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5 Mistakes SMB’s Make When Switching to VoIP

Free in network calling – check.

Save money on long distance calling – check.

Cool new phone – check.

What was that you said? Huh? Do you hear echo? Let me call you back in a minute – check.

VoIP sucks! – check.

Sound familiar? It does to me. Every day I hear these complaints – on phone calls, emails and my new favorite – in tweets. Listen up people – VoIP doesn’t suck – that is if you do it the right way. Deploying VoIP doesn’t require a degree in rocket science, but it does require some common sense and a little friendly advice from your friendly VoIPhead – me.

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How To Select a VoIP Consultant

What Do You Need to Look For in a VoIP Consultant?

Enterprise VoIP Planet is running a series of articles on migrating your business to VoIP. Their most recent article centers around becoming a VoIP consultant, one that specifically deals with the trixbox/Fonality PBXtra solution. In the article, Carla Schroeder mentions two rules that all VoIP consultants should live by:

  • Leave the Geek at Home. Sell a Solution, Not a Box.
  • Talk Least, Show Most. Build yourself a sleek, attractive demo unit.

Slim advice for sure, but you might be asking yourself what this has to do with selecting a VoIP consultant.


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Lawyers Need VoIP and PSTN Calling Options

No Service Professional Should Depend on VoIP

Lawyers, and all service professionals for that matter, should certainly utlize Voice over IP service. As Chuck Newton, over at SoloLawyer said, no lawyer should be without it. But solo lawyers and attorneys, and service professionals alike, should never strictly rely on Voice over IP for their business communications. Due to the quality and reliability issues that using Voice over IP as your ONLY communications tool presents, lawyers and service professionals should always keep a PSTN (standard land line) for fail-over purposes.

What Else Should Lawyer’s Look For?

As I highlighted in my review of the Top 10 VoIP Service Providers, lawyers should look for the following when selecting a VoIP service:

  • Don’t Pay More Than $24.99 per month.
  • Do Look For a Service With a Free Device.
  • Watch out for Activation Fees.
  • Wait For Special Promotions.
  • Do Some Research On Others Experience With the Service Provider.
  • Don’t be Afraid to Switch. We All Make Mistakes!

I would add one more for lawyers:

What VoIP Service Providers Offer These Devices

Here is a quick list of VoIP service providers that offers hardware that allows lawyers and service professionals to connect to the PSTN.

Still need more help? Feel free to contact me for more assistance.

VoIP Basics – How Does VoIP Work?

In our first installment of VoIP Basics, we took a look at “What is VoIP?” Today we will explore the nuts and bolts behind VoIP calling to gain a better understanding of “How VoIP Works”. In case you missed it, click here to read the first installment, “What is VoIP?

How Does VoIP Work?

Voice over IP works in a different manner then the traditional Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) we have been using for the past few decades. Rather then leverage the circuit switch system like POTS, VoIP utilizes packet switching. As we discussed previously, IP is a data-oriented protocol used for communicating data across a packet-switched network. The specific steps involved with a VoIP call might vary based on what type of VoIP calling you are utilizing, but in general all types of VoIP calling follow this general process.

  1. Your analog “voice stream” (you talking) is broken down into digital packets (by hardware, software, or both, depending on the type of VoIP call). These digital packets contain the information of the call, such as sender/receipient ip address and the actual data.
  2. The digital packets are then compressed using a VoIP codec (e.g. G.729, G.711). The compression rate of the codec used by the VoIP Service provider influences the overall call quality, but the larger the packet the greater the risk for a decrease in quality of service due to network bandwith limitations (too many simultaneous calls on the network).
  3. The compressed digital packets are then sent off to their end destination. With the old circuit switched system when a call was initiated a “permanent” route was established for the duration of the call. With the packet switched system, the compressed digital packets follow the “path of least resistence” to their final destination.
    • This is another factor in the overall Quality of Service (QOS) of VoIP. Because most calls do not have permanent route, network congestion could cause the loss of some packets which results in the loss of parts of your words and conversation.
  4. At the recipient, the compressed digital packets are reassembled, decompressed, and converted back to “voice streams” by hardware, software, or both depending on what type of set-up the call recipient is utilizing.

In Laymans Terms: VoIP works by utilizing hardware and software to turn your voice into individual packets that are sent over an IP network (including the Internet) to the person on the other end of the call. Prior to the person on the other end of the call hearing your voice, the individual packets are put back together and converted back to your voice.

Up next we will take a look at the different types of hardware and software that can be used to make a VoIP call.

VoIP Basics – What is VoIP?

This is the first installment of Smith On VoIP Basics, a series dedicated to VoIP Education for the Novice or Beginner. The Smith On VoIP Basics series aims to arm individuals with the knowledge and ability necessary to make informed decisions on the migration to VoIP for their home or small business.

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. The “Voice” part of Voice over Internet Protocol is self explainatory. The Internet Protocol is where some start to get confused. An Internet Protocol (IP) is a data-oriented protocol used for communicating data across a packet-switched network (home, office, the internet). Internet Protocols (IP) allow you to transmit data any interconnected networks. Utilizing a combination of hardware, software, and voice protocols, your conversations are carried over the IP network to its intended destination.

In Layman’s terms: VoIP allows you to make phone calls over any interconnected network, mostly commonly thought of as the Internet.

Up next we will take a look at the different at “How VoIP Works.”

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