The right phone system can be a huge boost to both internal and external communications for your business. By installing a phone system that meets your needs, you can empower your staff to work efficiently and provide an excellent service to your customers.
However, selecting the right system is only half the battle. Business phone systems can be complex, and often require several pieces of equipment to interact correctly with each other in order to work properly. As such, setting up a business phone system can be pretty daunting for an inexperienced technician. Fortunately, you can make setting up your phone system a lot easier by avoiding a few common problems.
Most modern business phone systems are IP-based. This means that they use your company’s existing data network, transmitting voice calls in the same way that your computers transmit files to each other. While this practice brings great cost savings, it can put a lot of extra strain on your network if you haven’t got the correct systems, especially if you want to run a large number of lines at once.
Because of this, it’s important to consider your network’s capacity before attempting to set up a new business phone system. If your business only experiences a fairly low call volume, you can probably get away with a standard business broadband connection.
However, if you want to run a medium or high-volume customer contact centre from your phone system, you might need to discuss upgrading your package, as this will prevent you from experiencing overload issues once your new system is set up. Gradwell offer tiered services tailored specifically to your business’s needs; click here to speak to a friendly team member about our cutting edge services today.
The successful running of a business telephone system requires more than just a few handsets and an internet connection. You’ll also need a broadband router to manage network traffic, a Voice over IP (VoIP) server to run your system internally, and a contract with a VoIP provider so that you can make outbound calls.
All of the above can be supplied by Gradwell, but perhaps the most complex part of the set-up is the server, a computer which administers and routes both internal and external calls. Phone servers don’t need to be particularly powerful (an old computer might well do for small set-ups), but they do need to be reliable; as the phone network will cease to work if the server malfunctions. Consider buying a server with dual power supplies or battery backup. This means that if your server’s primary power source fails, the computer will be able to keep running for a time, making your phone network more resilient.
It’s a common problem: you have your phones connected up and your server is online, but you can’t make any calls. Connectivity problems can come in many different forms, but one of the most common causes of trouble is firewalling.
Firewall software is designed to protect your system from threats by analysing traffic as it passes through a certain point on the network. However, if the firewall decides that your newly-established phone traffic is a threat, it could prevent your phones from getting an IP address, stopping any communication between your phones and the VoIP server. You can avoid this problem by manually setting exemptions in your firewall software, effectively confirming to the system that the phones are trustworthy. Different firewalls have different processes to do this.
Some firewalls may also require you to open ports before your phones can make outgoing calls. Opening ports makes individual phones visible to devices on the other side of the firewall. Consult your firewall’s documentation for details on how to carry this out, and your phone’s documentation on which ports to open.
You may find that when you initially set up your system the performance is a little sketchy, with occasional dropped calls and low call quality. In most cases, you can alleviate this problem using Quality of Service (QoS). This is a technology available on most business routers which allows you to prioritise the traffic on your network by its type. If you configure QoS to give top priority to phone traffic, then your router will always deal with any phone traffic it encounters ahead of other types of traffic such as email or browsing data.
This is particularly useful on networks that are nearing capacity, as it allows you to avoid having time-sensitive traffic (such as that which is generated by your phone system) that is stuck waiting in a queue to be processed by your router. Speak to your Gradwell representative about QoS today.
Those are our top tips for getting to grips with your new phone system, but if you have any advice you’d like to share feel free to leave a comment below.
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