Business Phone System Maintenance Is Essential for Optimum Performance

A business phone system not only improves the customer experience, but also provides the business with a cost-effective and efficient way to route calls. However, this is only true if the system is running properly and is maintained by knowledgeable personnel. As with any type of technology, over time parts and components can cease to function and will need to be replaced. Depending on the system purchased, these replacement parts can either be nonexistent or very expensive to procure.

This is why it is essential that support and maintenance of the business phone be considered prior to purchase. Although replacement hardware is a key component of keeping a business phone system up and running, there are other maintenance tasks that should be completed on a regular basis to keep the phone system running at its optimum performance.

As technology advances, the operating system and firmware versions need to be consistently updated to keep pace with new technology. Many performance issues can appear when additional features are added without upgrading the core components of the system. In many cases, advancements in network technology can have a direct effect on the performance of a voice over IP enabled phone system. In most cases, the system vendor will have recommendations to upgrade firmware on key hardware components or they might even suggest that you upgrade to the latest version of software available.

In the case of upgrading software, the upgrade will come at an additional cost with the expense of labor for the upgrade being included in the total cost. When upgrading firmware, if the business system is covered under a maintenance agreement, the labor is covered under this agreement with no additional cost to the business owner. Firmware upgrades should be completed periodically to ensure that the system is always running with the latest version of firmware. Most manufacturers make changes to the firmware to address particular performance issues and they release this firmware for specific reasons. If the firmware is not periodically upgraded, the business might not be taking advantage of advancements in technology.

Backing up the business phone system is another area of importance that should be completed on a daily basis or at least whenever there’s a change made to the system. As with any computerized technology, should the system have a major failure you’ll need a backup to restore service as soon as possible. Without a backup of all extensions, call routing, and announcements, the phone system information would have to be re-entered manually. This essentially causes the system to have to be set up all over again which would cost the business valuable time and money. The preferable way to maintain backups would be to create a directory on a server where backups could be written to this directory on a nightly basis. The backups for the system would then be backed up as part of the backup for the file server. Having these backups immediately available is added assurance that should a catastrophic failure occur that communications could be restored in minimal time.

System monitoring is another way to ensure optimal performance and to stay ahead of potential issues before they arise. In most cases, when hardware begins to fail it will often trigger alarms on the phone system. Using software to monitor these alarms, a system administrator can become aware of a potential problem and arrange to have the hardware replaced before it fails completely. This is also true in the case of circuits or phone lines that are performing poorly. When the circuits are not performing properly, this can contribute to poor call quality or audio issues. Even though the issue resides outside of the phone system, monitoring tools can help the system administrator determine which circuit is having the issue so that the problem can be reported to the communications provider. Monitoring the system allows for a proactive approach for troubleshooting and system maintenance.

Since most business systems today are voice over IP enabled, network performance is a key element in how well the phone system performs when making or receiving calls. Monitoring on the network side should also be completed with VoIP technology in mind. The business phone system also has tools that will help the system administrator pinpoint causes of poor audio quality that are related to network performance issues. These tools are dependent on the model of phone system purchased however; most manufacturers recognize the need to have a way to monitor VoIP traffic on a converged network.

The purchase of a business phone system is not the last major decision that needs to be made for communications for your business. Ongoing maintenance and repair is required to keep the phone system running at the highest levels of reliability. Being proactive through monitoring and maintenance will ensure that the phone system for your business will always provide a professional and efficient way of communication.

Do You Think Wireless Phone Systems Are Good?

How good it would feel to have wireless phone systems installed all over, without messy wires and tubes hanging all over the place. Communicating with people around you, who are in your line of vision is certainly not a difficult thing to do; think of a situation where you need to talk to someone who is miles away. How would you do this without a proper channel of communication? This would be all the more of an attractive proposition, if this could be done without the presence of wires or tubes or any such paraphernalia. The point is to check out the various kinds of phone systems that are wireless, which can fulfill your needs and requirements.

To know how good the wireless phone systems are today, it would help if you could take your mind back to the days in which your granddad held on for dear life to a telephone all the time trying to ensure that the wire does not strangulate him. If you have heard him sound more like a frog than like the grandpa you love, it was most probably due to the fact that he had suddenly got his feet or his hands entangled in the mess of wires that were hanging near the phone system. Today, this has changed; the age of wireless communication has arrived.

The wireless phone systems have a lot of additional faciloities that make them all the more attractive. For instance, the call wait facility is available on most phone systems today. With the wireless system, you find that there is an LCD screen that lights up as soon as there is a call that is coming through. You might find that just as this call comes through, there is another one that is on its way as well. There is an indication on the same screen that the second call is in queue and is waiting to be picked up. The wireless system also provides indication that there is a second call waiting to be attended to.

The wireless phone systems come with speaker phones and clear display screens that help make communication quite easy and simple. You do not have to go through any complicated procedure to answer calls and more so, to find out who has called you. The latter is something that comes in quite handy when you are answering a call. Very often you might be in a position where you do not want to talk to a person for some particular reason. When you see their number flashing on the screen, you could put them on hold when you attend to a more important call.

When you buy your wireless phone systems, make sure you check out the various manufacturers who are in the business; there are always deals and discounts for you to choose from, any time of the year.

Consider Asterisk Phone Systems For Your Business Communications Needs

All business operations want to save money. One of the biggest office expenses can be the various aspects of telecommunication, from PBX setups to call center operations. Utilizing open source telephony, Asterisk phone systems have been under development since 1999, and can provide a wide range of services and applications. This free software can transform an ordinary computer into a communications server.

What exactly does the Asterisk system do that other systems can not? This software system is often referred to as a “development platform, ” and it can be used to run everything from small business PBX systems to huge media servers. Open source technology, besides being free, is customizable and versatile. The Asterisk system uses Linux, the freely available source code that has challenged other major systems.

Asterisk, while originally designed for Linux, now also incorporates Mac OS X, NetBSD, OpenBSD, FreeBSD and Solaris. It can also provide a Microsoft Windows port called Asterisk Win32. When installed, the Asterisk software can transform an ordinary computer into a device that can function as a conference server, PBX or VoIP gateway. Asterisk PBX systems include many of the same features found in proprietary systems, including voice response for phone menus, conference calling, voice mail, and call distribution.

The original operating code was written by Mark Spencer of Digium Inc., in addition to contributions from open-source engineers worldwide. Asterisk is not a phone company in the sense that it manufactures telephone sets or physical components. Rather, it will provide the basic software building blocks for many communications systems, and can be constantly changed as conditions require.

Many call centers around the world have adopted the Asterisk system primarily because it is flexible and adaptable to existing features such as bulk dialing, remote IP agent capabilities, and advanced routing. It requires no additional hardware for use with voice over IP. It does require hardware devices and cards for certain kinds of interfaces, including standard telephony cards, and this support comes from the parent company, Digium, Inc.

Featured in telephony and PBX are VoIP and PTSN drivers for interface cards, and routing and handling inbound calls as well as outbound. There is control of media management functions such as tone generation, record and play, and call detail for billing purposes. The system can convert from one protocol or media format to another, and is capable of database integration as well as Web services integration. It is capable of single or multiple party bridging and recording and monitor functions.

Asterisk can also provide a telephony setup program called AsteriskNOW. Downloading it allows customization, and the creation of solutions by building the inner workings of a system. Much of the complexity of Asterisk and Linux is handled by the administrative GUI. This allows your system engineer to completely incorporate into an existing system such products as VoIp or Skype Gateway, IP PBX, a Call Center ACD, Conference Bridge, and much more.

The free open-source technology of Asterisk phone systems has been adopted by call centers and businesses of all sizes worldwide. If you are looking for a different solution to your PBX or call center issues, the Asterisk system can combine the time-proven features and functionality of traditional PBX with the advanced Voice over IP system for a solution that is both cost-effective and up-to-the minute.