You’re only as good as the Weakest Link

Changing over to a Hosted VoIP solution will save your business money. This solution consists of three main components. These components are the Service Provider, the Wide Area Network (WAN) or connectivity better known as the bandwidth provider, and the network in your office known as the Local Area Network (LAN).

Each one of these components plays a critical role in creating a proper VoIP Solution. Any one of these components if not properly optimized will cause your solution to fail. Most often the blame goes to the Service Provider. However, the issue most often lies with the Bandwidth provider (the WAN) or the office network (the LAN).

For the next several months, we’ll be looking into the details of the three components. Let’s dive into the first right now:

The VoIP Service Provider

This is the company that provides the software being used and the voice minutes. The Service Provider determines the available feature set and system functionality. 
Important questions to ask:

  • Where is the VoIP Service Provider’s solution located? Is it located in a data center? I have seen solutions based in the basements of people’s houses.
  • Is the data center a VoIP specific data center? Is the data center optimized for VoIP? Most data centers are designed for data traffic and do not work well with VoIP
  • How does the VoIP Service Provider handle redundancy and is it geographically diverse?
  • If your WAN or LAN fail, will the solution automatically reroute calls to cell phones or other devices? How do they reroute these calls? With a web interface?
  • When you call into the VoIP Service Provider, do they answer your calls live?
  • Does your VoIP Service Provider have a local technical support staff? There are times when the only way to fix a solution is to have a local onsite support call.
  • Does the VoIP Service Provider proactively monitor your network?
  • Does the VoIP Service Provider provide you with a managed router? This is extremely important in enabling VQ-QOS or better known as Voice Quality-Quality of Service.(VQ-QOS is actually a complete topic in itself)
  • How long has the VoIP Service Provider been in business deploying business class VoIP solutions?
  • Can they provide true voice grade end to end bandwidth solutions? Or do they only provide their service over a third party internet provider or ISP?

Next month, we’ll be looking at The WAN or Bandwidth provider