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How to Measure and Improve VoIP Call Quality

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A well-functioning business VoIP system ensures that your business stays connected with customers and clients, no matter where you are located. But an important part of using VoIP numbers or a VoIP phone system is to make sure your call quality is efficient and not compromised. In this post, we will look at how to measure and improve VoIP call quality.

What Are the Most Common Issues With VoIP Call Quality?

Before we delve into how to measure your VoIP call quality, it is imperative to first understand what are the causes of poor VoIP quality. There are a few different factors affecting the quality of your voice over IP system. Fortunately, these VoIP issues are easy to fix.

So, what are the major causes of poor VoIP quality?

1. Latency

Latency refers to lag or delay that occurs between a speaker and receiver. In other words, there is a delay between the time the speaker says something and the receiver hears it. This results in echoes or speakers speaking over each other. While latency doesn’t affect the VoIP call quality, it does make it difficult to communicate effectively, leading to frustration and confusion.

2. Jitter

Jitter occurs when a data packet is delivered later than the rest of the packet. VoIP and SIP calls occur through the transmission of data packets from one user to the next. A data packet can take various paths through the interweb to reach its destination. Furthermore, all the packets may not take the same path which can lead to one or two packets arriving later than the rest. High levels of network jitter can result in bad VoIP call quality and missing or jumbled audio.

3. Packet loss

Packet loss refers to the loss of data packets during transmission. There are a few different types of packet loss:

  • Completely lost and never reaches the destination
  • Arrived late, therefore discarded
  • Contain errors, therefore discarded
  • High packet loss leads to bad call quality as pieces or chunks of audio are missed or are hard to decipher.

4. Poor internet connection

Since VoIP calls occur over the internet, having a strong internet connection is essential to the proper functioning of your business phone system. If your ISP is optimized merely for surfing the internet and uploading or downloading files, then you won’t have even bandwidth for speedy VoIP connections and transmission of data packets. You can use online speed testing tools to get a good understanding of your internet capabilities such as:’

  • Upload speeds
  • Download speeds
  • Jitter times, etc.

How is VoIP Quality Measured?

The Mean Opinion Score (MOS) is the leading tool to measure VoIP call quality. MOS measures subjective call quality and its scores range from 1 (bad VoIP quality) to 5 (excellent VoIP quality).

Some standards and metrics to consider when measuring VoIP include:

  • The ITU standards P.861 (PSQM) and P.862 that state how MOS scores should be calculated.
  • The ITU standard P.563 that calculates call quality passively and includes an R factor to estimate a MOS score.
  • PESQ and PAMS methods that need a license from Psytechnics.
  • Cisco IOS that has built-in tools to measure metrics and estimate MOS during test calls.

How Do I Test VoIP Quality?

In order to test VoIP call quality, you will have to monitor network latency, jitter, and packet loss. VoIP quality tests will enable close monitoring of calls. Call details, activity reports, and alerts can help you identify areas that need improvement or solutions.

What is a Good MOS Score?

MOS measures VoIP quality by assessing the user’s opinion of the call’s quality to score it. On a scale of 1 (bad) to 5 (excellent), a good score for VoIP calls falls between 3.5-4.2 range. This is what a MOS chart looks like:

MOS Quality Issue
5 Excellent Perfect quality
4 Good Less perfect; may include some loss of quality
3 Fair Slightly strained quality
2 Poor Strained quality
1 Bad Heavily strained quality

7 Ways to Improve VoIP Call Quality

So, how can you improve VoIP quality, and what are some helpful troubleshooting methods? Here is a list of 7 ways to fix your VoIP call quality:

1. Check your internet speed

The first step to ensuring high VoIP call quality is choosing the right internet service provider. Make sure you have enough bandwidth for VoIP calls and regularly test your internet speed using online testing tools.

2. Check network & equipment configuration

One of the top troubleshooting methods is to check if your network and equipment are properly configured. A network that is not properly configured can negatively affect call quality. This is especially true if you are transmitting voice and data.

3. De-jitter your VoIP

Jitter is often a result of network congestion, packet lags, configuration issues, etc. The best way to combat jitter is to invest in a de-jitter buffer such as a router or Edge device that receives a Real-Time Protocol (RTP).

4. Check your cabling

Most of the current cabling for phone communication and data transmission is a CAT 5 or higher. Ensure your phone system has the right wiring and cabling for its purpose.

5. Choose good handsets

Another quick and easy troubleshooting method is to get new and improved headsets. Low-quality headsets can easily hinder call quality and make simple communication difficult and unclear. Get good headsets for your employees so they have the best tools to work with.

6. Avoid hubs on your local access network (LAN)

A LAN with multiple hubs can result in low call quality. The recommendation is that each phone is individually connecting to the switch.

7. Determine whether “crackling” is because of faulty wiring or hardware problems

Lastly, if you are experiencing “crackling,” it is important to identify where it is coming from so you can fix it appropriately. Are all lines experiencing crackling? Are cords not properly or tightly plugged in? And so on.

Improve VoIP Quality and Enhance Business Communication

One of the top reasons why businesses are switching to Voice Over IP is because issues related to these phone systems are easy to identify and fix. Ready to switch to VoIP for business? Call us today to find out how our VoIP systems can benefit your business!

The Ultimate Guide to Voice Over IP Security & Encryption

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Voice over IP security is something you must pay close attention to. In this detailed guide, we will cover everything that you need to know about voice over IP security and encryption.

Are VoIP Calls Secure?

While voice over IP is fairly secure, there is still a possibility that hackers may target and compromise your VoIP system. To avoid such security breaches, VoIP security should be taken seriously and steps must be taken to ensure a secure VoIP phone system.

The 6 Most Common Vulnerabilities of Your Voice Over IP System

In order to best secure your VoIP numbers against hackers, you must be aware of the different VoIP security vulnerabilities and types of attacks possible. Here are the top Voice over IP security vulnerabilities to be aware of:

1. Default security settings
VoIP credentials need to be configured accurately. Your web phone is essentially a smartphone that has computer-like capabilities. Instead of using default settings and passwords, users should configure secure credentials to avoid vulnerabilities.

2. Using VoIP over WiFi
Using shared WiFi or networks can often cause security breaches. And since VoIP systems need an internet source — mostly WiFi — to work effectively, there is a chance of the security being compromised when using a public or shared WiFi connection instead of a secure office connection.

3. Attacks on the network
Similar to the WiFi being hacked, one’s user network can also be disrupted and breached. There are various types of network attacks. Attacks on one’s business phone network can directly impact their VoIP security.

4. Remote eavesdropping
In most cases, when your system is vulnerable or attacked, hackers have the ability to eavesdrop on confidential and private information. This information can then be used against your company, either via blackmail or by selling it to the competition.

5. Viruses infecting the system
The internet can be easily invaded by viruses and malware. Any internet application and device associated with it is therefore prone to viruses and security breaches. And since VoIP uses the internet, it too remains vulnerable to such attacks.

6. VoIP phishing
Phishing, also referred to as vishing, is a concept similar to catfishing. With VoIP phishing, when a call is made, the caller pretends to be from a credible organization and inquires about private or sensitive information. These callers often perform VoIP phishing by gaining information about you and your company which makes them appear as legitimate and credible. This creates a false sense of security which may result in sensitive information being shared.

How to Recognize a VoIP Attack

So, how do you know if your VoIP phone system has been attacked? Here are a few key indicators of a VoIP security breach:

1. Huge monthly bills
Has your monthly VoIP bill increased dramatically and unexpectedly? If so, there’s a good chance that your VoIP system has been attacked. Hackers are able to make a call’s IP similar to one recognized by your system. This allows them to use your VoIP infrastructure to make multiple calls without being charged.

2. Suspicious call history
Similar to the above issue, if your call history is irregular and doesn’t fit the number of calls your business is making, it is likely that a hacker is using your system to make calls. To combat this, keep tabs on your call history, check it regularly, and make note of unrecognized call patterns and disparities.

3. Redirected internet searches
If a search through your VoIP system has been redirected to an unknown or unwanted page or website, then it is a sign of your internet system being hacked. Always remember to log out of the system when users are done.

Is Voice Over IP More Secure Than PSTN?

VoIP can be more secure than PSTN depending on the measures your business and your VoIP provider take to protect it. This leads us to the next section that details various methods to increase VoIP security for your business phone system.

Are VoIP Calls Secure?

How to Protect Your VoIP System

There are various strategies that businesses can implement to have a secure VoIP system. Encrypting voice traffic and running regular security checks are the best ways to protect your VoIP calls. Let’s look at the top best practices for voice over IP security:

12 Best Practices to Secure Your VoIP System

1. Encrypt voice traffic
Voice encryption is of utmost importance. Encrypt voice traffic and other traffic that moves through your VoIP system using encryption techniques.

2. Encrypt WiFi
Besides encrypting your voice traffic, you should also encrypt your WiFi providing it with maximum security from breaches.

3. Use a VPN
A virtual private network or VPN adds an additional layer of security. A VPN protects calls occurring over mobile or wireless networks and is a good solution to keep your system secure for on-site as well as off-site workers.

4. Strong passwords
This goes without saying. Make an effort to understand your security system, change default security settings, use strong passwords, and change passwords regularly.

5. Run regular security checks
Conduct regular security checks to test your system and see how it responds and how your security measures perform. Look for backdoors, vulnerabilities, or traces of past hacks.

6. Enable Network Address Translation (NAT)
Network address translation (NAT) is a router feature. This feature gives your VoIP system and devices associated with it a private IP address that is only visible on your LAN. It, therefore, acts as a wall between your system and the internet, making it difficult for outsiders to view your IP address. If they can’t view the IP address, then they can’t use it to hack your system.

7. Close Port 80 With a Firewall
VoIP devices — especially phones — on a local access network need ports to connect to the internet. A port is an active channel located on a router. Port 80 or the Hypertext Transfer Protocol is a port on the router that has HTTP traffic. HTTP traffic is the kind that is used on most websites. This is why port 80 is prone to easy hacking. Use a firewall to close your port 80 so that hackers can’t use it to access the web interface.

8. Keep systems and software up-to-date
Whether it is the computers’ operating systems or anti-virus software, keeping these systems and software up-to-date is crucial to security and protection. You may even consider using an intrusion prevention system or VoIP firewall to add additional layers of security.

9. Avoid international calling, unless needed
Unless your company works in international business and calling internationally is crucial to its operations, it is a good practice to disable international calling. However, if your business needs to call internationally, then make sure to check call records and history often to ensure there are no irregularities.

10. Consider remote device management
Remote device management enables remote access to a device which can then be wiped if the employee quits or is fired, or if the device is stolen. Whether your business issues laptops or implements a remote device management policy, ensure you activate remote device management on devices used by employees.

11. Educate users about VoIP security
It is important that all users of your VoIP phone system understand how the system works and how to keep it secure. Take time out to educate your employees about VoIP security and best practices.

12. See something, say something
By educating employees about VoIP security, you can train them to observe and notice irregularities or suspicious activity which they can then report to you. Such suspicious activity should then be brought to the notice of your VoIP provider.

Most Common VoIP Encryption Methods

In order to encrypt your VoIP traffic, you need to first understand how VoIP and SIP work together. SIP technology or Session Initiation Protocol in a VoIP phone system begins and ends a call session. SIP vulnerability occurs when a hacker invades the SIP process and uses it to eavesdrop on the call, collect sensitive information, and more. To secure your VoIP system, you must first secure your SIP transmission. Here are some VoIP encryption methods to consider:

  • Transport Layer Security (TLS)

Typically, this type of security is used to encrypt a VoIP SIP system when sessions begin and end. TLS keeps your VoIP secure by authenticating a security certificate and encrypting the information transmitted between two or more parties.

  • Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP)

Typically, this type of security is used for high bandwidth VoIP usage. For example, you can use SRTP to secure voice calls and avoid bad or low call quality. SRTP protects voice data and information during the call by encrypting the call and adding message authentication within the channel.

  • Physical Protection

Lastly, you want to protect your company’s data from unhappy employees and other users who may have physical access to your VoIP system and hardware. The best way to avoid privacy and security breaches, such as the ones mentioned above, is to limit access to your system and enable remote device management.

Learn More About How to Secure Your VoIP System

Enabling VoIP security is essential to ensuring high-quality and fraud-free voice calling. This will help you offer secure services to your clients and keep their data safe. And doing so goes a long way in building strong customer relationships and credibility. Learn more about United World Telecom’s VoIP systems for business by speaking with our experts today!

What is IP Telephony?

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Here we explain what IP telephony is and why companies should consider this type of phone system for business communications.

IP Telephony: Definition

IP telephony is any phone system that runs on the internet instead of traditional landlines. In other words, it uses the internet — internet protocol (IP) — to send and receive voice transmissions. Voice over IP (VoIP) is another term for IP telephony.

In a private exchange or IP PBX system, messages and data are transmitted digitally on a local area network. Voice messages are converted to analog voice signals and delivered to the recipient. However, an on-premise PBX system can lead to high hardware, installation, and maintenance costs. A hosted PBX or cloud phone system is preferable where digital data is sent to the provider and the provider routes to the appropriate destination.

Over time and with advancements in telecommunications, IP telephony can now offer high quality international calling along with advanced phone features. Plus, running an IP phone is much cheaper than plain old telephone service. No extra hardware is required. You can make and answer calls from virtually any device and any location.

Top 6 Benefits of VoIP and IP Telephony

So, why are more businesses using voice over IP? Here are the top six benefits of IP telephony

1. Low Running Costs
A hosted VoIP service or virtual phone system is run by your VoIP provider. This means that they take care of the hardware and maintenance required. And your business does not need to worry about purchasing additional hardware or installation fees. The provider handles call routing, call queues, etc. All you need is the right equipment (computers, desk phones, headsets) and a reliable internet connection.

2. High-Quality Service
Advancements in internet and communication technology have led to the transfer of high-quality voice and video over the internet. Because of this, you don’t have to worry about dropped or interrupted phone calls. This can greatly help improve and maintain your business’ professional image.

3. Scalability
With Voice over IP, your business can scale and grow as needed. If you need new phone numbers, they can be added to your existing plan. Direct inward dialing makes it easy to add more lines for new employees. Need to change how or where calls are being routed? Just change the rules in your online account. With virtual phone numbers, you can expand to new areas and markets as/ when needed.

4. Tools for Global Expansion
Lastly, you can expand your business globally with local and international toll free numbers for different countries. If you want to offer sales and customer support service to a new city, state, region, or country, virtual numbers and an IP telephony service can help you create a local presence. And you can do this without having to relocate or open a field office in different areas.

5. Access to SIP Trunking
SIP trunking is a telephony service that enables outbound voice from a PBX or SIP server. You can, therefore, provide international communication with customers anywhere in the world. All through one communication platform instead of using separate services and subscriptions.

6. Advances Features
phone system comes with a variety of advanced communication features for better call management. Popular features include:

    • Advanced call forwarding
    • Auto attendants
    • Interactive voice response
    • Outbound calling with a web dialer and custom caller ID capabilities
    • SMS/MMS forwarding
    • Video conferencing
    • Call recording (inbound and outbound), and more

Get Lower Bills and Higher Call Quality with IP Telephony

IP telephony can not only improve your call quality but also the way your business handles calls and customer service. If you are looking for an upgrade, speak with one of our experts to see how VoIP can enhance your business phone system.

POTS: Plain Old Telephone Service Explained

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Wondering what POTS or plain old telephone service entails and whether that is the best  phone service for your business? Look no further. Here we explain how plain old telephone service works and the key terms to understand.

What is Plain Old Telephone Service?

Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) refers to a phone line or traditional phone service which works through physical wires. This type of phone service enables analog voice transmission over copper pair wires. A POTS line is able to transmit voice messages across different countries and continents. Because of these abilities, POTS has been the standard phone service for individuals and businesses since its inception in the 1880s.

However, the creation of voice over IP or VoIP phone systems has seen a gradual shift to cloud communications, especially for business communication.

How Does a POTS Line Work?

Originally, transmission and communication between two points relied on an operator to connect them to the right place. With this technology, long-distance calling was more expensive than short-distance calling.

However, POTS automated the switching ability so that operators were unnecessary to the process. A POTS line works through copper wires connecting various points together. The phone service establishes a dedicated circuit between two points for the time of the transmission.

With a plain old telephone service, businesses are connected to central offices located nearby. And the central office, in turn, connects to long-distance offices or residents. This made communication transmission more digital and less manual. And it reduced the cost of long-distance communication. To connect parties, a call routes over one or more switches operating on local, national, or international levels.

Plain Old Telephone Service Technology

Some common terminology associated with POTS phone system technology are:

1. Circuit Switching
Now voice by itself cannot move through a POTS line. Sound waves need to be converted into electric signals to pass through the network. Copper wires are able to transmit analog signals, however, they need a dedicated switch to travel through. While dedicated circuits are reliable, the line is reserved for only one call.

Circuit switching required operators to plug wires into a common patch panel to connect two parties. Connections that required two exchanges would need two operators to plug the caller and receiver’s wires at the same time into the same wire called a trunk.

Then came automated switching which worked by responding to signals from a calling device. This type of switching eliminated the need for operators.

This switching was later replaced by the crossbar switch which is an assembly of switches among a set of inputs and outputs. This is a switch as each crosspoint. When this switch is closed, it enables the connection between one of the inputs and one of the outputs. This technology used common control networks that enable the switching network to conduct tasks such as call processing, monitoring, operation, etc. However, these devices were complicated and costly, as well, leading to the creation of the transistor.

2. Transistor
The transistor gave rise to digital networks enabling phone lines to carry digital signals in “packets.” Packets do not need the transmission channel to be an open and dedicated circuit. Instead, it transmits voice and other messages independently through the switches.

3. Modems
Modems were created to support the transmission of digital signals without overwhelming the system. Types of modems include:
DSL or Digital Subscriber Line enables data transmission over POTS lines. To do so, a transceiver connects to your PC and uses the local phone network to connect to an ISP network. This enables your use of the internet. This type of modem is useful to small businesses.
ISDN or Integrated Services Digital Network allows voice and data transmission over a regular phone line. To enable a connection, users dial in. And the fees for such service rely on the duration of the transmission. Large companies or businesses looking to expand in the future may find this modem more suited.

Plain Old Telephone Service for Business

Compared to VoIP or cloud phone systems, POTS may seem like the more expensive option. However, in areas where cellular or internet coverage is slow or inaccessible, copper lines are more reliable. When all else fails, you’ll find a POTS phone system to rescue you.

A basic plain old telephone service costs between $15-30 a month for unlimited local calls. One must keep in mind that other elements factor in as well, such as:

  • Setting up infrastructure — The larger the business, the more set-up costs, plus the technician and maintenance cost.
  • Additional features cost more — Intercom, call transfer, directories, etc.
  • International calling — If your business conducts international business on a regular basis, then this bill can grow quite a bit.

POTS vs VoIP

Most businesses in the modern era are switching from POTS to IP telephony such as a VoIP phone system or cloud PBX. Voice over IP uses your existing internet connection to transmit voice and data from one party to the next. VoIP makes it possible to connect remote offices and keep communications stable. It also comes equipped with features such as IVR, call forwarding, dynamic caller ID, softphones, etc. Plus, it reduces international calling costs as costs are not based on distance and time but on a monthly subscription.

Which is Right for Your Business?

Does your business need a POTS or VoIP phone system? This depends on what your business communications entail, the size and budget of your business, as well as future expansion plans. Speak with one of our experts to identify the right outbound calling service for your company. Call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 to learn more!

5 Most Effective Ways to Record VoIP Calls

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Need to record, store, and analyze your business phone calls? In this article we evaluate five different ways to record VoIP calls.

How to Record Your Business VoIP Calls

Call recording is a requirement for companies for a myriad of industries worldwide, including healthcare and financial services. New regulations like HIPAA and MiFID II now require certain companies to record all customer interactions, including phone calls.

Most businesses choose to record their VoIP calls for a variety of reasons. Some of these include using recordings:

  • To make and store a copy of transactions
  • As evidence against false claims
  • For training and educational material
  • As protection against liabilities
  • To conduct performance reviews and improve quality assurance, and more

5 Ways to Record VoIP Calls

There are a few different ways to record VoIP calls. Here we list the top 5 ways to effectively record calls, highlighting advantages and disadvantages

1. Port Mirroring

Port mirroring is a traditional recording solution, used on a network switch. Port mirroring works by sending copies of network packets seen on one switch port to another. Network applications that require constant monitoring can make use of this type of recording. Common uses are intrusion detection, real user monitoring, or recording VoIP calls. You can use port mirroring to copy inbound and outbound traffic on multiple platforms.

One of the top disadvantages associated with port mirroring is the fact that it is on-premise hardware. This means it requires installation, maintenance, and configuration. If not operated and managed appropriately, it can result in loss of data and calls.

2. Call Recording Devices

This refers to using a recording device attached to the phone such as a stand-alone recorder. You can purchase a good recording device from as little as $100, connect it to your calling device (computer, desk phone, smartphone, etc.) and click the record button every time you want to record a call.

A disadvantage of getting standalone recording devices is the need for multiple devices if you want to record all calls made by employees. Each employee will need a device and all recordings will be made available separately. Additionally, there is a certain degree of manual use involved. That is, the employee will need to ensure they are recording their VoIP calls and then transfer the recording to the desired folder without fail. Plus, there may be limited storage available with such devices.

3. Local Recording Clients

Local recording allows users to record voice and video calls locally to their computer or laptop. Services such as Skype, Zoom, etc., enable local recording. The recordings can then be uploaded to Google Drive, Dropbox, YouTube, etc. Whether or not you can record VoIP calls this way depends on service.

Those who need small scale recording will find this type of call recording useful. However, if you have a large inbound and outbound call volume and wish to record all calls, using local recording can be a bit tedious as recording must be repeated for each call or user. Furthermore, some services require a subscription to enable recording while others provide it for free.

4. Online Recording Applications and Tools

You may also choose to download a recording application, use your desktop recorder, or get an online tool such as a web extension. However, these tools while easy to access, may not produce high-quality recordings and differ in terms of storage capacity and sharing abilities.

5. Hosted Recording

Finally, you may consider hosted call recording from your VoIP service provider that records all inbound and outbound calls automatically. For example, United World Telecom offers call recording as a premium feature that can be added to your VoIP plan.

Hosted call recording enables you to set the percent of calls to be recorded as well as how long you wish to store the recordings (up to 6 years). Since this works along with your service provider, all business voice over IP or VoIP calls are automatically recorded within the business’ control panel, which is easily accessible on any device.

Choosing the Right Way to Record VoIP Calls

The most effective way to record VoIP calls depends on your recording needs and budget. If you have small scale needs where you only record select calls, then using a local recording client or an online app may seem more suitable. However, if you need to record all calls, then subscribing to your business VoIP provider’s call recording software may seem like a more cost-effective and scalable solution. To learn more about hosted call recording, speak to one of our experts today!

What is a Dynamic Caller ID for VoIP?

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Is it possible to change an outgoing caller ID? Yes, with the VoIP feature, dynamic caller ID, your business can display a local or toll free number instead of a long-distance or international number. But how do customizable caller IDs work and how can they benefit your business? Here we discuss dynamic caller IDs and their benefits.

What is a Caller ID?

Voice over IP or VoIP phone systems use the internet to place and receive calls. With a VoIP system, you can make calls from any location and through any device as long as it is connected to a reliable internet source. Such systems are also referred to as cloud phone systems. Because of their flexibility and use of the internet, these systems provide users with virtual communication features such as call forwarding, call recording, video conferencing, and more.

One of these features is a customizable and dynamic caller ID. The caller ID was first introduced in the 1980s. This allowed users to screen calls by being able to see who was calling. It provided an opportunity to miss calls from unknown numbers or numbers that were from different area codes.

However, this became a problem for sales and telemarketing businesses. Customers could now reject calls before answering them. Furthermore, it inhibited the activity of scammers and hackers as well. But in the middle of all of that, it negatively impacted legitimate businesses that were reaching out.

What is a Dynamic Caller ID for VoIP?

As a solution to this problem, the dynamic caller ID was invented. With the old, traditional caller ID systems, users were unable to change their outgoing caller ID. That is, the number that was displayed on the recipient’s device.

A dynamic caller ID, however, allows users to customize the number that is displayed. This way, you can show different numbers for different calls based on the purpose of the call. VoIP phone service providers can help you get and use this feature in different ways. Some providers will let you switch between different numbers that you purchase from them. You can purchase toll free, international, and local numbers. While others will give you a list of numbers to use with this feature.

The most common way is to get an outbound calling service with customizable caller ID capabilities from your provider. This way, you can use the outbound web dialer to place calls and display different virtual numbers. For example, even if your business is located in Texas, you can display a Florida area code number or a US toll free number as your outgoing caller ID. You can even get international toll free numbers and display them when calling international customers.

Why Does Your Business Need a Dynamic Caller ID?

The main reason why businesses use or should consider using a dynamic caller ID is so they can increase the chances of calls being answered. Individuals are less likely to answer calls from “unknown” numbers or numbers they do not recognize as toll free or local.

With a customizable caller ID, you can choose which number to display. When calling specific local areas, you can display that area’s local number or toll free number. In fact, this even increases the chances of receiving a call back because callers will be dialing a local or toll free number which does not incur high calling rates.

Contact centers, customer service teams, as well as sales and marketing teams can use this feature to reach more customers locally and internationally. The logic here is the customer will assume your business is local and will feel more comfortable doing business with you due to your location.

How to Get a Dynamic Caller ID?

United World Telecom offers a customizable caller ID with our outbound calling service. You can purchase outbound calling by adding it to your virtual phone number plan. Then, choose additional virtual numbers you would like to have. These are numbers for markets and areas where you want to expand your business or customer service. Then, start calling locally and internationally and give your team greater opportunities to make sales!

Fixed versus Non-Fixed VoIP Numbers: What’s the Difference?

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When switching to a VoIP phone system, there are a lot of terminologies to understand. Fixed VoIP numbers and non-fixed VoIP numbers are two of them. In this post, we will discuss the differences between these voice over IP phone numbers so you can choose the right one for your needs.

VoIP Numbers: Definition & Types

Before going through the differences between fixed and non-fixed VoIP numbers, it is important to first understand what VoIP numbers are. Voice over internet protocol or VoIP is a telephony solution that uses the internet to make and receive calls. It does so by converting voice into data packets and transmitting them over an IP network.

When you call someone using your VoIP line, they will see your VoIP number which is a part of your caller ID. But what information is present within your caller ID depends on what type of VoIP number and service you have. This can be a fixed VoIP number or a non-fixed VoIP number.

What are Fixed VoIP Numbers?

A fixed VoIP number is an internet phone line offered by your VoIP provider and attached to a physical location. In other words, it has an account manager and a residential or company address associated with it. Like office phone systems, these numbers require an address to activate the service. If the account manager wants to move this number, they can do so through number porting.

It is almost impossible to steal or mask the identity of a fixed VoIP number as they are connected to a physical address. Because of this, these numbers are more reliable and preferred since they keep fraudulent activity at bay. This connection to physical addresses is also the reason why VoIP providers support 911 and emergency calling services on fixed VoIP lines.

Fixed VoIP lines are not only connected through an internet connection. They also function through SIP trunks providing more reliable service.

What is a Non-Fixed VoIP Phone Number?

Non-fixed VoIP numbers are not associated with physical addresses. On the contrary, they function more like virtual phone numbers. Since they work through the internet (“virtually”) and do not require a physical address, they can function from any geographic location. Small businesses that want to offer a local presence can use this to their advantage.

Virtual numbers allow you to make and answer calls over an internet connection. And this makes it possible to connect with international clients or customers without incurring long-distance calling fees. You can get various local phone numbers and toll free numbers with specific area codes that can be used through your non-fixed line. This way, your customers will be calling local or toll free numbers instead of paying international dialing fees. And incoming calls are forwarded to whichever line or number you desire.

Who can use non-fixed VoIP numbers? Businesses and companies preparing or wanting to:

  • Expand their reach
  • Enter new markets
  • Connect with international customers
  • Operate remote or virtual teams (examples: virtual call centers, work-from-home teams, etc.)

Non-fixed VoIP numbers are inexpensive, easy to set-up, and use. But due to these reasons, they may be prone to fraudulent activity. Also note that compared to fixed VoIP lines, non-fixed lines should be a last resort for 911 calls because these calls are not traceable.

Fixed vs Non-Fixed VoIP Numbers: What’s the Difference

How do you decide which is better for your business? This decision largely depends on the needs of your business and its future plans. For a small business starting out, a fixed VoIP number may seem like the better bet. However, if you have international offices and cater to international customers, then a non-fixed VoIP phone number is more appropriate. With advancements in technology, VoIP and ISP providers have been trying to offer more secure services. Here is a more visual comparison:

Fixed VoIP Phone Numbers Non-Fixed VoIP Phone Numbers
Can work through SIP trunking or an internet connection Need only an internet connection to work
Need to be assigned to a physical address Does not need to be assigned to a physical address
More authentic and secure Less secure; However, providers are continuously trying to provide more secure internet services
Come with advanced call management features Come with advanced call management features
More expensive international calling Less expensive international calling;
Good for businesses with global communications
Generally more expensive;
Additional features cost extra
Comparatively inexpensive;
Easy to obtain and quick to set-up;
Additional features may cost extra
Able to make 911 and emergency calls Unable to make 911 and emergency calls

Choose What’s Best for Your Company

Depending on your company’s present needs and future goals, it is important to select a service that is reliable, scalable, and offers great customer support. To learn more about VoIP numbers, speak with one of our experts at 1 (877) 898 8646.

What is Call Routing?

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Wish you could distribute your business calls better so agents and employees are not overwhelmed or (worse!) underwhelmed? Call routing is an effective call management solution that can organize your calls and distribute them more efficiently.

Call Routing: Definition

Call routing — also known as automatic call distributor (ACD) — is a telephony feature that answers and directs calls based on predetermined rules set by the account manager. A business can use call routing to enable callers to connect with specific people or departments instantly.

In other words, callers will not have to dial separate numbers. When they call a business, they are offered different options, to which they respond verbally or by pressing a number on their keypad. The caller is then routed to the individual or department that can help them.

How Does Call Routing Work?

Call routing is a feature of voice over IP or VoIP phone systems. This phone system answers incoming calls, determines the purpose of the call, and accordingly transfers it to the right department or individual. How you set up your call routing map depends on what you want it to accomplish. Here are a few different criteria that have been used by various businesses.

Interactive Voice Response: Also known as IVR, interactive voice response is essentially an automated phone system that offers a predetermined series of menus to callers. Callers pick their choice by dialing a number on their keypad or verbally saying it. They are then directed to the right department.

Time of Day Routing: A type of routing based on time, for both the caller and receiver. Calls coming in during off-hours or during the weekends can be directed to remote offices or employees or your smartphone so service is uninterrupted.

Skill-Based Routing: A type of routing based on agents’ skills and caller requirements such as language preferences. This can be accomplished through direct inward dialing, which enables callers to dial a direct number that corresponds to the department or extension they want to reach.

Location-Based Routing: A type of routing that depends on the location of the caller. This is good for businesses with offices and customers in different time zones as callers can get assistance in the area they are calling from. It is possible to forward calls internationally based on the locations of callers.

Different Ways Calls Can Be Routed

As you can see, there are a few different ways to set up call routing for your business. However, with an IVR system, you might be able to combine a few of these criteria to provide better options for your callers. Some ways you can route calls are:

Regular Routing: This type of call routing is based on a predetermined set created and managed by the account or department manager. All calls will move through a chronological order and available agents can answer and assist callers.

All-the-Way-Round Routing: With this type of routing, incoming calls are equally distributed. The first call goes to the first agent, second to the next agent, and so on. Once the last agent receives a call, the next call is sent to the first agent.

Least Occupied Agent Routing: This type of call routing ensures that no agent spends too much time idly. Incoming calls are forwarded to any agent waiting the longest or that hasn’t received a call in a while.

Simultaneous Routing: This routing strategy is pretty straightforward. All incoming calls ring simultaneously on all assigned employees’ phones. Whoever is available immediately can answer and assist the caller.

Top Reasons Why Your Business Needs Call Routing

So, why should you consider getting call routing and using these routing strategies for your business? First, thanks to advancements in telecommunications, this technology is available not just for call centers but for all business types: small businesses, solopreneurs, large corporate enterprises, and more.

Basically, if your company wants to improve sales or customer support, then routing calls effectively can save on time and money and help you provide high-quality service. Some of the main benefits are:

  • Providing better customer service options and expand internationally based on location and language preferences
  • Offering 24/7 customer support by forwarding calls to offices in different time zones
  • Reducing wait times and increasing first call resolution rates
  • Increasing customer satisfaction and retention rates

How to Get Call Routing

Call routing comes as a part of a VoIP phone system. In that, you can build your business a solid and reliable communication system that helps you manage and handle incoming calls effectively. United World Telecom can help you get call routing and VoIP. To start, speak with an expert today!

What is a Web Phone?

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In this article, you will learn the definition of a web phone, how it works, and the benefits of using one for your business.

What is a Web Phone?

A web phone, also known as a web dialer, is a web application that enables two-way international phone calls from a web browser. It is powered by WebRTC and only requires high-speed internet access, a computer, and a headset or speakerphone to start placing calls.

Enabling all the core functionality of a business phone service, web phones are among the most effective tools for sales and support teams to communicate with contacts internationally.

How Does a Web Phone Work?

Web phones use technology that is built into web browsers to support voice communications. WebRTC is the standard technology for web phones because it is a stable and secure open-source framework with high sound quality.

A web phone works very similarly to a softphone, with a very easy-to-use interface and clickable buttons to dial any phone number worldwide. It is compatible with Windows PC, macOS, Linux, and also Android devices. Users can simply connect a headset to their device to get started.

What is WebRTC?

WebRTC is an open-source HTML framework that enables IP voice communications from a web interface or browser. It is a stable open-source technology that works in nearly all modern browsers. Its widespread availability makes this the underlying technology for most web dialers. 

Web Phone Applications

Approximately 36% of US businesses have already started using IP for voice communications. This percentage is much higher across the world as it is a more affordable alternative to plain old telephone service in most countries.

These are some real-life applications that can benefit your business:

  • Pre-sales teams make international outbound calls with a localized dynamic caller ID.
  • Remote support agents use their computers to call customers from a local or toll free phone number that can also receive calls back.
  • Contact center agents answer incoming calls on their computers.

How to Use a Web Dialer

There is no technical expertise necessary to use a web dialer phone. In fact, users only need to have a basic understanding of how to use a computer and the internet. It doesn’t require any extra setup. You would just sign up for the service and then log in from your web browser and start making phone calls. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Log in to the web dialer site 
  2. Connect your headset or microphone
  3. Dial the number for the call you want to place

Functionality of a Web Phone

A web phone dialer has all the core functionality of a traditional business phone service.

Outbound Calls

You can use this technology to make international outbound calls from a web browser. There is tremendous flexibility to this as users have the option to choose which caller ID they would like to display. Recipients are more likely to answer calls from a local number they recognize.

Inbound Calls

The service enables two-way voice communication, which means you can answer incoming calls on your web phone. It is loaded with call center features that automate customer interactions and make call routing simpler.

Call Transfer

Transfer calls easily to the right person or department. Everyone in your office becomes available to receive transferred phone calls with the versatile feature.

Free In-Network Calls

The ability to make free in-network calls to other users in the account makes this a highly valuable major tool for organizations with a distributed workforce. It helps remote teams stay connected to your team while working from home.

Voicemails

Like a traditional business phone service, web phones enable users to receive voicemails. You can actually listen to your voicemails directly from the web dialer.

Call History

View and search all your recent calls. It’s easy to sort through inbound and outbound calls, rejected calls, and missed phone calls. This will help your sales team follow up with any important leads.

Contacts and API Integrations

You can enter relevant contact information that corresponds to individual phone numbers and will be automatically displayed. Users can also search and filter through interactions with individual contacts.

It can also be used together with other business tools. UWT provides an API that enables users to sync call detail records from a web phone with other software and tools they might be using.

Benefits of Web Phones for Businesses

Managers have reported significant improvements with their teams that use web phones. There are many benefits for teams of all sizes. Below is a list of the top web phone benefits.

Increase Sales

A web phone can increase sales by more than 75%, as it enables salespeople to call leads and convert those leads into paying customers.

Prospective customers are more likely to pick up a phone call from a number they recognize. We enable you to make international phone calls while showing a local caller ID. Your sales calls will have a higher conversion rate and your sales will increase.

Reduce Costs

Web phones provide a simple interface to use IP for voice communications. Voice over IP is the most affordable way to make business phone calls. In fact, organizations frequently report higher than 50% decreases in telecom expenditures upon switching to VoIP. 

Improve Customer Service

Having a phone system in place for customer service will undoubtedly improve customer experience. Agents can call customers from their computers and not worry about the quality of the phone calls. They can also use a local or toll free number from any country to show as caller ID and to receive calls back.

Bring Your Own Device

Bring your own device (BYOD) refers to employees being permitted to use their personally-owned devices, rather than company-provided devices. Research from Vodacom shows that about 95% of employees use at least one personal device at work, and that number is predicted to be even higher in the coming years.

Web phones are accessible from any browser, which means that employees can connect to the service from their own devices. This should emerge as one of the most effective tools in the remote work economy.

How Much Bandwidth is Needed for VoIP

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Businesses looking to improve and enhance their communication system with the end goal of providing better customer service will find business VoIP as a suitable solution. However, when you are switching to such a cloud phone system, you’ll need to make sure that your office internet meets voice over IP bandwidth needs. Read on to learn more about what is needed to support VoIP calling in a business setting.

Business VoIP Calls: Bandwidth Requirements

A VoIP phone system enables the calling and transmission of data over the internet between two parties. Doing so makes it possible to send and receive voice, video, and other unified communications through a cost-effective route. Thanks to new technologies like a web phone, it is possible to make and receive calls from a computer. Because of this reason, business VoIP is popular among companies of varying sizes.

Virtual phone service providers like United World Telecom can help you build a VoIP system at your office with the virtual communication tools and features you desire. Part of setting up such a system requires an evaluation of the bandwidth required to run a cloud phone system. Here we will look at different VoIP bandwidth requirements.

What is Bandwidth and Why Does It Matter for VoIP?

Bandwidth is a term used to describe the data transfer rate of an internet connection. In other words, it refers to the amount of data that can be transferred over the internet connection within a given time period. You will have to set aside a certain amount of bandwidth from what you receive through your internet provider (ISP).

This is important because VoIP phone calls run over the internet and require a good internet connection to provide quality calls. High browsing activity or additional applications can reduce the amount of bandwidth available for your cloud phone system. Lower bandwidth equals slower speed which can result in lower call quality. Some factors that impact voice over IP calls include:

  • How many phone lines are required?
  • How many calls will be occurring concurrently?
  • Will other applications be running simultaneously with your VoIP system?
  • Upload/download speed provided
  • Codec provided by your service provider

Keeping these factors in mind, you can calculate an estimate of how much bandwidth will be required to run your cloud phone system smoothly.

Calculating Bandwidth Needed for Your VoIP System

So, how do you decide how much VoIP bandwidth your system will need? The most important aspect to take into account is the number of employees making calls and how many calls will occur simultaneously. The general range for bandwidth needed is anywhere from 85-100Kbps for each concurrent VoIP call. Bandwidth is measured in kilobytes per second (Kbps).

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

Secondly, you want to check the codec quality provided by your provider. Codec is a program that converts voice into digital signals to be transmitted during the call. In other words, codec reduces the size of call files without impacting voice quality. The ideal codec will determine the amount of data your VoIP calls will need. Here is a table for your reference:

Codec Bitrate Bandwidth Usage
G.711 64 Kbps 87.2 Kbps
G.722 48-64 Kbps 80 Kbps
G.723.1 5.3 Kbps 20.8 Kbps
G.726 32 Kbps 55.2 Kbps
G.728 16 Kbps 32 Kbps
G.729 8 Kbps 31.2 Kbps

Note: Bitrate per second refers to the rate at which bits of data are transmitted within a given time.

Additionally, since VoIP calls stream two-way voice messages, the data usage is twice the normal rate per second. Most virtual calls will need about 64 Kbps. You can have 12 calls concurrently using 1 Mbps or 120 calls with 10 Mbps. And this is for calling only. For other virtual activities such as browsing, using internet applications, etc., more bandwidth will be required.

Making VoIP Calls

Ensure your business has enough bandwidth to make high-quality calls with your VoIP system. There are routers available that prioritize voice calls over other internet activity. This would ensure no quality is taken away from the calls. Contact your ISP for information about bandwidth usage and availability options. To learn more about VoIP systems for business, call us at 1 (877) 898 8646.