When it comes to choosing a VoIP service provider, there can be a lot of questions.  Just a quick check online will show you there are more options than you thought possible!  That’s why it’s important to keep a clear head and focus on the most important things.

There are a lot of things to consider.  Not just about your future VoIP provider, but about your business too.  We felt that this topic absolutely needed a video, and we delivered!

So, take a minute and check out some of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing your provider.  And always remember, if you still have questions or just can’t seem to find the answers, you can always give us a call at 1-800-398-8647.  Our team of experts can take you down the correct path and find a solution that is right for you!

 

hosted-serviceWe work with a number of customers who are beginning to explore Hosted VoIP phone service. There are many benefits to having your phone system in the Cloud: technology remains fresh; you pay a smaller fee upfront; no ongoing maintenance fees and many more. There are several reasons why a Hosted VoIP System might be right for you.

 

Your Business is Expanding

Congratulations! The hard work of you and your staff have provided opportunities for growth. Whether you are adding employees or adding locations, a Hosted VoIP solution is best because you just add telephones. As long as you have a high-speed Internet connection, you can have service anywhere. Most of our Hosted VoIP partners can also provide a softphone that works on your computer and mobile phone.

 

You Want to Save Money

For many of our customers, they are able to secure significant savings by converting over to Hosted VoIP services. Hosted VoIP service can save you money over time from costly service calls, expensive upgrades, and pricey analog phone lines. Keep in mind that your network will need to support the Ethernet cabling that IP phones work on.

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Upgraded Capabilities

Many of our Hosted VoIP Service providers offer features and capabilities that historically are only available to Enterprise level organizations like Unified Communications, File Sync & Share, Conference Bridges, Call Center and Mobility applications. You pay for what you want and what you need only.

Let us know when you want to explore a Hosted VoIP service. Our CloudSpan MarketPlace provides a “one-stop” shop and our experienced professionals are here to help you decide what service provider might be the best fit for you. Call one of our experienced consultants at 1-800-398-8647 today for a free consultation or visit our site for more information about Hosted VoIP Service! Good luck with your search!

10-questions-to-askChoosing a VoIP service provider is not an easy task. To select the right VoIP service that you won’t regret, you will have to answer some questions regarding your application such as calling habits, your location, your budget, and the knowledge of your technical staff. Let me share with you the 10 must-ask questions you need to know when selecting a VoIP service provider!

 

10 Questions to Ask Your VoIP Service Provider

#1 Are you providing a premise or hosted service?

A managed (hosted) service provider reduces your resources and responsibilities while the premise option simply provides the voice network and you administer your own network.

#2 What hardware options are available for my hosted service?

Understand what kind of devices you and your employees need and make sure your service provider has the hardware selection options you want.

#3 What kind of customer service support do you have?

Seek out the service providers comment to investment in their technology and support services. Make sure they have a convenient support channel for you to reach out.

#4 Do you support E-911 or other service features?

Consider special requirements you may have for your business and ask your Cloud service provider if they have them covered. Sometimes it’s negotiable with some providers.

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#5 What services are included versus fee-based add-ons?

Some services a provider offers may cost you extra fees. So be sure to ask what services are included and what are not in the contract.

#6 How is the call quality?

If you choose a hosted system, on-site devices such as Quality of Service should be avoided. Make sure you can have good call quality you expect.

#7 How reliable is the service?

Will you experience any service downtime? In what situation can that happen? If you can’t have any downtime, ask if there’s any backup system or other solutions.

#8 Customer experience?

service-guide-imageHave they ever handled any customers who face the similar situation as yours? What were their experiences? Do they have case studies? You should also search customer reviews and ask questions if anything raises concerns.

#9 Do you have disaster discovery capability?

What happens to your data, recordings, and voicemails in the event of a disaster wiping out a service provider’s data center? Do they have a backup plan and will the service always be available?

#10 Depth of Service Level Agreement (SLA)?

Read the small print and ask questions if anything raise any concerns. Be aware of what happens when something goes wrong, beforehand.

Want to learn more? Check out our VoIP Service buyers guide or simply give one of our VoIP service consultants a call at 1-800-398-8647!

1 Month of Free VoIP ServiceWhat’s better than reducing your phone bills? We’ll tell you, getting your first month of VoIP service for FREE!

That’s right, now you can enjoy a month of free VoIP service when you sign up through the CloudSpan MarketPlace. This is a great opportunity to open up business opportunities and save a fortune. This promotion expires on June 30th. Take advantage of it before it expires!

If you are part of the VoIP Supply Partner Program you can take advantage of this promotion for your customers. Contact your VoIP Sales Representative at 800-350-1427 today for more details.

How Does It Work?

Step One: Contact our Solutions Specialist directly at 800-305-1427 or fill out the form below and we will reach out to you directly.


Step Two: Allow our solutions specialists to provide you with options for VoIP service and pair you with the right service provider for your needs.

Step Three: Sign up for VoIP service and enjoy your one month free VoIP service and the savings on your monthly phone bill!

It’s just that simple. Get started today!

Get Started Today!

cloud-computing-1989339_1280Make no mistake, almost everything is becoming a cloud based service. Still running Exchange? You’re living in the past, my friend. Phone systems are, of course, no different. While I’ll maintain there are huge advantages to running an on-prem system (mostly cost and low latency), there are a lot of conveniences of having your system in the cloud. Now, when I say cloud, I am referring to platforms like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services for this specific post.

Let’s talk a little about the conveniences of a cloud hosted phone system. First, it makes deploying remote phones a much easier process, mostly because every phone is now remote. It also allows anyone traveling abroad to bring their phone with them, and with Internet access, they can make calls from Singapore as if they were calling from Buffalo, New York (for example) with no international toll charges. Of course, you can always call extension to extension for zero cost. That’s a pretty amazing concept.

You might be thinking, this can all be done with an on-prem system as well, and you’d be right, but why poke holes in your corporate firewall, and subject yourself to the fun of NAT traversal if you don’t need to? You can also accomplish redundancy with an on-premise system, but you will lack the flexibility of providing multi-region connectivity and redundancy (because it’s in the same building), which is what the above-mentioned cloud services can provide.

Why is multi-region connectivity important? Well, if you’ve been reading the news lately, you’ve probably heard that Amazon dropped an entire region for a couple of hours causing mass panic, and the zombie apocalypse (not really). This is the risk you take in exchange for convenience when you place an application or service in the cloud, but when you distribute that application or service across multiple regions, you mitigate that risk significantly. Some businesses went down entirely because they stuck all of their eggs into one basket (region).

It should be known that regions in these cloud services are treated as completely siloed entities. Instances in one region, cannot simply ping an instance in another region via local IP address, even if they are on the same Amazon, or Azure account. For that, you need some sort of connector, like a VPN. Be aware, however, this is accomplished differently based on what service you are using.

Amazon Web Services, for example, does not have any built-in tools at this time to connect regions together. If you’re planning on deploying FreePBX in both Oregon, and Virginia for redundancy, you’ll need to create a VPN between the two systems with your own virtual appliance so that they can exchange configurations. This should not be confused with Sangoma’s High Availability module for FreePBX, as that requires two systems to be on the same subnet with very low latency between them.

Microsoft Azure, DOES provide the ability to create a region-to-region VPN without using a 3rd party VPN concentrator, and with my experience, the more natively supported tools and services you use, the better things work overall. Truthfully, a VPN may not always be necessary, but that will be dependent on the specific phone system, and how it prefers to communicate with its slave or warm spare. It generally isn’t a bad thing to have regardless.

Before I get more into the strategy of multi-region redundancy, I’d be remiss not to mention a second option, which is connecting either Microsoft Azure, or Amazon Web Services to your local corporate network. Both services, have native tools to create a VPN to your network, provided you have a compatible firewall on your side of the equation. In this scenario, you would have a system on your local network, with a warm spare in the cloud, which can talk local IP to local IP. This option isn’t as flexible as moving all phone system communications to the cloud, but would still provide redundancy in the event your on-prem system goes down, but you still have a live Internet connection to your building. If your entire network takes a nose dive, you are SOL.

Strategy: I originally had the idea (when writing this post) of testing Wazo’s built in high availability module, but I found that just installing the platform on Amazon was so incredibly difficult and an inconsistent process that I just gave up. Back when it was called Xivo, I tested high availability and it worked great. It didn’t work as well as Sangoma’s High Availability module, but it did a decent enough job. The way that it works (or worked), is by moving the configuration from the master system to the slave via a secure tunnel, then it would synchronize and shut down Asterisk on the slave. Its job would then be to continuously ping the master, and in the event, the master was unresponsive, start Asterisk, and bring up the SIP trunks. The only thing you’d have to worry about is registering all of your phones to the slave PBX. That can be automated by using IP phones with a secondary SIP server.

>Sangoma Gateways and Analog/Digital CardsSo, because Wazo was such a PITA, I decided to go with something more mature in the open source space for this post, FreePBX. FreePBX can be configured as a warm spare similarly to Wazo, but it isn’t as automated of a process. Take a look here, to see what’s involved in the basic setup. You will STILL employ IP phones with a secondary SIP server (>Sangoma’s phones do this BTW). Like WAZO, a transfer of the configuration is sent to the warm spare in the opposite region via a secure tunnel, but the difference is in the synchronization. Wazo will instantly synchronize, but FreePBX will require a restore to be performed, which can be automated. You will also need to exclude changing the network settings on the warm spare. We aren’t exactly replacing the production system, we are just providing an alternate for phones to register to. The only intervention that should be required in the event of a failover is activating the SIP trunks (because you would have chosen to turn them off in the warm spare’s restore).

To summarize: When your production phone system has an issue and goes down, your IP phones will attempt to register to the secondary SIP server (via public IP address), which resides in another region (using either Azure, or Amazon). To complete the failover, you will need to log into the warm spare, which has now become the production system, and enable the SIP trunks. Within a reasonably quick period of time, calls in and out will occur as if nothing happened.

While this all works, the primary challenge is the timing of the synchronization between systems since it is not instantaneous. Logically, you’ll want to back and restore to the warm space nightly, but if a lot of changes are expected on a system daily, you may want to schedule that more frequently.

If you plan on deploying your phone system to the cloud, and redundancy is going to be an important priority, well then, I hope I gave you something to think about. Stay tuned for my upcoming post on creating a quick and easy VPN between Amazon Web Services regions.

Happy VoIPing!

Cloud Phone Systems by Cloudspan

After thoroughly evaluating the pros and cons, you finally decided to switch to a VoIP system. The next big question would be: How do I get the best VoIP deal from all the VoIP service providers?

Believe it or not, most buyers rushed into making a purchase decision and ended up realizing they could have saved a fortune with better quality product or service if they would have spent some time researching and comparing! Here we provide some tips to help ensure that you get the best VoIP service deal.

Step One: Approach multiple VoIP service providers

Contact multiple VoIP service providers from different sources and pick out at least five for further consideration. Possible sources include a referral from your friends or advertisements, contacting providers by phone, live chat, or filling out forms online.

One great, simple solution is to utilize our CloudSpan MarketPlace, a one stop shop for multiple service providers with the best service and products. Our VoIP solution specialists help customers winnow down the ideal solution to meet their business requirements, saving them money, time and energy. See more CloudSpan benefits here. Simply fill out the form below to consult with our VoIP specialists:


Step Two: Evaluate and compare the options

Once you have picked out the five or more potential options, be ready to discuss with each provider about their services and products to see if they can satisfy your needs. Meanwhile, record down the consideration factors on a spreadsheet so you can compare them side by side clearly.

Here’s a list of some key points to consider during your evaluation process:

  • Any upfront costs such as VoIP equipment or setup costs
  • Overall savings on the new system
  • Features to meet your requirements
  • Available technical support
  • Time length to switch to new service
  • Any good or bad user feedback
  • Other special business demands you may have

 

Step Three: Make a purchase decision

Every service provider has different pricing and features depending on customers’ business sizes and requirements. Review the comparison spreadsheet you have made and be prepared to negotiate with the providers based on the research you have down. The rule of thumb is don’t rush the decision making process. Give yourself enough time to think through and get the best deal among the options.

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Now you are all set to start deploying the best VoIP deal and enjoy the benefits! If you encounter any issues or have questions when selecting a suitable VoIP service provider for your business, please contact our specialists at 1-800-398-VoIP or email at voipexperts@voipsupply.com. We will be happy to assist you with any VoIP questions.

steveVoIP Service Specialist– Steve Kruszynski  

Email: skruszynski@voipsupply.com
Direct: 716-531-4269

 

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VoIP Service Specialist– Edward Miller

Email: emiller@voipsupply.com
Direct: 716-531-4270

hosted and onsite systemThe first step when implementing VoIP Service is to choose a hosted or on-site system. This can be a difficult decision if you are not a VoIP service expert. Surely consulting an expert can make things easier and simpler; however it’s even better to have some of your own knowledge before you consult the experts. After reading this blog, you will have a basic picture of the best VoIP service solution for your business.

 

Hosted VoIP Systems

A hosted VoIP system is usually an ideal option for inexperienced VoIP beginners as everything is taken care of by a third party company. Taking advantage of the hosted VoIP system, users with minimal hardware and no additional IT staff can switch to VoIP service seamlessly and enjoy the benefits it brings just like other VoIP service experts. This solution is a favorite for small-scaled companies with a limited budget for three main reasons:

  • Low initial startup costs: Little VoIP hardware purchase is required. Low upfront costs means more savings to reinvest back into growing your business.
  • No IT staff needed: The hosted VoIP service provider will be responsible for maintaining, monitoring, and managing your phone system. Placing IT responsibilities to your VoIP service provider can save you a lot of time, money, and energy.
  • Flexible management: With a hosted VoIP phone system, communications management is easier and more flexible than ever before. Being able to access the phone system almost anywhere anytime, you and the involved parties can work more efficiently and productively.

 

On-Site VoIP Systems

An on-site VoIP system means that you have all the phone system hardware required to run directly on site. This is a great solution for enterprise businesses who need more customized functions. The key features of an on-site VoIP system include:

  • Highly scalable and flexible: Everything is operated on your site, so you have better control of what you want to accomplish such as call routing, scalability, migration support and more.
  • Dedicated IT staff recommended: Since you are working more independently with an on-site VoIP system, it’s recommended to have dedicated IT staff on site to help troubleshoot any technical issues and configurations.
  • Higher upfront costs with low monthly rates: Although an on-site VoIP solution requires higher upfront costs to purchase the required VoIP equipment (Servers, switches, phones, etc), this is also a great long-term investment as you own the equipment. With low monthly rates, you can save a fortune and put back into your business growth.

     

    What’s Next?

    Now you have learned the differences between a hosted and on-site system. Whether you have made a decision or you’re still researching, contact a VoIP solutions expert to discuss your thoughts and needs to winnow out the best VoIP service solution and service provider for your business.

    Our CloudSpan MarketPlace is a one-stop shop to help you choose the ideal service provider to meet your business requirements. Simply fill out the form below to request a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you and will be happy to provide you anything you need for VoIP.

  • As many of you know, Skype service is free of charge among Skype users. Actually, until today, millions of users rely on Skype service to communicate over the internet with friends, families, and even business partners. You certainly would wonder if you could utilize Skype in your business as well. To answer that question, we first have to take a look at the pros and cons of Skype.

     

    Pros

    Skype is well known for its less expensive service and easy installation process which are the two main unbeatable advantages in the industry. The fee can be as low as $0.02/ minute for Skype and $2/ month for Skype for Business. Simply download the software, you are ready to talk!

    Covering almost all basic VoIP functions that users expect, Skype satisfies VoIP users with fundamental needs. Skype for Business further expands the capabilities such as the number of attendees allowed in the same video conference to better fit for business usage. Here is a list of the unctions you can expect from Skype and Skype for Business:

    • Call waiting and forwarding
    • Voicemail
    • Caller ID
    • Video calling and screen sharing
    • SMS text messaging

    You can visit Skype’s page for more detailed features and functions. To learn about the difference between Skype and Skype for Business, please refer to our blog.

     

    Cons

    It sounds great so far; however, if your business requires more advanced functions such as call return and blocking, you may want to seek for other VoIP service providers. Also, Skype doesn’t provide emergency call (911) service like many other VoIP service providers or landlines offer. Therefore, you will want to have a backup support for emergencies.

    In addition, Skype for Business is designed to be used as a softphone that can only generate calls through a computer, cellphone, or tablet apps but not on a regular telephone. To have the best communication quality, certified hardware is required. Visit our store for Skype for Business equipment and Skype equipment.

    Back to our question, is Skype good enough for your business? It depends on how much your business needs for VoIP. For small business with a limited budget who only expects basic VoIP functions, Skype could be a great deal. However, for larger-scaled companies and enterprises, the functions and services offered by Skype might not suffice their demands.

    If you are looking for a VoIP Cloud Service provider that can meet your unique business needs, please give us a call today at 1-800-398-VoIP or fill out the form below for a free Cloud Service consultation. Our VoIP expert will evaluate your case and find you a perfect match for your business.


    Note: This blog is co-written by Mary Cheney and Ying-Hui (Evy) Chen

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    The choice to switch over to a VoIP solution or just to a new provider can be a time consuming and frustrating process, if you are not a VoIP expert. That being said, we wanted to put a short list of reasons we think you will benefit from joining our CloudSpan Marketplace.

    REASON #1: LET OUR VOIP EXPERTS DO THE WORK

    CloudSpan Marketplace is a well-known, trusted one-stop-shop for various VoIP Cloud service providers. Our VoIP solution specialists are highly trained by multiple VoIP Cloud Service providers to winnow down the best solution for you regardless of your budgets.

    REASON #2: MULTIPLE PROVIDERS AVAILABLE

    Partnering with the most trusted VoIP Cloud Service providers that share our core values and customer satisfaction, we are able to present you with numerous proposals and guide you towards the ideal solution.

    REASON#3: SAVE MONEY. SAVE TIME.

    On average, our VoIP solution specialists can save you up to 23% off your monthly bill. With the CloudSpan Marketplace, you save not only the money on your phone bill but also the time you put in to search for a perfect VoIP Cloud service provider.

    REASON #4: NO CONTRACTS NEEDED

    Leveraging our relationship with our providers, our CloudSpan customers will not need to sign any contracts. Our money-back guarantee ensures you that we will choose the best solution for your businesses needs.

    REASON #5: TRUSTED PLACE TO SHOP

    We are one of the WNY’s Most Admired Companies, finalists for the 2016 Buffalo Niagara Business Ethics Award (BNBEA) as well as the first Certified B Corporation in Western New York.

    VoIP Supply’s mission is to deliver complete VoIP solutions through a dedication to providing remarkable customer experiences and building long-lasting relationships with all parties. Our customers trust us to do the right thing for them at all times.

    Our VoIP experts are here to help. If you have any questions, please contact us today at 1-800-398-VoIP or use the form below to request a FREE consultation today:


    FULLY CUSTOMIZABLE (1) (1)

    When it comes to choosing a business phone system, there are a few key requirements that move to the top of the list for me.

    • Customizability
    • Ease of Setup
    • Open Source availability

     

    RenegadePBX appliances can be custom tailored to your needs

    Since the RenegadePBX appliances are manufactured by VoIP Supply in the United States, we have the capability to make quick adjustments when necessary.. We also understand that the ability to have choices really can impact the functionality of your PBX. Some of the customizations we offer are:

    • Telephony Card Configuration – select the brand of card and the type/amount of ports you need
    • Software Platform – we can upload any unified communications platform you would like to the appliance before shipment
    • Provisioning – We can fully setup and provision your PBX appliance to be ready to go upon arrival

     

    Our Provisioning Lab helps you with Setup

    Once you’re able to make all the necessary adjustments and add-ons you may need for your appliance, the setup will be your next big hurdle. We are willing to take as much of that off your plate as possible.

    With our provisioning lab, we have the ability to setup and configure your business phone system prior to it leaving any of our warehouses. We will work with you and your VoIP service provider to make sure things are pointed in the correct direction for full compatibility.

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    We can offer you VoIP Service as well

    The CloudSpan MarketPlace by VoIP Supply where our experts will pair you with the right service provider. Within the CloudSpan MarketPlace our solutions experts have access to multiple different VoIP providers allowing them to tailor your VoIP service needs.

    We are here to help after you purchase

    Should you have issues with your RenegadePBX appliance we are able to offer our technical support team here at VoIP Supply. We are just a phone call or an email away to help get you to a solution.

    Contact us today!

    Contact one of our VoIP Solution Experts today at 1-800-398-VoIP or voipexperts@voipsupply.com. They will be able to get you setup with the perfect RenegadePBX configuration for your business.