The Reliability of Fully Hosted IP Phone Lines – Just how good is it?
Customers who are considering making the switch to an IP phone system or Voice over IP (VoIP) typically have one primary concern: reliability. Those who have implemented internet-based systems of any kind have, almost inevitably, dealt with outages and downtime at some point over the lifecycle. Commercial IP phone systems have evolved to avoid this fate through two key concepts: flexibility and redundancy.
The Backbones of IP Telecom
IP Phone Lines or VoIP communication alternatives require the internet in order to be able to transfer compressed, digital packets of information that contain the conversation from one phone to another. Rather then being plugged into the traditional phone jack, the IP phones are plugged into the ethernet jack on the wall. In other situations, a softphone application allows users to forgo phone handsets all together and simply use the computer software, which is connected to ethernet through the CPU, with an attached headset to make and receive calls. A land line isn’t required to operate an IP phone line or telecom system. It can, however, still be useful.
The Differences Between Landlines and IP Phones
A traditional land line will operate even in a power outage. Issues with typical hard-lined phone connections are usually reserved for damage to the physical cable or a hardware issue with the handset. Beyond that, they are pretty reliable.
IP phone lines introduce many more variables. To be able to provide better reliability than land lines, IP solutions provide necessary redundancy through SIP trunking as well as flexibility that allow users to make dynamic, real-time changes to avoid downtime.
IP phones could actually be considered more reliable than land lines because they offer a redundancy that cannot be achieved by hardwired options.
Land-line operations, even those routed through a PBX, allow calls to go to one location. That single location can then route calls to several different locations and extensions within the building. Additionally, by investing in a more complex and expensive hard-wired PBX system, companies can transfer between offices and enable some additional features.
IP systems, alternatively, operate on enterprise internet connections that guarantee 99.999% uptime. They also use SIP trunks that provide redundancy to help ensure that phone systems are always active. The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is the process through which Internet-based communication, including phone, teleconferencing and messaging, is initiated. A SIP trunk recognizes the attempt to connect through the SIP and provides the services that a physical phone line does for traditional PBX systems. In essence, the SIP trunk is the “brains” of the system. The trunk then provides a digital connection between the office phones and the VoIP provider. SIP trunks add significant reliability.
A landline, however, can be used to help create the redundancy that makes hosted IP Phones reliable. For instance, in the event of a power outage, the IP phone will theoretically go down because the SIP trunk cannot operate if the Internet is down. Connecting the whole system to a single landline for backup, however, will funnel the calls to the landline while the power is down, and then switch over to the main system when it comes back up. Customers should still be able to get through.
When the primary locations that are set to accept the calls from the hosted IP phone line cannot field them, they can often be forwarded to other phones including landlines and mobile devices. Making the phone line mobile enables the ability to forward an entire company’s calls or a single user’s extension to a location other than the soft phone or IP handset, and it works as another way to make Internet issues and power outages manageable.
Cloud-based IP phone lines are becoming so mobile that they can often be operated through a smart phone app that gives the user complete access to the telecom system. Through a mobile device, users can make calls, receive calls, check voicemail and more. Incoming and outgoing calls can go directly to a mobile phone and still respect the same call handling rules as the main system does.
All Systems Are Go
Fully hosted IP phone lines for enterprise use offer many different methods to ensure that outages don’t happen. The redundancy through SIP trunking, the multiple service provider locations, the ability to forward entire telecommunications systems and the flexibility of IP communication has created reliability that cannot be matched by hard-wired options. IP phone lines are no longer less reliable. In fact, they have surpassed the reliability of traditional phone lines through innovation and flexibility.
To learn more about how a hosted IP Phone System can be a cost-effective, reliable solution for your business, contact Zultys at 408-328-0450 for your local authorized, certified Zultys dealer. And for the ultimate in convenience, contact us to learn more about Zultys Cloud Services, our fully hosted VoIP solutions.