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Top 7 Benefits of Business VoIP

Source: - Lic#209723450 ID#27446420

At this point in time, most businesses are using business VoIP to create strong, reliable, and efficient business phone systems. Voice over IP technology has made it possible to make and answer calls via the internet instead of depending on physical phone lines. And by doing so, users can stay connected from any location and any device. So, why should you get business VoIP for your company?

Top 7 Advantages of Getting Business VoIP

From encouraging global expansion to providing easy scalability, VoIP technology gives businesses an opportunity to expand and grow with ease. If you are on the fence and are not sure about how VoIP can be useful to your company, here are 7 benefits to consider.

1. Variety of Business Numbers

VoIP phone systems work alongside voice over IP numbers. VoIP providers like United World Telecom aim to offer companies a variety of business phone number types. For instance, United World Telecom offers numbers for more than 160 countries around the world. Additionally, we offer toll free, local, international toll free, universal toll free, national, and vanity numbers.

Want to enter local markets and encourage locals to connect with your business? Buy a local phone number. Want to offer free calling to customers within your target country? Get a toll free number. Want to attract public attention with a memorable and creative number? Get a vanity number. You can get a business number that suits your purposes in a target country and lets you expand your customer base.

2. International Call Forwarding

International call forwarding is a popular service of VoIP phone systems. With this service, you can have calls forwarded internationally from one country to another without paying high international calling fees. For example, your customers in Mexico can call your Mexico number for free or at local calling rates. And these calls are routed via international call forwarding to your main office in the US, the UK, Australia, or wherever you desire. You can even have calls forwarded to a satellite office or remote workers.

With call forwarding, you can manage your incoming calls better and make your business accessible no matter where you or your team is located.

3. VoIP for Remote Team Management

Voice over IP phone systems are ideal for remote teams or distributed teams. Business VoIP gives your team the tools they need to stay connected and accountable even with distance involved. Benefits for remote team management include:

  • All users are connected from any location or device through a stable internet connection.
  • Voice, SMS, and more can be transmitted through the system.
  • Users can use softphones or web phones on their devices to make and receive business-related calls.
  • Access to a variety of features such as call recording, DID numbers, call transfer, outbound calling, and more.
  • Call monitoring and analytics tools that help managers keep track of employee KPIs and performance.

By presenting voice over IP for remote team management, your business can stay active and accessible at all times.

4. Global Expansion Possibility

Businesses using VoIP services or phone systems have a chance of going beyond their immediate location and entering new markets. More importantly, they can do this without increasing their expenses.

For instance, when a business tries to target a new city or country, the general idea is to open a field office and create a local presence. However, with international toll free numbers available for multiple countries, your business can create a virtual presence without needing to be physically present.

You can use international call forwarding and routing options to stay connected overseas. You can have calls ring on multiple devices across the board. Or, you can have calls routed based on the time of day or the location of the caller. The bottom line is you have access to multiple tools for effective call management, making it easier to manage international business.

5. Higher Scalability

Need to scale up or down instantly? No worries. VoIP accounts need little to no work when it comes to adding or removing users and employees. As such, you can quickly expand your business when needed, especially during high traffic periods, and cut down as necessary without changing your phone system.

6. Low Costs and Better Voice Quality

Another reason why business VoIP is so popular among all types of businesses (start-ups to large enterprises) is that it is a cost-effective solution. You only pay what you subscribe to and have a fairly predictable bill every month. And with that plan, you can target new countries and regions, utilize call tracking, forward calls to as many devices you want, use an effective IVR system, and more. And so, you get a high-quality business phone system for exceptionally reasonable rates.

Related: How to Measure and Improve VoIP Call Quality

7. Mobility and Flexibility

Lastly, with business VoIP, you can take your business with you wherever you go. Need to move or travel for work? Want to employ remote customer service teams to provide better international coverage? Need to switch to remote work due to a global pandemic? Whatever the hurdle, your business can continue to work and remain reachable with a reliable VoIP service.

So, is Business VoIP Right for You?

The answer to this depends on what you want to achieve with your company’s communication system. Do you want to expand in a cost-effective manner? Would you like to offer remote work options? Do you want a unified platform for all communication? Then, VoIP is your answer. However, how exactly VoIP can benefit your business depends on what you need. Speak to our experts today to learn about custom solutions to see if business VoIP is a fit for you!

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.

The Ultimate Guide to VoIP Troubleshooting [2022]

Is your VoIP system not working? 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 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. Network 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 at the tap of a button.

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 conferences, 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

If your VoIP system is not working, you might need a new, high-quality system that comes that comes with 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!

PRI Explained: What is a Primary Rate Interface?

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Choosing a business phone system for your company is a necessary part of creating the perfect communication system. With advancements in technology, there are many different systems available for businesses to choose from. Here we will discuss primary rate interface (PRI) and the advantages and disadvantages of this phone system.

What is PRI?

A primary rate interface or PRI is a communication system that is provider-free. This system allows businesses (users) to send and receive voice, data, and video files through a copper wire network. PRI systems or lines constitute two pairs of copper wires. This feature of primary rate interface networks provides secure data transmission. You can get two types of PRI systems:

  • Basic rate interface solutions (BRI) for personal and small business use
  • PRI for large enterprises and corporations.

Features of Primary Rate Interface

To understand how these communication systems work, it is first crucial to be aware of their features. Key features of a PRI system include:

  1. Lines are made of two pairs of copper wires connecting the provider and the user.
  2. You can have 23 B-channels on a single telephone line. And by doing so, it enables businesses to have multiple extensions and telephone numbers via one connection.
  3. Each channel has 64 kbps for data transmission.
  4. Can connect two private branch exchange or PBX systems together and can also work with an IP PBX system.

Advantages of a PRI Phone System

There are different ways a primary rate interface phone system benefits businesses. However, whether or not your business needs this system depends on what you hope to achieve through your business communication system. Let’s look at how PRI systems boost business communication:

1. Extensions and DID numbers:

Direct inward dialing refers to direct numbers assigned to individuals within a business. This means that callers from outside can dial this number and reach a contact directly. Extensions work in a similar way with an additional code attached to a number to let callers reach an individual or department directly.

With PRI, SIP trunking, or virtual phone systems, you do not need additional lines for each number or extension. For PRI, specifically, you can have up to 23 conversations happening simultaneously on one line. That means you can have up to 23 users using the system. And that is considering everyone uses it at the same time. If you need simultaneous communication, you can add more users to these existing lines and they can use it as and when needed.

2. Scalability and expansion:

As your business traffic grows and communication needs increase, you will want to scale and expand. And a primary rate interface will allow you to do that. If more users are needed, you can simply get another PRI line and add it to your existing system, giving 23 more users the ability to communicate.

PRI vs hosted voip

PRI Drawbacks

While a primary rate interface system changed the way businesses communicated over the years, phones have come a long way since. Advancements in telecom technology have given rise to more modern and user-friendly systems.

The biggest drawback that PRI systems have is the ability to expand in bundles of 23. This means that if you have just one or two extra employees and all channels are used constantly, then you will need to buy 23 more channels for those extra employees. You will end up paying more than you need.

On the other hand, if you run a large corporation with 100-150+ employees, then you will need multiple PRI lines to work efficiently. Additionally, it gets more complicated if you need to add multiple locations or remote workers.

To combat these issues, you have a few alternatives to consider: Hosted VoIP and SIP trunking.

PRI vs Hosted VoIP vs SIP Trunking

Most businesses today have adopted a cloud VoIP or hosted VoIP solution. Hosted VoIP means that your service provider hosts your phone solution and takes care of all your software needs and maintenance. All you do is use the service. You do not have to worry about purchasing hardware and software, maintaining it with a professional IT team, and so on. This helps your business save on communication and IT-related costs.

SIP trunking is a session initiation protocol (SIP) feature that enables transmission of voice communication over a data network. SIP trunking works similarly to POTS except that the phone lines are virtual instead of standard copper lines. And your phone system connects to your provider via your internet connection. SIP trunking has often been used as an alternative to POTS and PRI systems.

PRI, unlike VoIP and SIP trunking, does not rely on internet bandwidth for transmission, and therefore does not suffer from jitter or packet loss. However, there are limitations in terms of scaling upwards, mobility, and features available.

Here’s a table to demonstrate the differences between these business phone systems:

PRI SIP trunking Hosted VoIP
1. Upfront costs Medium-High High Low
2. Maintenance costs Medium-High Medium-High Low-High
3. Connectivity Physical Virtual Virtual
4. Service quality Low; calls may experience muffled or distant quality, frequency range is limited High; good bandwidth required, low bandwidth can lead to jitter, packet loss High; good bandwidth required for VoIP, low bandwidth can lead to jitter, packet loss
5. Scalability Low High; very scalable High; scalable
6. Mobility None; no routing ability Medium; calls can be transferred to predetermined locations Very high; can be used anywhere and through any device

Choosing the Right Phone System for Your Business

The phone system that is ideal for your business purposes depends on what you want to accomplish with it and what your budget can include. Speak with our experts today to see if VoIP or SIP trunking is a good fit for you!

6 Ways to Fix VoIP Jitter

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When conducting business calls, interruptions, low call quality, or missing audio can lead to miscommunication. Part of running a professional business is ensuring that your business calls, whether for queries or support, occur smoothly without any distortion or jumbled audio. Interruptions during calls can lead to losing valuable clients. One important element that affects VoIP business calls is jitter. In this post, we explain what leads to jitter and how to fix VoIP jitter in 6 useful ways.

Why You Need to Fix VoIP Jitter

In order to fix VoIP jitter, one must understand VoIP jitter and how it affects a business’ VoIP phone system. During VoIP business calls, voice messages are transformed from analog to digital signals and stored in data packets. For VoIP calls to connect two end-points successfully, data packets need to be transmitted effectively without delay or disturbance.

While these data packets move from one end-point to the next, the packets travel through different paths and may not take the same path. However, due to a variety of reasons — such as low internet speed, a low-quality router, and so on — the data packets may not be delivered at the same time. Instead, they may arrive at irregular intervals affecting VoIP call quality. Additionally, this can lead to missing or jumbled audio. This is known as ‘VoIP jitter.’ Jitter within business calls can lead to miscommunication and frustration for users. Here are 6 reliable ways to fix VoIP jitter:

1. Invest in a Powerful Router

When purchasing a router for your VoIP phone system, do your research and find one that is powerful and can handle your VoIP needs, especially the bandwidth capacity. Carefully review the product and see if it matches your needs. Study customer reviews and testimonials and look for complaints and potential issues.

2. Utilize an Ethernet Cable

Use a high-quality ethernet cable to connect your VoIP system to your router. This way, you will have a better connection and no interference from sources out of your control that can lead to jitter, latency, packet loss, and more. Additionally, if you already have an ethernet cable but are still experiencing jitter, then perhaps it’s time to upgrade your ethernet.

3. Subscribe to High-Speed Internet

Next, as is widely known, low internet connection speeds can affect the quality of your VoIP phone system. Low internet speeds lead to jitter, latency, and more. Make sure that your business has high-speed internet connection to ensure smooth connectivity.

4. Conduct Bandwidth Tests

Besides securing a high-speed internet connection, you also want to ensure that your bandwidth is strong enough to carry the weight of your VoIP phone system. Ask your ISP to test your bandwidth and then resolve jitter issues. You may even connect with your VoIP phone service provider for help in resolving VoIP jitter issues.

5. Consider Getting a Jitter Buffer

Another way to fix VoIP jitter is by using a jitter buffer, a device that intentionally delays an incoming data packet. By delaying an incoming packet, the receiver of the call will hear the voice message clearly and with very little distortion. This is because the jitter buffer will re-group delayed data packets and then play them together, steadily. Your data packets will be stored in the right sequence and played accurately and clearly.

6. Reduce Unnecessary Bandwidth Usage

Lastly, make it a practice to reduce unnecessary bandwidth usage, especially during office hours. Teach your staff to not use large amounts of bandwidth for non-work-related activities. This includes streaming videos or content from Netflix, etc. These services use large amounts of bandwidth and can lead to jitter during VoIP calls.

Convert More Customers with VoIP for Business

A business VoIP phone system can greatly improve the way your business communicates with its customers. Additionally, getting this service from a reliable VoIP provider can help improve VoIP call quality issues such as jitter, latency, and so on. Ready to upgrade your business phone system and get VoIP? Speak with our representatives today!

Understanding Voice Over IP Jitter, Latency, and Packet Loss

The key to good VoIP call quality depends on a few factors such as jitter, latency, and packet loss. We discuss these elements below so you can ensure your business has strong and reliable VoIP quality for customer calls.

Understanding VoIP Call Quality: The Basics

Voice over IP (VoIP) calls use the internet to transmit voice or data packets from one user to their destination. On VoIP calls, your voice is transformed from analog to digital signals in data packets and is sent to your destination. Upon arrival, these packets are converted back to analog and the audio is heard. Data packets generally contain about 20 milliseconds of audio and this whole process occurs at lightning speed.

And while this process seems simple and straightforward, there are a few factors that can affect the quality of the call, interrupting it. Good VoIP call quality depends on keeping the following elements to a minimum:

  • Jitter
  • Latency
  • Packet loss

Let’s look at these issues more closely and ways to troubleshoot them.

Voice Over IP Jitter

For a VoIP or SIP call to take place successfully, data packets must be transmitted from one user to their destination. And these data packets travel through different paths before they reach the destination. As such, all data packets may not take the same path or time to arrive.

VoIP jitter refers to the data packets being delivered to the destination at irregular intervals instead of being delivered at the same time. In other words, one packet is delivered after the rest of the packet. This can lead to low VoIP call quality with missing or jumbled audio.

How to fix network jitter?

Generally speaking, 30 milliseconds (or less) jitter is acceptable. However, more than that can lead to serious call quality issues, affecting your calls and customer care efforts. And so, to fix jitter issues, you must first check your network and ensure you have a good internet connection.

Another way to fix network jitter issues is by using a jitter buffer. This is a space where packets are collected and stored. Then, they are sent out at regular intervals ensuring they move in the right order.

get cloud phone service

VoIP Latency

Voice over IP latency refers to lag or delay within the call. More specifically, it’s the delayed time between a caller speaking and the receiver hearing the audio. This lag or delay can lead to speakers talking over each other or echoes in the middle of the call.

It is also important to note that international calls may experience more latency than domestic or local calls. And while it is not desirable, users generally tend to accept latency in long-distance calls more than local ones.

How to fix this issue?

Latency does not necessarily affect VoIP call quality. However, it does make the caller experience less desirable, giving way to frustration and miscommunication.

Most of the time, latency is a result of network congestion, which also contributes to jitter. To combat this, you should prioritize voice over IP data ahead of other data transmitted across your network. And a high-quality VoIP router can help with this as well as other issues that may crop up within a VoIP phone system.

Voice Over IP Packet Loss

Understanding packet loss is pretty straightforward. It refers to data packets lost during transmission from one user to their destination. Packet loss occurs when:

  • Data packets are lost and never arrive at the destination
  • Packets arrive late and are discarded as a result
  • Packets contain errors and are discarded
  • High data packet loss which results in low VoIP call quality or missing pieces of audio.

When data packets go missing, communication between two parties is incomplete or unclear. Troubleshooting this issue is similar to fixing network jitter and latency: check your network. Congested networks where multiple and large files are downloaded or uploaded or transferred can lead to packet loss. Therefore, to ensure low to no packet loss:

  1. Make sure you have enough bandwidth.
  2. Minimize network congestion (don’t stream videos or download music or send large email attachments).

Get a Reliable VoIP Provider

To ensure you do not suffer through these issues, it is important to find a VoIP number provider that can handle your voice over IP traffic. Learn more about our VoIP service by speaking with one of our experts today. Call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 or chat with us online for more information!

Why VoIP is a Good Fit for Distributed Teams

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Need a business communication solution for distributed teams and remote working? Voice over IP or a VoIP phone system can be a great fit for your distributed teams. It can help to ensure your teams stay connected and productive even when they work remotely.

4 Ways VoIP Can Benefit Your Distributed Teams

A VoIP phone system ensures business connectivity over the internet, enabling users to connect from any location and any device. This makes it a good fit for distributed teams and remote workers. Read on for the top 4 benefits of using VoIP to manage remote groups.

1. Employees Can Work from Any Location

Whether your area is hit by a pandemic or you plan on hiring employees from different states and countries, the best part about having VoIP for business is that your employees can stay connected and continue working from wherever they are. All they need is to connect to your VoIP system through a reliable internet connection. Then, they can place and answer important business calls, make sales calls, and offer customer support uninterrupted.

2. Remain Accessible through Multiple Devices

Secondly, employees are not limited to the phones within an office. Employees in distributed teams can work through any device — VoIP phones, computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. This ensures that they remain accessible even when they are not in the office or if a device fails.

3. Implement a BYOD Policy

Bring your own device or BYOD work policies are growing more and more popular. These policies make it possible for employees to use their own devices instead of devices issued by the company. This means that employees can use devices that are suitable, familiar, and comfortable to use. Additionally, they do not need to learn how to use a new device and can use their own apps that help with productivity. It also helps businesses reduce equipment costs as they do not need to provide employees with phones, computers, laptops, etc., to get their work done. All in all, a BYOD policy can be a win-win situation for both employees and employers.

4. Reduce Communication-Related Costs

With all of the above taken into account, you’ll notice that VoIP can help your business reduce communication costs. For one, you will have a predictable bill each month. Two, you don’t have to worry about equipment or maintenance costs. And that also means you do not have to bother with IT costs. When businesses employ remote workers, having the ability to maintain communication without needing to purchase additional equipment or services can really help keep expenses to a minimum.

How to Set Up VoIP for Remote Teams

Setting up VoIP for distributed teams is quick and easy. Once you have the service, you will need to map out how you want your teams to use the service and its benefits. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Map Out Your Phone System

The first step to setting up a VoIP phone system for your remote workers is to determine how you’ll want calls to be handled. For instance, how many numbers will you be using, and for which departments? Map out how calls will move through the system and how calls will be forwarded or routed. Determine your forwarding needs and settings. For example, you can forward calls to different people at different times of the day or simultaneously to every worker, and so on.

2. Decide What Features to Use

Next, you need to decide how you want to use the features that come with your VoIP service. For instance, you should set up a custom greeting and voicemail message. You will also want to design an IVR with menu options for callers to navigate through. You can play around with other features to see which ones work best for you and your teams.

3. Equip Your Agents

Next, prepare your remote team and equip them to handle business calls. Here too you can use VoIP features to ensure your agents have what they need to do their job effectively. You may even consider creating a support portal or knowledge base that walks them through common issues, troubleshooting help, and so on. Lastly, train them to use the service as well as to be effective agents and salespeople. Once all of this is done, it’s time to start working!

4. Access In-Network Calling for Team Collaboration

VoIP allows for in-network calling which is essential to remote team collaboration and manager-employee interaction. This is especially true for distributed teams and remote workers. Calling someone from your team should be without hurdles and interruptions. And in-network calling makes team communication easy.

5. Make Outgoing Calls from Own Devices with Business Numbers

An outbound calling service from your VoIP provider means that users can make outgoing calls from any device while still displaying a dynamic caller ID. And so, receivers of these calls see your business number even if a remote worker is calling from their laptop. This keeps business calls and remote working professional.

6. Measure Results with Call Records

Lastly, measure results and important KPIs to see how your teams are doing on a regular basis. And you can do this through studying call detail records and call activity. Watch for top KPIs such as first call resolution, average time in queue, average handle time, response time, and so on.

Think VoIP is a Good Fit for Your Remote Teams?

Get a VoIP phone system with United World Telecom and improve distributed teams’ business communication. Give your remote workers the tools they need to work effectively and produce the desired results. For more information, call us today or chat with our experts!

What Is VoIP Integration and How Can it Empower Your Business?

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VoIP integrations enable businesses to enhance their phone system. These types of voice over IP integrations help teams offer a better customer experience and improve workplace productivity.

In this article, we’ll look at:

  • What is a VoIP Integration
  • Benefits
  • Features
  • Types

What Is a VoIP Integration?

Voice over IP enables users to make and receive business calls from any location and through any device. This means your team can make calls from their computer or laptop while in the office or working remotely. All that is required is a stable internet connection. VoIP stores and transmits data securely in the cloud making it easy, safe, and convenient to use.

But the best part about VoIP is that it integrates comfortably with cloud-based applications and software. This is a great advantage over plain old telephone service. VoIP integrations let users switch between tools to store, share, and sync data between them. Doing so can cut down on time spent doing mundane, manual processes while keeping all your important data easily available.

16 Benefits of VoIP Integrations for Business

Any company that works with a VoIP integration or UCaaS will tell you that there are countless benefits of integration with their business phone system. Some top benefits of VoIP integrations include:

  1. Allowing users added versatility to multitask efficiently.
  2. Enabling call center agents to collaborate and share data and files.
  3. Seamlessly connect computers and telephones.
  4. Streamlining communications by unifying essential tools.
  5. Allowing users to stay connected from any device and any location.
  6. The ability to scale as needed.
  7. Having one centralized, unified platform for all essential business tools.
  8. Supporting remote working for distributed teams.
  9. The ability to receive live visibility and updates of call center activity.
  10. The ability to support a call center-type business.
  11. Easy set-up and management.
  12. The ability to innovate, customize, and adjust as your business needs evolve.
  13. Reducing monthly communication-related bills.
  14. Gaining access to local, national, and international numbers to boost global expansion and reach.
  15. Increasing office productivity and efficiency by streamlining workflows.
  16. The possibility of adding as many VoIP integrations as desired.

Key Features of VoIP Integrations

Now, what you can do with these integrations depends on your VoIP provider and what they offer. Some will offer a comprehensive set of calling features and analytics while others only offer a few select essential functionality. Here are some of the most common VoIP features to expect with your integrations:

1. Voice Calling

VoIP integrations let users make and receive calls through the internet. And when paired with a local, toll-free, or international number, your team can comfortably make local and international calls at relatively low rates. Plus, you benefit from VoIP features such as outbound calling, international call forwarding, and more.

2. Cloud Storage

VoIP providers offer cloud storage to help you securely store data for long periods. However, storage capacity and duration vary. Yet, this can help your phone system store and back up files, data, or call recordings on the cloud where they remain easily accessible.

3. Click-to-Call

Click-to-call generally works with most web browsers or software. This tool lets your team quickly call any number they find online or through their application. When they click the number, the call is placed through their VoIP device or softphone.

4. Contact Lists

This feature synchronizes your contacts across different platforms. This keeps customer information up-to-date and relevant, no matter where your teams access them. If contacts are not up-to-date or easily accessible, you can expect errors. So, such a feature leads to faster and more accurate customer service.

5. Voicemail, SMS, Fax

A voicemail transcription or voicemail-to-email feature sends voicemail messages and transcripts to users’ emails. You can then access these messages from anywhere. You can do the same with SMS and faxes. This way, you have documentation of voicemails, messages, and faxes securely stored.

6. Screen Pops

When calls come in, a ‘pop-up’ that displays customer information will turn up on the relevant agent’s screen. This provides the necessary context for the call, prepping the agent to respond optimally.

7. Call Recording

This feature lets you record incoming and outgoing calls and store recordings for future reference. You can use these recordings for training, documentation, analyzing trends, and more.

8. Data Sync & Call Reports

One of the most common features of VoIP integrations is the ability to automatically sync call and caller data. And most providers will offer that along with detailed call reports and analytics to help you understand your business’ call traffic.

8 Types of VoIP Integrations

There are a variety of VoIP integrations that can work well with your business phone system. However, which VoIP integration will boost your office’s productivity depends on what you are trying to achieve. Here are 8 types of integrations to consider:

1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRMs are mostly used to track customer contacts and their history with the company, track calls, SMS, faxes, emails, and so on. However, most CRMs available still depend on users manually and individually entering information.

A VoIP CRM integration can improve and streamline this process by automatically syncing communication-related details within your desired CRM.

This would increase efficiency by reducing the time spent entering this information accurately.

2. Helpdesk Software

Helpdesk software or customer support software serves as a central hub for managing and addressing customer inquiries and issues. It typically has features like ticket management, query escalation, multi-channel support, collaboration tools, etc.

Helpdesk integrations combine VoIP and customer support software to better equip your teams to provide quality and responsive customer support.

It helps you keep track of all customer interactions and communications in one place. At the same time, it offers users multiple channels and options to provide timely support.

3. Contact Center Software

This type of VoIP integration is designed to add call center and contact center capabilities to your business applications. With features like advanced call routing and call reporting, your teams can better handle incoming calls and increase efficiency.

For example, advanced routing and ACD can help route callers to the right destination within your organization. Similarly, the click-to-call feature will make it easy for your teams to place quick outbound calls.

These integrations bring call center functionality to your existing phone system.

4. PBX Integrations

You can also integrate VoIP into your existing PBX system. This gives you the ability to upgrade your legacy phone system by adding modern VoIP functionality to it. With VoIP and PBX working together, you can benefit from more global coverage, reliable call quality, secure voice network, and more.

5. Web and Video Conferencing

VoIP can also be integrated into web-based conferencing platforms. Think: Google Meet, Zoom, or even your in-house developed conferencing app.

This integration enables participants to join audio or video conferences through VoIP technology. It simplifies the process of hosting and attending virtual meetings and webinars. And it replaces the need for physical, traditional phone lines with more flexible communication technology.

6. Voice APIs

VoIP APIs are another common integration most providers offer. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allow developers to integrate and build systems that cater to specific business needs.

Your IT team can use voice or telephony APIs to integrate VoIP functionality into their custom applications or websites. This provides flexibility to create custom solutions tailored to your communication needs. And you can add key features such as click-to-call features, voicemail transcription, or call recording.

7. Mobile App Integration

More recently, you’ll find VoIP integrated into mobile apps. This allows users to make voice or video calls over the internet directly from the app. WhatsApp is a great example. These apps often use a data connection to transmit calls.

VoIP mobile integrations provide mobility and flexibility, enabling users to communicate using their smartphones and tablets from anywhere. Plus, you can quickly convert any app into one with communication-related capabilities.

8. Unified Communications (UC) Integration

UC VoIP integrations focus on adding multiple communication channels into one platform. Common channels include instant messaging, video conferencing, voicemail, fax, and email.

Some of these will have transcription abilities or send-to-email options. This way, users can switch seamlessly between these channels to communicate and collaborate. And they can quickly connect from any location or device. Your teams can increase productivity by centralizing communication tools, making it easier for teams to collaborate and share information.

Use VoIP to Empower Your Business

VoIP is an advanced communication service that can empower your employees by equipping them with the tools needed to perform efficiently. Think VoIP integrations can support your business needs? Speak with our experts to learn more today!

How to Measure and Improve VoIP Call Quality

Source: - Lic#49280267 ID#27446420

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 and improve  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 VoIP jitter can result in bad 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.

voip quality of service

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 service can benefit your small business!

The Ultimate Guide to VoIP 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 policies 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!