicate with each other.
  • Ability to connect and disconnect calls: Connecting endpoints and transmitting voice in real-time.
  • Database services: Such as locating endpoints (and devices) via IP addresses, generating billing reports, and setting up security.
  • VoIP codecs: Converting voice to digital packets to transmit via endpoints. You can adjust these codecs to meet different criteria for call quality.

We’ll dive more into different VoIP call components below.

Importance of Efficient Business Communication Architecture

Whether setting up a cloud communication system or connecting VoIP to PSTN, you need to consider how you want incoming and outgoing calls to travel within your network. While the concept of VoIP is simple enough, the actual VoIP architecture that makes it all possible is a little more complex. To experience clear and reliable VoIP service, a number of different components must work together seamlessly.

This can be especially challenging in enterprise VoIP environments where hundreds or even thousands of users make calls at the same time. That’s why it’s important for businesses to have a clear understanding of VoIP architecture.

Benefits of Switching to VoIP for Improved Communications

So, with complications and challenges present, why do we recommend you switch to VoIP nonetheless? Simply because these challenges have easy solutions and VoIP is worth the time spent creating a robust and reliable communication system.

Here are the key benefits of including VoIP in your communications architecture:

• Low upfront cost — VoIP works within your existing network, so you don’t need to buy additional equipment, hardware, or software.

• Low-cost calling — Plus, IP calling severely cuts down the costs of international and long-distance calling. So, your business can save on global sales and customer service calls.

• Easy setup and use — Cloud solutions are often easy to set up with minimal installation. Our cloud telephony solution, for example, takes only a few minutes to set up with no need for coding knowledge or an IT team. This also means that you don’t need an in-house IT team to manage and maintain your VoIP system.

• BYOD-friendly — Use your VoIP service from any device and location. This means teams can use their laptops, smartphones, tablets, and computers to make and receive business calls.

• Global connectivity — And, you can use your cloud phone service from anywhere in the world. This means you can connect your local, global, remote, and distributed teams through one phone network, increasing collaboration and operational efficiency. Plus you can use advanced routing rules to ensure incoming calls are routed to the right departments in the right locations.

• Business calling features — You also get access to enterprise-grade functionality with features like local and toll-free numbers, international call forwarding, call routing, dynamic caller ID, IVR/ACD, etc. View our list of VoIP features to get an idea of what such a service entails.

• Local presence — Use these features to build a local presence in target regions and increase call connection rates.

Key VoIP Features

VoIP phone systems can provide an array of features and functionality because of the various components that go into making this service possible. With location-flexibility and high-quality routing, you can expect these top features from most providers:

  • Inbound and outbound call management
  • IVR / ACD systems
  • Advanced routing (time-based, location-based)
  • Simultaneous routing
  • International forwarding
  • Call flow builder
  • Voicemail
  • Fax
  • Caller ID management, and more.

Learn more about the advanced calling features United World Telecom offers.

VoIP Call Components

Now, let’s understand different call components—both hardware and software—that play a significant role in your VoIP architecture:

1. Signaling Gateway Controller (SGC)

The SGC is a translation device that passes call control information between dissimilar networks such as PSTN and IP-based networks. For VoIP architecture, this means establishing different endpoints and enabling functionality where one endpoint communicates with the other – also known as signaling. This gateway makes it easy to connect and translate calls between a PSTN and VoIP line.

The Signaling Gateway Controller is also known as a call agent for its call control functionality. And it also has a media gateway functionality that supports media control protocols such as H.248. This aside, the controller generates call detail records (CDRs), manages bandwidth policing, and provisions media connections.

2. Session Border Controller (SBC)

The SBC is a network component that secures VoIP and SIP-based networks. Typically, this controller is employed in enterprise VoIP infrastructures or networks sending and receiving business, fixed-line, or mobile VoIP services. The SBC is in charge of processing signaling messages and also handling all media traffic. They regulate and balance network traffic flow and manage bandwidth to ensure high performance.

3. Media Gateway

Media Gateways perform a few different functions to enable VoIP calling. The function of a specific gateway depends on your VoIP installation. They are primarily responsible for converting analog voice to digital packets and then transmitting these voice packets using RTP. And may even help with improving call quality through echo cancellation and silence suppression.

Now, if you have a converged PSTN-IP network — where it connects SIP trunks and POTS lines — then media gateways assist in the packetization (digitizing) of data. As such, it supports various trunking and compression algorithms as well as digital processing resources.

4. Media Server

Media servers enable added media-related features like voicemail, IVR, special tones, messages or announcements, voicemail-to-email, call recording, voice-based dialing, and so on. Servers are built to handle hundreds of SIP and VoIP calls occurring simultaneously. This way, they allow you to place and manage multiple calls at the same time.

5. Application Server

Application servers, on the other hand, power applications within your system such as call forwarding, call transfer, call detail records (CDRs), etc. These servers typically work alongside media servers and session controllers to enhance feature functionality.

6. Database Services

Databases record and store important registration details of all SIP devices as well as call logs and history.

7. SIP Services

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is an IP that manages the connection and disconnection calls between two endpoints. Because of this capability, SIP plays a significant role in the transmission of voice, video, and messaging across the internet.

8. Cloud PBX

A cloud PBX is an IP-enabled PBX that businesses can use as a control center for their communication systems. The PBX uses SIP trunkings for voice transmissions and it comes with other core telephony features such as IVR, routing, extensions, etc.

9. Endpoint Devices

These are your VoIP devices or devices you use to make and receive VoIP calls. These include IP phones, computers, laptops, softphones, fax machines, etc., that work with your VoIP phone service.

10. IP Network

An IP network connects multiple computers and devices via their specific internet protocol (IP) addresses. This allows users within this network to securely send and share information between established endpoints.

11. VoIP Codecs

To ensure high-quality audio during calls, codecs convert analog signals into digital packets in various degrees of compression. The best codecs for HD VoIP calls are G.711, G.722, and G.729.

Planning Your VoIP Architecture: Best Practices

When deciding how you want to set up VoIP within your business, you will need to keep in mind:

1. Determine Communication Needs

Start by understanding your existing setup and future expansion goals. In other words, what you need to support your business’ current communication needs, and what you may need to help the business grow and scale. The first step to planning your VoIP architecture is to determine your call needs. Consider these questions:

  • How many employees do I need to support now?
  • Where are my employees and customers located?
  • What kind of phone and network coverage will I need?
  • Do I have to support local, remote, global, and/or distributed teams?
  • Where will the organization be in 1-2 years? What communication needs might arise then?
  • Are there any problems we can solve with our new architecture? (new software, advanced routing, etc)
  • What VoIP features and functionalities will help teams be more productive and efficient?
  • What remote tools will my teams need access to?

Once you have answered these questions, you can start to identify providers and solutions that can help you achieve your goals.

Similarly, you’ll need to decide if you want to go fully cloud-based or simply upgrade your in-house PBX system with a SIP trunking service.

Related: Cloud PBX vs On-Premises PBX: Which is Right for Your Business?

2. Determine Bandwidth Requirements

This is an important step because if you don’t plan for bandwidth capacity in advance, call quality and connection will be affected. From what you receive from your ISP, you’ll need to set aside a chunk of bandwidth specifically for VoIP. Otherwise, your calls will compete with other internet activity, leading to lower quality.

To decide how much bandwidth you’ll need, consider the number of employees making calls simultaneously. Here’s a quick reference guide:

Number of Concurrent Calls Bandwidth Recommended
1 100 Kbps
5 500 Kbps
10 1 Mbps
15 1.5 Mbps
20 20 Mbps

Since VoIP calls require high-speed internet at all times, you want to make sure your ISP can support your VoIP service. This means contacting your ISP and VoIP providers and ensuring both services are compatible with your internet requirements.

3. Use VoIP Diagrams

Deciding which VoIP components and features are significant and how to place them in your infrastructure can be overwhelming. This is where VoIP diagrams come in handy. But first, what is a VoIP diagram?

VoIP diagrams help you illustrate how your network should be configured optimally and efficiently by outlining in a visual format.

VoIP diagrams help you decide how many endpoints you need to cover, what each endpoint needs, and how to connect all these different functioning parts together.

Here are some examples of VoIP diagrams to help you build your internal architecture:

A diagram of a VoIP architecture.

Still not sure what’s the right setup for your business? Our telecom experts can help you out! Chat with one of us today.

4. Get Reliable VoIP Services

Once you have an idea of how to set up your VoIP phone system, you’ll need to subscribe to a VoIP service. Take time to research and identify the right VoIP provider to meet your needs and budget.

  • When researching or changing VoIP providers, look for a provider who:
  • Has a variety of calling features,
  • Is compatible with your existing infrastructure,
  • Supports your forwarding and routing needs,
  • Covers your local, remote, and global teams,
  • Meets your communication budget and is scalable, and
  • Does not require additional fees or long-term commitments.

Most providers offer a free trial or demo to see how their service works in action. Try these out to get a feel for the service’s usability and interface. Once you’ve decided on the provider, you can set up your new phone system and train employees on how to use it.

We recommend businesses avoid using multiple VoIP providers as that situation can quickly become complicated. For instance, your architecture needs to comfortably integrate multiple providers and their products, which is hard to do. Additionally, when a crisis hits, it can prove difficult to identify the source of a technical issue and troubleshoot it. On top of that, your teams are tasked with juggling multiple contracts, regulations, and agreements. Working with only one global provider can simplify your processes and increase efficiency.

5. Plan Network Monitoring & Security

As with any new product, conduct regular checks to ensure your VoIP architecture is working as desired. It helps to decide how your teams will do this beforehand so you don’t waste crucial time later. This especially helps in disaster recovery.

Typically, a VoIP network requires constant monitoring; this can be done on both the provider and your end. Since VoIP is cloud-based and hosted, your provider will have network monitoring protocols in place to ensure calls are routing smoothly and without interruption. On your end, you’ll want to ensure your system meets essential VoIP requirements such as enabling QoS settings, checking uptime, running speed tests, and more.

Use our VoIP troubleshooting guide to determine and resolve common VoIP problems that can affect call quality.

Part of network monitoring is ensuring security is set in place and protecting your systems as required. As internet-dependent, VoIP systems are prone to issues like attacks on the network, viruses, remote eavesdropping, and so on. This means watching for cyber-attacks and data breaches and planning in advance how to tackle them. Common security best practices include:

  • Routinely changing and implementing strong passwords
  • Encrypting WiFi or using a secure VPN
  • Enabling network address translation (NAT) when required
  • Keep systems and equipment up to date
  • Educating employees on security measures, and so on.

To learn more, check out our guide to VoIP security.

Adding United World Telecom as Your VoIP Provider

Building your business’ VoIP phone system can seem overwhelming; after all, you need to efficiently fit multiple pieces together. That’s where a professional VoIP service can support you.

For over 27 years now, we, at United World Telecom, have been assisting businesses and enterprises set up their VoIP phone service. From supplying you with VoIP services to responsively troubleshooting any issues that come up, you can rely on our 24/7 support team and telecom experts.

Want to see our service in action? Book a demo today! Call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 or chat with us online! We’re here to help!

Dropped VoIP Calls: Causes & Fixes

Given that voice calls still hold a pivotal role in customer service, ensuring call quality is paramount for customer satisfaction. Which is why dropped calls can be incredibly frustrating, especially when you are in the middle of an important business communication. These untimely termination of calls can easily result in the loss of valuable customers.

And yet call drops remain a common VoIP issue.

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of dropped VoIP calls, their causes, and effective troubleshooting methods.

What is a Dropped Call?

A dropped call occurs when a call ends abruptly on its own while conversing on the phone.

For instance, imagine you’re on a business phone call while driving, and as you enter an area with a weak or no signal, your call gets disconnected. In this case, the call drops because your phone loses connection to the cellular network.

Dropped VoIP calls, on the other hand, happen due to a variety of other reasons from poor internet connection to defective equipment.

Impact of Dropped Calls

Reliable communication is a cornerstone of business effectiveness and customer satisfaction. And therefore, the impact of dropped calls can be far-reaching. Here’s how it can affect your business:

  • You could lose a crucial sales opportunity or miss an important business discussion, resulting in potential revenue loss.
  • Dropped calls can not only frustrate your customer but also drive them toward competitors, jeopardizing your customer base.
  • Persistent call drops can tarnish your brand image, damaging the reputation of your business.
  • The burden of dealing with angry customers could take an emotional toll on your agents, adversely affecting their morale and, consequently, overall productivity.

6 Causes of Dropped Calls

Numerous factors can lead to call drops, such as poor signal strength, interference, network congestion, and technical glitches. In these scenarios, the phone system struggles to maintain a stable connection between the callers, resulting in an abrupt call termination.

Let’s look at the common causes of dropped VoIP calls:

1. Inadequate Network Capacity

Dropped VoIP calls happen when your internet speed isn’t up to the task, especially with voice and video calling. This can result in network congestion and data loss, making your calls sound garbled or cutting it off completely. When your network is overloaded or doesn’t prioritize calls, then too you might face call drops. In case of mobile calls, weak signals or congested areas can lead to dropped calls; same goes for weak or disrupted Wi-Fi signals.

Related: Guide to VoIP Network Requirements

2. Loss of Signal

In VoIP calls, your voice becomes digital data sent over the internet in real-time. So if the signal weakens or disappears, it’s like losing bars during a regular call. This can result in issues like delays and dropouts. And if the signal worsens significantly, you might lose the call altogether. VoIP relies on a steady and consistent internet connection to function properly.

3. Connection Time Limit

Sometimes VoIP service providers set time limits for each call session, typically based on the user datagram protocol (UDP) timeout value. Providers put this cap or limit on to protect users from excessive billing charges or avoid line congestions. If your call goes beyond the allowed time, the session could end abruptly. Problems also arise due to session initiation protocol (SIP) timers, misconfigured or faulty on your router.

4. Hardware or Software Issue

If the device you’re using, like a phone or computer, encounters technical problems, it can lead to sudden call drops. Similarly, if your networking device, such as a router, isn’t working properly or is physically damaged, it can weaken your internet, making it unsuitable for clear phone calls. The same goes for using outdated software.

5. Audio Detection Problems

When your system or microphone malfunctions, your voice may not get transmitted or received correctly, leading to call terminations. This situation can be likened to the other person suddenly losing the ability to hear you in a traditional phone call due to microphone issues.

For instance, when your microphone malfunctions, your voice may not get transmitted or received correctly. And when audio is not detected, the VoIP system may view it as a failed call and therefore, drop it.

6. Environmental Reasons

Environmental factors like interference from other devices, power outages, bad weather, and maintenance work can also mess up phone signals, causing calls to drop. While these external factors are typically not in your control, you should try and limit them as much as possible. For example:

  • Avoid scheduling business calls during maintenance work
  • Set up redundancy routing and failover forwarding as a backup
  • Reduce use of other devices during work hours, and so on.

Related: How to Achieve the Best VoIP Call Quality for Your Business?

How to Troubleshoot Dropped VoIP Calls: 5 Fixes

When it comes to tackling the frustrating problem of dropped VoIP calls, we’ve got you covered. From optimizing your VoIP network settings to fixing malfunctioning devices, there are practical solutions that can make a big difference.

1. Improve Network Bandwidth, Internet Plan, and Signal Reception

To begin, assess your internet capabilities using online speed testing tools. Check upload and download speeds and jitter times. Switch to a wired or ethernet connection for stable connectivity. Consider upgrading to a faster internet plan for improved call quality. Optimize your Wi-Fi signal by relocating your router to a more central spot in your home.

Also, consider closing or disabling unnecessary apps that might be consuming too much internet bandwidth and potentially causing call disruptions. And using VoIP QoS settings to prioritize traffic over your network.

Watch this video to learn more about VoIP Quality of Service (QoS) and addressing quality issues:

2. Increase Session Time

Extend the duration of your calls without interruptions by tweaking your internet settings. Examine your VoIP settings to increase session time. You can also contact your VoIP and internet telephony service provider (ITSP) to eliminate or extend time limits for each call session. If the timer runs out, the system assumes your call is over and ends the session, so adjusting these settings can prove quite helpful.

3. Check Hardware and Internal Issues, Use Proper Functioning Hardware

Ensure your devices and software are correctly set up, and keep them up to date by installing updates. Confirm that all hardware is in good working order, and replace or repair any malfunctioning components that might be causing call drops. Check for loose cables and ensure secure connections. Try rebooting your router by turning it off, waiting a few minutes, and then turning it back on. Additionally, don’t forget to have your mobile SIM card checked for issues.

4. RTP Adjustments

Real-time transport protocol (RTP) is like a set of rules for sending live audio and video over the internet. It’s essential for smooth internet phone calls, video chats, and more. RTP silence detection can be overly sensitive, causing call drops. Adjust or disable silence detection settings in your VoIP application or device.

5. Contact Internet and VoIP Service Providers

Lastly, if you’ve tried the previous tips and call drops persist, reach out to your internet service provider (ISP). They can conduct diagnostics to ensure that your internet connection is stable and suitable for VoIP calls. Your ISP can help address any underlying network issues that may affect your call quality.

If the problem persists, it could be because of network infrastructure, technical support, or inadequate service quality that your current VoIP service provider cannot address. So it may be time to change VoIP providers! A good service provider offers consistent call quality and support.

How Can UWT Help?

As you know, one cannot understate the significance of dropped VoIP calls. And so it is vital to partner with a reliable VoIP service provider like United World Telecom for clear and uninterrupted call connections. With a proven track record of delivering high-quality VoIP service since 1996, we are well-equipped to address all your queries related to VoIP calls.

Don’t let dropped calls hold you back. Speak with our in-house experts to upgrade your business communications system. Contact us now!

7 Best 1300 Number Providers

Australia offers a plethora of compelling advantages if you are looking to expand your business into the country. The country’s strong economy, ranked 12th globally, offers a stable and reliable environment for doing business.

Australia’s commitment to renewable energy and innovation — coupled with its multicultural workforce, — nurtures diverse industries, including technology, healthcare, and agribusiness. Furthermore, the government’s business-friendly policies ensure a welcoming environment for foreign enterprises.

One key tool for companies expanding into the country is acquiring an Australia 1300 number.

So, here’s a list of the best 1300 number providers to help you choose the best for your needs. We’ll also look at:

Using this number can streamline communication and bolster customer relationships, ultimately contributing to the success of your business.

What are 1300 Australia Numbers?

1300 numbers are known as local rate numbers or national numbers. Businesses use this type of number to provide a single contact for customers across Australia. Along with the prefix of 1300, these numbers are typically 10 digits long.

When a customer calls a 1300 number from a landline within Australia, they incur the cost of a local call. This happens regardless of where the business is located, hence, customer calling is not limited to specific states. This makes it more affordable for customers to reach out to businesses using 1300 numbers.

You typically will share the costs for incoming calls, unlike Australia toll-free numbers where you pay the entire cost. The shared cost of these fees can vary based on the service provider and the specific plan or package chosen.

Wondering how much 1300 numbers cost? In general, 1300 Australia numbers with a basic plan start at $12 per month.

How to Choose a Reliable Australia Phone Number Provider

1300 numbers are widely available in Australia, and you can purchase one from a local or global provider. Global providers can help you get a local Australia number even if your business is not located locally. This is typically a good option for companies looking to expand to Australia.

To start, determine your budget and understand the pricing associated with 1300 numbers. The pricing components may include setup fees, monthly rental charges, call charges, etc., which can vary among service providers. Depending on the nature of your business, you can get a vanity number with memorable letters, such as 1300-MY-BIZ. Check with the service provider for availability.

Compare the features offered by different VoIP service providers. These may include international forwarding, call routing, outbound calling, and call recording. Choose the provider whose offerings align with your business requirements.

Other factors you should consider are

  • Ability to port an existing number
  • Local compliance and regulations related to 1300 numbers in Australia,
  • Call quality,
  • Contract terms such as contract length, cancellation policy, etc.

7 Best 1300 Number Providers

So, where do you start looking for an Australia phone number provider? Here’s a list of the best 1300 number providers based on their features and pricing.

1. Global Call Forwarding

Global Call Forwarding has been a trusted name in the telecommunication world. As a global provider of international phone numbers, the company has a vast inventory of numbers from over 160 countries. GCF offers cost-effective cloud-based services designed to help you streamline your communication processes.

Pricing: Five flexible 1300 number pricing plans with usage, starting at $11.95/month and a 6.8¢ per-minute rate.

Features: Wide range of free and premium calling features:

  • Call forwarding
  • International calling
  • Call recording
  • Local presence
  • Advanced IVR
  • Auto attendant
  • Advanced routing, and more.

2. United World Telecom

United World Telecom is a leading telecommunications service provider that provides reliable and high-quality business telephony solutions, including virtual phone numbers, call forwarding, and other related services. They provide phone numbers from more than 150 countries globally.

Pricing: Five flexible 1300 number pricing plans with usage, starting at $11.95/month plus a 6.8¢ per-minute rate.

Features: Wide range of features designed to enhance your communication experience:

  • Call recording
  • Advanced IVR
  • Customized greeting
  • Call transfer
  • Voicemail-to-email
  • Time of the day routing
  • Sequential forwarding, and more.

3. Koala Calling

Koala Calling is an independent telecom agent. Their offerings include international call forwarding, USA virtual phone numbers, US and Canada toll-free numbers, international toll-free numbers, and more.

Pricing: Pricing plans with usage start at $11.95/month plus a per-minute rate.

Features: Virtual number plans come with features:

  • Call forwarding to multiple devices
  • Voicemail-to-email
  • Custom greetings
  • Virtual receptionist, and more.

4. Zintel

Zintel is a telecommunication company and a part of the Over the Wire family, a provider in the ANZ marketplace. As such, the company provides a comprehensive voice offering for local Australia and New Zealand businesses. They offer local numbers and call management features.

Pricing: Pricing is based on cost of the number and cost of usage. 1300 Australia numbers cost $5/per month. Plus, three usage plans with call rates, features, and setup fees.

Features: Standard features included with all plans:

  • Call forwarding
  • Call overflow sequential
  • Voice-to-email
  • Call reporting and analytics
  • Call blocking
  • Business hours routing, and more.

5. Alltel Australia

Alltel Australia is a prominent name in the Australian business telecommunication space. The solutions offered by them include phone systems, business numbers, contact centre software, managed IT, and more.

Pricing: Pricing is based on cost of the number and cost of usage. 1300 numbers cost a one-time fee from $0 to $99. Three postpaid usage plans starting at $16/month and prepaid plans at $50/month.

Features: Numbers come with several features:

  • Route calls to multiple answer points
  • Custom greetings
  • Recorded messages
  • Voice prompt menus (IVR), and more.

6. Optus

Optus is another well-known telecommunications company in Australia. The company provides a range of communication services from mobile, telephony, internet, satellite, entertainment, and business network services.

Pricing: Optus inbound 1300 number plans start at around $27.50/month.

Features: Variety features offered:

  • Call distributor
  • Call overflow
  • Voicemail
  • Call access
  • Call barring, and more.

7. Arrow Voice & Data

Arrow is one of Australia’s privately owned telecommunications and IT companies. The company’s wide portfolio includes cloud voice solutions, phone systems, unified communications, business IT solutions, and more. Arrow provides voice services by collaborating with 8×8, Avaya, and Microsoft.

Pricing: Pricing plans are based on the type of service you choose: 8×8 Cloud Connect, Business Cloud Phone, or Avaya Cloud Connect. Contact Arrow for more information.

Features: Based on the plan chosen:

  • Unlimited local calling
  • HD video and audio
  • Call recording
  • Call handling
  • CRM integrations, and more.

Calling Australia with United World Telecom

With this introduction to the best 1300 number providers, you are better prepared to test new waters. Expanding into Australia offers vast business opportunities with a strong economy and innovation support. Using an Australia 1300 number lets you enter the market and test out new products and services. And you can start small with a local number and a virtual presence. Then, scale and expand as needed.

As a global telephony provider, United World Telecom can help you unlock the potential of Australia with our well-established global presence, feature-rich services, and flexible pricing plans.

Ready to make your mark in Australia? Contact United World Telecom and let us help you grow your business! Chat with us online or request a demo!