IP-Pbx/VoIP -- What is it and why should I care?

IP telephony (VoIP) delivers your telephone conversation over your computer network. Voice transmissions arrive to your phone with the same methodology that data arrives to your computers. The major telecom companies have invested in fiber-optic networks capable of transmitting huge amounts of data. You may be unaware your voice travels via the Internet already… The major Telecom firms are cutting their cost while increasing capability, but you’re not reaping the cost savings unless you use VoIP! This capability has been around for a long time and throughput capabilities increase yearly.

Why should you care?

Simply put, you can reduce your monthly telephone costs by 50-75% or more. Cutting $800.00 month phone bills to $150 a month is a common occurrence. Your savings can be multiplied if your firm has additional locations. Moving extensions is simple and quick, call distribution is easier, and detailed call reports are a few mouse clicks away.

What do I need to take advantage of this technology?

Simply put, you need a reliable Internet connection with sufficient bandwidth to deliver the data seamlessly, and a phone system capable of receiving SIP Trunk traffic. You need an IP PBX. We offer IP PBX solutions based on the open-source software framework known as ”Asterisk”. This software converts an ordinary computer into a communications server. Released in 2004, Asterisk communication software was embraced by a global community who can boast over 1 million production deployments in over 170 countries. It is in use by small, medium, large businesses, and government agencies.

Before Asterisk, business phone systems were an expensive proprietary piece of equipment that generally did nothing more than switch calls between expensive proprietary phones. Features such as auto attendant, voice messaging, call queues, and interactive voice response were all expensive proprietary add-ons. Most features required a “per seat license” at additional cost and additional expensive proprietary hardware. Worst of all, if you out grew your system you usually had replace everything.

Our solutions are nothing like that.

Asterisk IP PBX runs on ordinary computer hardware that almost anyone can service. Since its not proprietary hardware, commodity pricing keeps costs no different than any other software application. The software remains the same whether it’s being used by a small firm or a large government agency. The only thing that differs is the size and power of the computer that is running it. Asterisk IP PBX uses “industry-standard” SIP telephones. It is a radical change from the expensive proprietary systems. Add-ons that proprietary vendors are known to charge extra for include:

  • Voicemail
  • Auto Attendant (ACD)
  • Call Queues
  • detailed call reports
  • Call Recording
  • multi-party conference bridging
  • unlimited extensions
  • On hold music/messages
  • Paging & Intercom
  • Email Integration

are all included for free, no additional licensing fees required! While all these features are included you are not required to use all of them, we adapt the features to meet your needs. When your needs change, so can the highly flexible system.

While Asterisk can interface with legacy analog Public switch telephone networks (PSTN), your greatest savings come from using SIP trunks.

Why would you pay over $600.00 a month for the same functionality that can be achieved for less than $10.00-50.00 a month? Consider the following comparison between analog service versus an IP-Pbx and SIP services...

For illustrative purposes let’s say your business has eight telephone lines provided in a hunt group using Public switch telephone networks (PSTN) services. The kind of service most telecom firms provide. This means eight customers can call concurrently before they get a busy signal. And each one of those lines cost approximately $75 a month ($600.00). Remember, that’s $600.00 per month for eight concurrent calls. Even more if you use costly conference features.

Now let’s take your business phone number and port it over to a sip trunk. A sip trunk delivers 20+ call paths providing you have the bandwidth.That means 20+ concurrent calls. Sip trunks cost $1.25 per month and one cent a minute. So grab your phone bill and see if your usage is detailed in minutes. If your firm used one-thousand minutes of conversation at a penny a minute, your bill would be $10 plus the $1.25 for a total of $11.25/monthly. Talk two-thousand minutes and your bill would be $21.25. Five-thousand minutes and you’re looking at $51.25. Now remember that $600.00 monthly bill. Under SIP trunk service it’s been reduced significantly. If conference feature are needed, just add conference callers at one cent per minute per caller. Much less than that feature under Public switch telephone networks (PSTN) service.

This is why so many businesses have embraced IP telephony/VoIP. A recent customer was spending $300-$400.00 a month utilizing conferencing features on top of their usual $700/mo phone bill. These conferencing features are built-in to our IP PBX at no additional charge which provided additional savings. This client now averages a $150-200/monthly bill. A 75% savings! Need a toll free number, add toll free lines for $1.25 monthly and just pay the two cent per minute usage. The ultimate in flexibility.

Businesses with multiple locations benefit even more as calls between locations travel via encrypted VPN tunnels. Calls between different company locations do not tie up incoming or outgoing lines Calling these remote or branch locations works just like calling the office down the hall. You can transfer a call from Atlanta to Denver just like in inter-office call, and it does not even count toward your penny a minute SIP trunk phone charge. It’s totally free. No long distance charges ever! Your calls can even be programmed to follow you on your cell phone. Every business has unique needs, yet Asterisk based systems are so flexible, it can be configured to provide a cost saving solution while reducing existing costs.