I have seen a lot of activity and questions lately as to what VoIP provider to use and why, I see the comments back and forth from users both fans and haters of respective services, I obviously keep out of these as I would only be biased.
I thought I would add in some basic thoughts and comments on what perhaps users might want to think about around VoIP deployments, now just to get his straight I am not looking to bag any offerings or overly promote WxC this is my educated view on VOIP deployments and what users may want to take into account.
Generally the first things custys look at so is first in my list, is this the most important thing to you ? If it is then there may be a number of VOIP options out there, you will always get people that will only want the cheapest and you will see more and more VoIP offerings being advertised. Things to consider though in that cheap may also come at a price...... Keep reading
Does the ITSP provide quality support, do they have a helpdesk that is capable of supporting SIP customers, pretty important really as if there are any issues you would want your provider to be able to diagnose and support a VOIP offering, i.e. can they identify bad and failed calls, do they have MOS capabilities or is it just a matter of try again if you get a bad call, Home users and Business users have different requirements so the other question you need to ask your self is support more important than price, if you phone was off the air would you be happy dealing with the providers support processes ?.
In the VoIP world services are a much more powerful option as they are far and away a more powerful feature set than the traditional TDM services, if services are important to you, do the services work as you would expect with the hardware you have.
For business does your SIP PABX actually work correctly, does the VoIP provider provide any Interop testing or is it just bring it and hope for the best ?
TECHNICIAL REQUIREMENTS / STANDARDS:
This is another issue that can be divided into a couple of parts, Geeks and Non Geeks , if you fall into the geek crowd you are going to be happy with setting up any old box and having a play around to set up dial plans, ringtones etc, just getting a call to work may be all that you need, so there are plenty of options out there. The other crowd non-geeks are the ones that don’t want to play around with ATA’s, routers firewalls etc and are perhaps looking at VoIP but want it to just work the same way as they are used to albeit with a few more features, so for these you would want to look at providers that will take care of the provisioning aspect for you. Generally this is done via automated provisioning setups and will control the device configuration, security and operation.
Does your provider look to comply with the Telco industry standards, Emergency services, Telco act etc, whilst may not be too important to you should be concerned if your provider is taking shortcuts and perhaps not working within industry standards, VoIP is too important a Technology change to let it be compromised by Bob the builder type offerings as it only effects the integrity of New Zealand's Telco infrastructure
If deploying your own system, is your system secure from hacking, this is one of the biggest concerns in the VoIP world right now, it needs to be taken seriously by anyone deploying VoIP systems, in particular IP-PBX’s and Asterisk, SIP hacking can be achieved from anywhere in the world and can be occur at anytime night or day by automatic Sip bot scans, if you do not know what you are doing with security, get someone who does or do not deploy !! the cost of getting hacked can and will hurt, if your box is left insecure it’s just a matter of time as they will get you if your box is left open to the www.
For me probably one of the big ones, generally customers look at price, but take a look at the providers and try and get an understanding in what they have in the way of network, do they run SBC (Session Border Controllers – Industry best practices)to protect the softswitch , do you know what network your provider runs in the way of infrastructure, is it them or are they just reselling someone else, do they actually have real interconnects back into the PSTN or could they be shipping the calls overseas, do they run Telco grade equipment (redundant, high availability) or is your provider perhaps just running a home grown box with a single guy looking after it (they hope when he’s away on holiday nothing happens) this my appear to be a flippant comment but , does reliability matter to you ?,
I picked some random comments from the net as well from a quick 60 second search, and I thought these cover a few things I find important and I agree with the 3cX comments
Reliable Technical Support
One important factor which was touched on above is that with so many new providers coming to the table, not all of them will have a lot of experience within the sector. Selecting a VoIP provider that has been around for a few years is vitally important – as it can give you the peace of mind knowing that you are working with experts in the field, which are experienced.
Chose a Reliable Provider
A telecommunications system for your business is no doubt an investment you are likely to make without a lot of consideration. Although it can be easy to keep with what you know (ie. a traditional telephony system), there are many advantages to using a VoIP solution. Talk to a VoIP provider that is up-front and willing to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Depending on your needs and wants there are more VoIP offerings out there, but as with anything there are also may be some shortcuts , the VoIP world allows for people to bring some low cost offerings but it may be at the expense of some of the other considerations, so look at what you would be happy with, these are some very brief comments but if you think about some of these and what’s important o you it may assist in choosing a VoIP offering.
So say Maverick so sayeth the Flock
End of sermon