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Migrating from ISDN to SIP

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Has your business considered upgrading its legacy ISDN phone system to gain new features and capabilities? Then, you must consider an ISDN to SIP migration.

SIP trunking is cost-effective and highly scalable. And this makes it an excellent choice when upgrading your phone system.

Here is a brief guide to replacing ISDN with SIP trunking, including the benefits of an ISDN to SIP migration and the different steps involved to make this transition smooth and cost-effective.

Why Switch to SIP?

SIP phone systems are often considered a modern alternative to traditional business phone systems. By replacing ISDN with SIP systems, you can add more flexibility and scalability to your phone system.

It is a good practice to upgrade legacy phone systems to take advantage of updated and advanced technologies. Here we will look at how you can migrate to SIP and what an ISDN to SIP plan looks like.

How Can SIP Trunking Benefit Your Business?

There are many benefits of switching to SIP trunking, from making your phone system cloud-friendly to aiding in global expansion to bringing more flexibility.

SIP trunking uses session initiation protocol (SIP) to send voice, video, text, and other unified data through the internet instead of traditional POTS lines. With this ability, you can run your business communications from any location and connect with your team wherever they are located.

And the best part? You don’t need additional hardware or new equipment to get your SIP system running. Global SIP trunks can easily integrate within your existing PBX. So, you do not need to install a new system. Simply bring SIP trunking into your current system. Additionally, your business can even expand to new markets and regions without increasing overhead costs.

So, with SIP trunking, you get a more advanced and scalable phone system while keeping your communication-related costs low.

What to Keep in Mind When Migrating to SIP Trunking

When doing an ISDN to SIP migration, note that:

  • You will need to conduct an audit of your current phone system to gauge the scope of the migration.
  • Since SIP can work alongside ISDN, switching won’t cause any downtime or interruptions.
  • Tests that ensure the system runs smoothly can be conducted around your business’ schedule and activity.
  • Research different SIP trunking providers to get a sense of what they offer and what their rates are.

Debunking SIP Trunking Myths

When it comes to new (and complex) technology, it is easy to get sucked up in misinformation and doubts. And so, before we discuss how to migrate from ISDN to SIP, let’s go over some common SIP trunking myths and discuss them:

  • SIP call quality is poor — When it comes to digital communication, there is a tendency to believe that communicating over the internet can cause packet loss, latency, and network jitter. But SIP trunking uses dedicated IP connections designed and optimized for high call quality. Because of this, they offer the same, if not better, call quality than ISDN calls.
  • SIP trunking comes with hidden costs — SIP trunking is a cost-effective alternative with two primary costs: monthly fees and call costs. You choose the plan at the beginning of your contract. With the plan, you can make and receive local and international calls for low costs. And there are no installation or set-up fees involved. In fact, with some providers, you won’t even pay a cancellation fee, if you choose to find another provider. One additional fee might be to upgrade your PBX system and internet bandwidth if you have low internet capacity. But even with these costs, you will find the service ROI-friendly.
  • SIP trunks are not secure — Another common misconception is that cloud communications (like other internet services) come with cybersecurity risks and can be easily hacked into. However, with advanced technology, cloud communication, and SIP trunking providers offer a great deal of security. Additionally, you will need to work with your internet service provider to ensure firewalls and security measures are in place.
  • Migrating to SIP will result in downtime — As we mentioned before, many are afraid that switching services or communication systems can lead to interruption and downtime. However, with SIP trunking and a quality service provider, you can minimize VoIP downtime and migrate without pausing your service.

ISDN to SIP trunking migration.

ISDN to SIP Migration in 7 Steps

So, what does an ISDN to SIP plan entail and how can you prepare for such a migration? Here is a 5-step plan to replace ISDN with SIP trunking:

1. Identify and Document Your Requirements

Before you get started, you need to identify what you need from this migration:

  • Do you need new business phone numbers? If so, how many numbers do you need?
  • What types of numbers do you need: local or toll-free?
  • Do you need call management features such as cloud IVR, auto-attendant, call queues, call monitoring, and so on?
  • What locations do you need calls forwarded to?
  • Do you need extensions or dedicated numbers (also known as direct inward dialing numbers) for specific employees or departments?
  • Do you need a softphone to support remote workers?

It is also a good practice to document what you currently have and want to keep, such as phone numbers, extensions, voicemail inbox, etc.

Once you determine what you need from your new system, you can start planning for the SIP migration.

2. Communicate with Your Employees

Before making the switch, bring your employees into the migration process. Get their input and feedback to identify additional areas of conflict and improvement. Some questions to ask employees include:

  • What do you think of our current business phone system?
  • Have you encountered any issues using this phone system? If so, provide details.
  • What would you like from a new phone system? Explain why.
  • Can you think of anything that will improve internal and external communication?

3. Make a Plan and Scope the Job

The next step to replacing ISDN with SIP is to make a plan. This will help you determine what your business should expect in terms of scope, transition, and cost. Depending on the state of your current system, you may have to transition in parts (floor by floor or branch by branch) or migrate the entire system in one go.

Work with your communications or SIP trunking provider to get an idea of what the transition will look like, and how your business can prepare. When preparing your plan, consider the following:

  • Employees — List down all staff members and collect their contact information.
  • Vendors and suppliers — List down contact information for essential vendors, suppliers, and service providers.
  • List all communication equipment — Create an inventory of all business-related phones, laptops, computers, desk phones, fax machines, smartphones, etc.
  • Call routing — Identify what numbers will route calls to which numbers and locations and when.
  • Backup data — Make sure information and data are backed up and that backup processes are working properly.
  • Setup safekeeping for critical data — Keep critical data extra safe as you may need this to enact disaster recovery and business continuity. Think logins and passwords, alternative numbers and phone and lines, etc.
  • Include remote working capabilities — Here’s an opportunity to explore remote working options for your employees. Review how your new system can support this flexibility.
  • Create and test a business continuity plan — This plan will help your business continue working and offer services if something goes wrong.

4. Conduct an Audit: Evaluate Existing Systems

Next, evaluate your current system and anticipate possible problems and changes required. Look at the infrastructure and bandwidth capacity. What is your current system lacking that a SIP phone system can solve?

Check with your SIP provider how much bandwidth and network capacity you will need for your business’ call volume. This information will help you decide if additional connections are required to prioritize voice traffic over other internet usages. Similarly, communicate your call volume expectations with your provider. They will help you understand what infrastructure will work best for your business needs.

Lastly, you may even want to let your provider on future expansion plans. This will help you determine if this provider’s service is scalable and can assist your business in growing when it is ready.

5. Get and Install a SIP Trunking Service

Once you’ve completed the audit, the next step is to find a reliable SIP trunking provider and subscribe to the service. Research different providers to get a sense of what they offer and how much they charge.

You should also look for additional features and tools they offer that can further enhance your business communication system; for example, call management features like call routing or softphones, and so on. Another important factor in choosing a SIP trunking provider is their support team. Is their support team easily accessible? Do they offer 24/7 customer support, in case your business needs help off-hours?

Once you’ve settled on a SIP provider, it’s time to set up and get your SIP system up and running. One significant benefit of replacing ISDN with SIP is that SIP trunking requires less equipment and hardware. And since most SIP services are hosted and maintained by your SIP provider, you have little to no installation. You might need to tweak and adjust minor things, and you might choose to install the service section by section. This ensures no downtime or interruption.

Finally, prepare for the ISDN to SIP migration by getting the right equipment ready.

6. Test Your New SIP System

As you set up your SIP phone system, you must test it and its different components to ensure everything is working smoothly. Most SIP systems can integrate with other business applications such as CRMs, video conferencing tools, APIs, and so on. Test your system with core business applications to identify any issues or hiccups. Similarly, your provider should test the service and phone numbers before the system goes live. Keep your business continuity plan ready, in case there are any issues and you need a backup.

7. Go Live and Make Business Calls

Finally, once your SIP system has been tested and any issues have been resolved, you can fully switch over to SIP. The installation and activation of the system is relatively quick; it is the preparation that can take some time. However, with the right SIP provider and the right tools, this transition will occur smoothly, and your business communication system will work effortlessly.

Ready to Switch Over to SIP?

If you are looking for ways to upgrade your existing business phone system without increasing expenses, then SIP trunking is the way to go. Want to learn more? Our experts at United World Telecom can help you understand how SIP trunking works and how it can help your business specifically. Call us today at 1 (877) 898 8646 or chat with us online!

What Equipment is Needed for VoIP?

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To get the most out of your VoIP phone system, you need the right VoIP equipment to support your business communication needs.

While most newcomers consider VoIP to be expensive and complicated, the truth is that the technology is fairly simple and inexpensive. There is not a lot of hardware or expensive technology required.

In fact, with VoIP, you can convert existing technology into business powerhouses. How?

Let’s have a look at the equipment needed for VoIP.

Must-Have VoIP Equipment in 2021

What equipment is needed for your VoIP system needs depends on the type of VoIP user you are—residential user or business user.

A residential user will need only a PC / laptop, softphone, and a headset. A small business, on the other hand, might need more. Business users will need a web phone or softphone, a computer, a headset, high-speed internet or data, and a business VoIP subscription.

Without the right VoIP equipment, you will struggle with poor VoIP call quality, leading to frustration and miscommunication. To combat this proactively, make sure you get the right equipment and VoIP setup.

Here is a checklist of equipment needed for VoIP to use your service successfully:

1. VoIP Phones: Hard Phones or Softphones

The main VoIP equipment you need is a phone to make and receive calls. Many VoIP and virtual phone service providers offer global call forwarding to route calls internationally to specific locations and numbers. This way, you can divert calls to your VoIP phones or locations as needed.

A VoIP phone uses IP technology (the internet) to transmit calls between two or more parties. There are two types of VoIP phones:

    • Hard phones — are like traditional phones but come with specialized digital hardware.
    • Softphones — are web-based applications or software that can be downloaded on different devices.

You can even use a combination of both types of VoIP phones to support in-office and remote users. Since softphones can be used from any location and device, you can

2. Headsets

Next, you will need VoIP headsets for your users. VoIP hard phones come with a microphone and receivers. However, if your users use a softphone, then they will need a headset with a microphone. While the tendency is to purchase inexpensive VoIP headsets, these headsets can lead to VoIP issues such as latency and network jitter.

Take time to find good quality headsets that are hands-free, remain connected, have noise-canceling technology, and, overall, improve call quality.

equipment for voip

3. Computers or Laptops

Next, you will need personal computers to complement your service. You can use computers and laptops to not only get work done but also make and receive your VoIP calls through a softphone. This way, users can manage calls and update their CRM or task managers as they work without interruption. And, users working remotely can also use their laptops to connect through cloud-based and virtual software and continue working.

4. High-Speed and Reliable Data

Next, if you’re using VoIP for business, then you need a robust internet setup. This includes a reliable and stable internet connection with a modem and router. VoIP does not demand much but needs enough bandwidth to handle your call volume.

While setting up your internet, work with your internet service provider and IT team to set up VoIP QoS for your VoIP service. VoIP Quality of Service (QoS) can help troubleshoot voice over IP issues. When QoS is set up, you can prioritize network traffic to make business calls a high priority. This way, even with everyone using the internet for multiple reasons, the quality of your business calls remains untouched.

5. VoIP Phone Service

Finally, you will need a VoIP phone service, and you can get this from any virtual phone service provider. However, you want a provider who offers quality service for a reasonable price and has easy-to-access, responsive customer service. When settling on a VoIP provider, ask about the installation and set-up processes and the different features that come included with the service. Look for customer reviews and case studies to get an idea of how the product works in action. Then, choose a provider that meets your needs and budget.

Get Your VoIP Phone Service with United World Telecom

Now that you know what equipment is needed for VoIP, you can get VoIP phone service for your business. United World Telecom can get you set up with high-quality VoIP phone service for your business. We have been offering cloud communication solutions to businesses around the world for the past 25 years. Learn more about our VoIP service by speaking with our experts. Call us today at 1 (877) 898 8646 or chat with us online!

What is a SIP Proxy and How Does a SIP Server Work?

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We write a lot about SIP. That’s because we have been a leading SIP trunk provider for over twenty years. Read on to learn more about SIP servers and how they work.

What is a SIP Server?

A SIP server or SIP proxy processes session initiation protocol (SIP) requests. This server is the main element of an IP private branch exchange. SIP is an internet protocol used to initiate and receive voice and video communication by transmitting data packets across an internet connection. This enables the quick and easy transmission of SIP calling between 2 or more parties.

How Does a SIP Server Work?

A SIP server works alongside a voice over IP or VoIP phone system. Both systems together make cloud communications possible. A SIP proxy can:

  • Set up a session between 2 or more endpoints; such as audio or video conferencing between 2 or more parties
  • Replace one endpoint for another; during call transfer or routing
  • Negotiate and adjust media parameters and specs during a session; such as putting a call on hold
  • Terminating a session

It is important to note that the SIP server does not actually transmit media. Media transmission is performed by a media server using the RTP protocol. Within an IP-PBX, the SIP server and media server are present on the same machine. However, a high-volume SIP server like a VoIP provider may separate the two servers on different machines and balance the load.

Additionally, there is no fee or charge to get a SIP address for your server. These addresses connect to unique phone numbers. This enables each user on a SIP network to have a direct inward dialing number to place calls. Furthermore, companies can use these systems in a package such as a hosted PBX.

SIP Proxies: Modes of Operation

A SIP server generally operates in one of two modes: Stateless or Stateful.

1. Stateless SIP Proxy: This type of SIP proxy receives and transmits messages but does not keep any record of the transmission. A stateless SIP proxy works this way: Send > Receive > Delete. This server works at a faster speed because of its limited functionality. Additionally, this simplicity in functioning makes it desirable to small businesses as they can easily scale and upgrade their SIP system.

2. Stateful SIP Proxy: This type of SIP server transmits as well as stores messages and information to access later. Because of this functionality, it can pick up a request message and try again. Or, it can reroute the message through another aspect of the network. A stateful SIP proxy works this way: Send > Receive > Save. An example of this is Time of Day Routing that routes incoming calls based on the time of day and predetermined rules. For example, calls made to a business after hours can be forwarded to a different office location or remote agent.

What Does SIP Trunking Do?

SIP trunking is a service that enables your PBX system to send VoIP and SIP calls over the internet. This service works with virtual telephone lines and sends and receives messages through bandwidth data. You can get multiple SIP trunks and cover various geographic areas. SIP trunking makes it possible for your business to expand operations beyond your immediate location.

An image of a SIP proxy and server.

Benefits of a SIP Proxy and SIP Trunking

SIP servers and SIP trunking have become increasingly popular with businesses of every size. Here are the top benefits of switching to SIP:

1) Enable Unified Communications
SIP trunking enables voice, video, and text messaging from one platform. There’s no need to invest in different services to keep your communications stable. You can make and receive high-quality calls, audio and video conferencing, and texting from SIP trunking.

2) Forward Calls
With a SIP server, you can quickly and easily forward or direct incoming calls to several SIP and VoIP devices. This is helpful for any office with a busy call volume. Plus, with a stateful SIP proxy, you can save and access calls or messages that didn’t go through the first time and try again later.

3) Cut Communication Costs
VoIP and SIP are in demand because it not only offers high-quality communication but also a comfortable price. Sending and receiving voice, video, and text over a SIP server costs almost nothing to users.

4) Network Security
Secure VoIP is a necessity within any business. A SIP server protects your communication system from hackers by disconnecting calls and users without credit or authorization.

5) Access to VoIP Features
With SIP trunking, you can gain access to useful voice over IP features that can help organize calls and provide a professional image to your business. Features include, but are not limited to;

  • Call forwarding and routing options
  • Automated greetings
  • Analytics and reports
  • Unlimited extension, and so many more

Where Can I Get SIP Trunking?

United World Telecom can help! You can buy SIP trunks directly from our website or contact one of our experts to learn more.

What is VoIP QoS and How to Set it Up?

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Are you noticing more dropped calls or jumbled audio during your business VoIP calls? While cloud phone services can be much superior to traditional phone services, they cannot guarantee high-quality phone service at all times. This is because many factors influence the quality of a VoIP call. Here we discuss the importance of VoIP QoS and how to set it up.

VoIP QoS: Definition, How it Works, Best Practices

VoIP Quality of Service (QoS) is the process of addressing and fixing voice quality issues so your employees can effectively communicate with business contacts. This process is crucial to understanding how your business phone system works and what you need to do to improve it. QoS is one such way to maintain good call quality.

What is VoIP Quality of Service (QoS)?

VoIP QoS prioritizes network traffic passing through a router to provide acceptable-to-good service to users. Quality of service, therefore, helps address voice quality issues within a virtual phone system.

In a VoIP phone system, voice protocols are converted into data packets and transferred between two or more users. However, in order to obtain high call quality, these data packets need to arrive at the destination together and in the right order. And that’s where VoIP QoS comes into play as it sorts out traffic by dedicating resources where needed.

Is QoS needed for VoIP?

VoIP calls can be prone to jitter, latency, and packet loss issues which lead to bad audio quality, network congestion, missed or jumbled audio, dropped calls, etc. And for any business, this is a major issue because it interferes with your teams’ ability to offer uninterrupted service. Important business communications revolve around:

  • Sales calls and demos
  • Client and lead generation
  • Customer success and customer support
  • Technical and IT support
  • Remote team management
  • Internal business meetings
  • Meetings with clients and business contacts
  • Employee interviews

Network congestion can easily affect the quality of these calls, which in turn, leads to misunderstandings, frustration, low brand trust, low productivity, and more. Without QoS, VoIP calls are not functioning optimally. And that must be addressed.

Troubleshooting VoIP Call Quality with QoS

So, what does QoS do for VoIP phone systems? Routers generally handle data packets via a ‘first in, first out’ order. And all traffic is given the same level of priority. This means that all traffic from every device (phones, computers, mobile phones, etc) on a network get the same level of priority.

When bandwidth usage is high — too many people using the internet — these data packets can end up in long queues. Call quality competes with other applications running on the network. This is true for employees working within an office or remotely.

So, naturally, this affects voice call quality and successful VoIP deployment.

VoIP Quality of Service helps balance out how much bandwidth is needed for a certain type of traffic or certain devices. In other words, it spreads out the available bandwidth across devices and applications to ensure the right traffic gets through hassle-free.

VoIP QoS Settings & Requirements

So, what does your business need to do to ensure high call quality? Here, we will go through QoS settings and requirements to be aware of and best practices your business can implement.

VoIP Standards for High Call Quality: QoS Requirement

In order to improve VoIP call quality, you will need to set up QoS accurately. For good VoIP call quality, Cisco suggests these VoIP standards:

VoIP Quality of Service Standards

Understanding QoS Settings

Your business needs to troubleshoot VoIP issues to ensure optimal service. Let’s take a closer look at what these recommendations and settings mean.

DSCP EF
DSCP is short for Differentiated Services Code Point and EF is short for Expedited Forwarding. This model is designed to provide resources to reduce latency (delay) in traffic. In other words, this value sorts through traffic to prioritize VoIP traffic, leading to better, less interrupted call quality.

Packet Loss
Packet loss is the number of packets that get lost during transmission. More than 3% packet loss means low audio quality. Faulty routers, loose cables, and wires, low bandwidth, or poor WiFi signals can lead to packet loss.

Latency
Latency is the delay between the time the speaker speaks and the receiver hears them. Fix latency to avoid users speaking over each other or missing important pieces of audio.

Jitter
Jitter refers to a data packet arriving after the rest of the packet. Data packets may take different paths to reach the destination. This way one or two packets may reach later than the others and this can cause missed calls or jumbled audio. Fix jitter to ensure all packets arrive accurately and voice quality is maintained.

Bandwidth
Bandwidth for VoIP refers to the rate at which data is transmitted or transferred through an internet connection. Lower bandwidth leads to slow speed and low VoIP call quality.

How to Set Up QoS for VoIP?

The first step to setting up VoIP QoS for your business phone system is to reach out to your internet provider and VoIP service provider. These sources can provide exact guides on how to prioritize voice traffic.

Next, implement those suggestions and other call quality best practices. Work with your IT team to make sure everything is set in place for optimal call quality. You may even educate your employees on using other services (streaming services) while working.

VoIP Call Quality Best Practices

Here are the top VoIP call quality best practices to ensure your phone system works efficiently and calls are not interrupted:

1. Check and upgrade your internet speed: Make sure your network has enough bandwidth to handle call traffic. Regularly test your internet speed.

2. Upgrade cable connections: Use wired Ethernet connections such as a Category 6 certified cable. These cables can offer low latency and can support high levels of phone communication and data transfer.

3. Check network and equipment configuration: Network and equipment that are not appropriately configured can lead to disruptions and low call quality.

4. Test network connections regularly: Check ping, jitter, latency, and bandwidth regularly for network congestion.

5. Upgrade your VoIP provider: If your service is still affected despite troubleshooting, then it may be time to find a new phone service provider. Research providers to understand what services they offer and how they can help with VoIP call quality issues.

Get VoIP for Business With United World Telecom

United World Telecom offers VoIP phone numbers and services to businesses around the world. Whether you are a small business looking to expand or are a remote company, we can help you create a robust phone system with high voice quality and reliability. Call us today to learn more about our solutions!

9 Ways to Minimize VoIP System Downtime

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One of the top benefits of using VoIP for business communication is that these systems are reliable. With proper redundancy, you can ensure that if your phone system incurs an issue in one location, calls can be routed to another location or line. This way, you can ensure business continuity and minimize VoIP system downtime.

Here we will look at the different ways you can minimize phone system downtime to ensure your business continues operating even during an internet outage or disaster.

How to Minimize VoIP Downtime During an Internet Outage?

VoIP phone systems have consistently proven to be more reliable than POTS lines. However, since VoIP systems work over the internet, they still run the risk of downtime if somehow your system loses connection to the internet.

Keeping Your VoIP Phone System Running Efficiently

With VoIP systems, you can set up backups so your business communication does not suffer during an outage. Service outages do not have to disrupt your business phone calls. You can either wait it out and hope it restores on its own, or you can prepare in advance to minimize downtime. Here are some ways to minimize and prevent phone system downtime:

To Prepare and Prevent Before an Outage

  • Choose the Right VoIP Provider
  • Set Up Automatic Call Forwarding and Routing
  • Invest in VoIP Monitoring Services
  • Route Incoming Calls to Other Locations
  • Have a Backup ISP

To Do After an Outage

  • Check and Confirm the Power Outage
  • Connect to a Backup Battery Power Supply
  • Use VoIP on Your Smartphone
  • Divert Calls to Voicemail or Other Locations

How to Prevent and Minimize Phone System Downtime

So, what can you do to minimize VoIP system downtime and keep your VoIP phone system running during an outage or disaster?

1. Choose the Right VoIP Provider

It is crucial that you choose a VoIP phone provider that meets your needs but also promises reliability. Research a provider’s record for reliability and the options they offer in case of an outage. Ask your provider what steps they have in place to prevent and minimize phone system downtime, especially during an outage or disaster. Ask about their security policies. You also want to check where your provider hosts your VoIP systems in safe locations.

2. Set Up Automatic Call Forwarding and Failover Routing

A popular way to minimize VoIP system downtime is to forward incoming calls to different locations or devices when your main VoIP phone system is unavailable. This way, during an outage or disaster, incoming calls automatically route to offices and employees in other locations or mobile devices.

With United World Telecom’s VoIP service, you can set up call forwarding with various failover rules for each number or line you have.

3. Invest in VoIP Monitoring Services

It is also a good idea to use a third-party VoIP monitoring service. This service keeps tabs on the status of your VoIP phone system. It will look for and identify potential network problems that may cause disruption. By monitoring your system and alerting users of issues, you can quickly troubleshoot any issues and get back to work.

How to minimize VoIP downtime.

4. Route Incoming Calls to Other Locations

When you use simultaneous ringing or sequential call forwarding features, you can forward calls to different locations when needed. With simultaneous ringing, you can ring multiple phones with one number. And with sequential forwarding, you can ring calls down a predetermined list of numbers — when the first line is busy, the call automatically moves to the next person in line. This way, when your main office or service center is not available, calls are routed and rung on other lines in different locations. This is another good technique to reduce VoIP system downtime.

5. Have a Backup ISP

To protect from internet outages, it is also recommended to have a backup WAN provider. Since VoIP services only need a low-latency connection, any broadband connection should work. You can find a high-speed wireless provider as a backup, or use 4G LTE technology from a cellular provider.

How to Minimize VoIP System Downtime After an Outage

While there are ways to prepare for an outage, and even prevent one, certain situations may be out of your control. So, what can you do to recover from an outage and get your communications up and running?

6. Check and Confirm the Power Outage

First, check to make sure you have a power or internet outage in all rooms and among all devices. Check the electric service panel, if you have a circuit trip, flip the circuit breaker to ON and everything should be working again. You may even check what the electric and internet situation is with neighbors and look for updates on local outages.

7. Connect to a Backup Battery Power Supply

Connecting to a backup battery source is a temporary solution but gives you enough time to identify the issue and resolve it. You can use an uninterruptible power supply (USP) and connect your WiFi system and phone system to it to restore connectivity and power. Note that this solution only works if your ISP is not affected by the power outage.

8. Divert Calls to Voicemail or Other Locations

Using your smartphone, access your VoIP provider’s control panel, and adjust call forwarding settings. You might choose to route calls to your voicemail box or to employees in other locations. You can add in multiple numbers and SIP devices that these calls will forward to. This way, callers trying to reach your business can still get the assistance they need. You may even choose to add a new greeting or pre-recorded message letting customers know that your phone system is down but they can leave a voicemail message, and your reps will get in touch with them as soon as possible.

9. Use VoIP on Your Smartphone

Lastly, if your power or internet outage does not affect the use of your smartphone, you can use your VoIP phone service through the smartphone as a temporary solution. For example, you can download our softphone app on your smartphone and make and receive business calls with your business phone number(s). With our softphone, you can:

  • Update customer and contact information
  • Transfer calls to other users
  • Make outbound calls with dynamic caller IDs
  • Access voicemails, and more

Do You Have a Backup Plan in Place?

The best way to minimize VoIP system downtime is to prepare for it. The above are some ways you prevent loss of data and usage by setting up backups in place. Want to learn more about how our VoIP phone service is a reliable solution? Call us today and chat with our representatives!

Top Business VoIP Trends to Know in 2021

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Technology continues to advance over time with new and improved options available to users of all kinds. And for businesses, this is always exciting because there are new ways to improve customer experience (CX) and scale vertically. One of these technologies that impact businesses the most is business VoIP.

Future of Cloud Communications: 2021 VoIP Trends

VoIP, a type of cloud communications, makes it easy for users to communicate through the internet securely and reliably. And VoIP providers are developing new ways to increase their offerings and provide businesses with a well-rounded phone system.

So, what’s new in VoIP? Quite a lot: from leveraging AI to UCaaS and CCaaS to 5G networks. If your business is trying to catch up, you may want to consider an upgrade to your phone system to help improve CX and customer satisfaction.

Here are the top 9 business VoIP trends in 2021.

1. Unified Communications as a Service

One of the top business VoIP trends in 2021 includes bringing all communication and collaboration needs into one platform. This becomes crucial for businesses with multiple offices and locations around the world and for those with remote workers. Unified communications (UC) and cloud communication tools improve a business’ ability to be flexible and mobile and scale as needed. With collaborative features and real-time updates, your teams can stay organized and productive, no matter the location.

2. Mobile Unified Communications

Besides working within your business phone system, UC services are also being extended to mobile. The rise of mobile UC means you can transform your mobile or smartphone into a business powerhouse. You can use this device then to conduct both personal and business interactions and give your business more mobility. Mobile VoIP systems give you access to smartphone and PC apps, which increase productivity on the go.

Related: UC Trends You Need to Know in 2021

3. Advanced Video Conferencing Services

Since the COVID-19 pandemic led to many businesses switching to work-from-home or remote work capabilities, video conferencing became crucial for the proper functioning of many businesses. Video conferencing tools were in high demand and that competition was troublesome for VoIP service providers. This led to one of the newest VoIP trends: video conferencing. VoIP providers are upping their game and now offering multi-channel communication services, including video conferencing. They do this through integrations and partnerships with video conferencing services. And while this is the current solution, evolving technology will open doors for advanced VoIP software with more conferencing and collaborative capabilities to make doing business over the cloud easier and more user-friendly.

4. Customizable Features

Each business is unique and follows specific processes and guidelines that work best for the business and its employees. The same goes for your business phone system. Cloud communication is known greatly for its customization capabilities. Need to upgrade your system, add new lines without interrupting service, or integrate with other services? Cloud communications and VoIP systems can help you create a business phone system that works best for your business needs. Customize your system for the number and type of users you have, where they are located, different departments, and so on.

VoIP trends to watch in 2021.

5. Seamless Integrations

VoIP integrations can help you expand your VoIP phone system’s capabilities. You can connect your office calendar, CRM, content management systems, lead generation platforms, video conferencing services, chatbot automation, and more. Most popular integrations that work well with cloud communication platforms include:

  • Salesforce
  • HubSpot
  • Azure
  • OneLogin
  • Zapier
  • Clio

6. Leveraging AI

As seen in recent years, the use of AI within business has increased. This goes for the business VoIP world too. From handling customers to automating responses and ticketing systems, AI has been used to improve customer experience and satisfaction. Most companies are using AI to automate their websites and communication platforms to streamline services and improve engagement. This VoIP trend will continue in the coming years as AI has exceptional potential. Common uses of AI for VoIP include:

7. Security Issues

For the longest time, users considering VoIP were concerned about internet security and cyberattacks. But VoIP and internet services have come a long way and can provide secure avenues for their services. Business communication involves customer and company data and privacy which needs to be kept safe from intruders and hackers. VoIP security ensures that your business can communicate safely with its customers and employees. Learn more about how VoIP tackles security concerns in our guide to VoIP security.

8. 5G

In our fast-paced world, we expect quick response times and processes. And businesses need to meet these expectations when dealing with customers. 5G networks — one of the most anticipated VoIP trends — are here to solve this very issue and to improve VoIP call quality. With 5G, your business can:

5G networks are built to improve customer satisfaction and CX by making your business more available and responsive.

9. VoIP in More Places

More and more businesses are switching to VoIP to improve their communication and customer outreach. From schools to small businesses to large enterprises, every type of business can benefit from VoIP services. This makes business VoIP more present in more places around the world.

Need a VoIP Upgrade?

Want to learn about United World Telecom’s VoIP number solutions and how we can help your business improve internal and external communication? Call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 or chat with our experts today!

What is SIP Calling?

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Communicating effectively with customers is crucial to the successful running of any business. It is through your customers that you can improve your product and increase sales. And so, if your business isn’t doing everything it can to make it easy for customers to connect with you, then you are falling behind. Learn what SIP calling is, how it works, and how businesses can benefit from using a SIP phone system for business communication.

SIP Calling: The What, How, & Why

To understand SIP calling (or SIP trunking), you must first be familiar with Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). SIP is a signaling protocol that initiates real-time voice calling between two or more parties. This IP is in charge of starting, maintaining, and terminating the call over an internet network. By doing so, SIP technology makes it possible for users to make and receive high-quality calls over a virtual network. Let’s look at how SIP calling works and how businesses can use SIP for improved communication.

What are SIP Calls?

SIP calls use Session Initiation Protocol to transmit voice calls over a SIP trunk or SIP channels. In other words, SIP calls are voice calls sent over an internet protocol or internet connection.

Often used interchangeably with voice over IP or VoIP calls, the two systems are different. VoIP makes SIP calls possible. This is because SIP uses VoIP technology to transfer calls from one end to another destination over a stable internet connection.

How Does a SIP Call Work?

Traditional phone systems consist of a PBX system and phone lines connecting to a PSTN.

SIP technology removes the need for a traditional, physical connection. With SIP, you do not need to be connected to a phone company or geographical location. And, you do not need multiple phone lines for different departments. You will get a SIP trunk, instead, to run your virtual phone system. You can then establish voice communications virtually via the internet.

And what’s the end result? You can get a virtual phone system with call management and call routing features (global call forwarding, outbound calling, etc.) without physical or multiple phone lines. This system can be used from any location, connecting multiple devices.

sip calling for business

Why Does Your Business Need SIP Calling? 5 Benefits of SIP Calls

So, how can SIP calling benefit your business? From being a cost-effective alternative to creating a unified communications platform, SIP trunking can help businesses organize their internal and external communications to connect better and increase productivity and efficiency. Let’s look at the top benefits of SIP calling for business:

1. Save on Business Calling Costs
First and foremost, the cost of SIP calling is highly affordable for businesses needing multiple phone lines and with various departments. Not only can you make and receive high-quality voice calls inexpensively, but you can also bypass international calling rates when offering global customer support.

2. Scale Up or Down as Needed
SIP trunks are designed to support a business’ scalability needs. This means that if you need to scale up and add more direct inward or outward dial numbers, you can do so easily. And the same goes for scaling down; that is, removing lines or pausing certain services and features. And most of these actions can be done by you, reducing the number of times you will panic-call your SIP provider.

3. Improve Communications with Better User Experience
SIP trunks, and SIP technology generally, are easy to use. You do not need to employ new IT teams or conduct rigorous training or worry about setting up complicated software. You and your employees can simply manage everything from a user interface provided by your SIP provider. Use this interface or control panel to set up features and service, make changes or adjustments, add lines, and more.

4. Experience High-Quality Voice Calls
When using SIP, your business no longer relies on physical landlines. This means that your communication system does not easily fall apart due to power outages or weather conditions. SIP calling utilizes redundancy to automatically reroute calls from one location to another if the previous location’s user is unavailable or inactive. This is a reliable way to make and receive high-quality business calls.

5. Offer Excellent Customer Service
Never miss calls by routing them to different locations, in case the first is unavailable. Reduce the number of dropped calls or low-quality calls. All of these factors come together to help your business offer excellent and uninterrupted customer service to not only local but global customers as well.

Get SIP Calling with United World Telecom

With a SIP phone system in place, your business is gearing up to communicate with your customers conveniently and cost-effectively. Learn more about how SIP trunking can boost business communication by chatting with our experts or calling us at 1 (877) 898 8646.

What Is SIP ALG and Why VoIP Users Should Disable It

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In this post, we discuss what SIP ALG is and how it can affect the quality of your VoIP phone calls. Disable SIP ALG to improve VoIP call quality and ensure there are fewer interruptions.

What is SIP ALG?

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is an internet protocol with voice data packets that initiates, maintains, and terminates voice communication between two users. SIP is used for voice calling over LTE and VoIP phone systems.

Routers used to connect to the internet also segment the provider and your internal network through Network Address Translation (NAT). This is to add an additional layer of security through a firewall allowing only authorized systems access as they connect with a network’s computers and devices.

The main purpose of SIP ALG — Application Layer Gateway — is to prevent problems caused by a router’s firewall. ALG prevents these issues by keeping an eye on the VoIP traffic (voice data packets mentioned earlier) and modifying them, when necessary. ALG works as a proxy to rewrite the destination for these packets. By doing this, ALG can improve connectivity.

Why VoIP Users Should Disable SIP ALG

Many routers have the SIP ALG feature turned on by default. With this feature on, VoIP traffic (voice data packets) can get lost due to router firewalls when transferred between the phone and the VoIP provider.

And because of this, it can lead to multiple VoIP problems, including:

  • One-way audio
  • Phones not ringing on incoming calls
  • Calls sent directly to voicemail, especially when not set to do so
  • Dropped calls, even after connecting

This is why one of the best ways to improve VoIP call quality, among others, is to disable the SIP ALG feature.

SIP ALG phones
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How to Disable SIP ALG in your VoIP System

Disabling SIP ALG is quick and easy, and depends on the type of modem your business uses. For most routers, you will need to:

  • Log into your router’s control panel.
  • Navigate to Advanced or Security settings.
  • Locate SIP, ALG, or Firewall settings (depends on your router’s set-up).
  • Uncheck the SIP or ALG box.
  • Save and reboot/restart your router.

If your router’s settings are not as clear, you can always reach out to your provider and ask for specific instructions.

Protect and Maintain VoIP Call Quality

Disabling SIP ALG is a common way of troubleshooting VoIP issues. However, there are other VoIP call quality issues such as jitter, packet loss, and latency that can affect the way your business communicates with its customers. Most of these issues stem from low-quality internet or insufficient bandwidth. Speak with our representatives today to learn how your internet bandwidth can affect your VoIP phone system. Call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 or chat with us online today.

Troubleshooting the 7 Most Common VoIP Issues

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Having VoIP problems and don’t know how to solve them? Here we go over troubleshooting for the 7 most challenging VoIP issues.

7 Common VoIP Troubleshooting Problems

VoIP phone systems help businesses save about 50%-75% of communication-related costs. This is because such systems offer flexibility, mobility, and scalability which helps users connect from any location and communicate through advanced technology.

However, even VoIP phone systems — with their advanced features, high voice quality, and more — are not devoid of possible quality issues. Thankfully, most VoIP call quality can be improved without IT help so you can continue communicating effectively.

Here are the most common VoIP issues and a simple guide to troubleshooting them.

1. Inability to Make Calls from a Device

Struggling to make VoIP calls or outbound calls from your device? An inability to make calls can be due to a failure to connect, inadequate internet support, and more. For some businesses — like a call center — not being able to make outbound calls to customers and leads can essentially shut the business down until you find a solution.

Most likely, the cause of this problem is the SIP ALG feature is turned on, on your router. Session Initiation Protocol Application Layer Gateway (SIP ALG) is a common feature in commercial routers and is turned on by default. The main task of a SIP ALG is to reduce or prevent issues resulting from router firewalls. It does so by constantly inspecting your VoIP call traffic. However, SIP ALG may modify packets (voice signals) in unexpected ways, leading to problems such as incoming and outbound calls failing and phones not registering.

Solution: A simple solution for outbound VoIP calls failing would be to turn off the SIP ALG feature. If you still experience the issue, then try repositioning the VoIP devices onto a VLAN.

2. Dropped Calls

One of the most common VoIP problems is dropped calls. This causes a lot of frustration, especially during business calls. This is when the call suddenly ends mid-conversation without the speakers hanging up. Call centers or large enterprises with large call volumes face this issue the most.

Solution: First, ensure all devices, software, and hardware associated with your VoIP phone system are updated and running on the current version. If you are still experiencing the issue, disconnect all devices and turn them back on one at a time. This may be time-consuming but it will help you identify exactly which device is the root cause of the problem. Speak with your small business VoIP provider if you notice that calls get dropped after a certain amount of time. They may have an automatic disconnect feature to ensure calls are not left open by mistake.

3. Jitter

Jitter is one of the most common VoIP problems. Jitter directly affects voice quality and communication, leading to jumbled, muffled, or missing audio. As voice data packets travel from one destination to the next, some packets may arrive before the other. This leads to out-of-order or missing parts. If such voice quality occurs for more than 30 milliseconds then the overall call quality is impacted. As such, when finding a new provider, look for one that can keep the delay under 20 milliseconds.

Solution: Your internet may not have enough bandwidth for VoIP. Upgrade your internet connectivity by contacting your ISP.

fixing voip issues

4. Echo

This is a pretty straightforward VoIP concern. Telephone echo leads to voices being repeated at various points, leading to confusion and possible miscommunication. Often the recipient of the call hears the echo while the caller may or may not be aware of this VoIP problem. Echo can be a result of either feedback during the conversation or a VoIP phone system issue. As such, it can be troublesome when conducting important business calls such as conference, sales, and support calls.

Solution: First, if your phone is using the speaker option, take the call off the speakerphone. When using a speakerphone, the voice has to travel through multiple microphones and speakers leading to disruption in the audio for the recipient. Additionally, you may even need to test the phone headset you use and consider getting a high-quality replacement. Lastly, echo can be a result of a bad internet connection or inadequate bandwidth. Check your speed with an Internet speed test and also reevaluate your wall jacks, Ethernet cords, and other cables to ensure there are no damages.

5. Broken/Muffled Audio

Broken, muffled, or choppy audio refers to words and audio being dropped, interrupting calls when connected. This is one of the most common VoIP issues users face. Thankfully, it has a solution.

Solution: How you solve the problem of broken audio depends on who is experiencing it. If your business is experiencing the issue, it is most likely due to insufficient bandwidth that leads to packet loss as all voice packets are transferred successfully. A common VoIP troubleshooting solution for this problem is to turn off other applications that take up a lot of network space and are not needed for business. This includes streaming services like YouTube or Netflix and so on. Additionally, make sure your router’s Quality of Service (QOS) settings have the VoIP service on priority.

6. No Sound

Similar to broken audio, a voice call with no sound after connecting can lead to frustration and interruptions in communication. No sound in a voice call can be a one-way issue (where one party hears but others can’t) or a two-way issue (where both parties cannot hear).

Solution: One reason for a lack of sound during calls may be because of firewalls blocking RTP packets. Examining and possibly disabling your SIP ALG can solve this problem.

7. Phone Doesn’t Ring on Incoming Call

This VoIP issue is pretty straightforward: missing calls from important customers and clients because the phone doesn’t ring. Another version of this issue is if your calls are sent directly to voicemail instead of an employee.

Solution: Thankfully, this common VoIP problem has an easy solution. First, ensure your device is registered within your VoIP phone system and VoIP provider. Also, check to make sure your device is not on the Do Not Disturb setting and has the correct call forwarding settings and configurations.

Choosing a Reliable VoIP Provider

Need a new VoIP phone system that comes with high call quality and easy problem-resolution? Finding a reliable VoIP provider for your small business can be tough if you do not know what to look for. United World Telecom has been in the business for over 25 years and we offer top-quality communication services. Try our VoIP phone system solutions! Call us today at 1 (877) 898 8646 or chat with us online!