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IP Telephony FAQ

What is IP Telephony?

IP Telephony or VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) is the transmission of telephone calls over a data network. This is accomplished by packetization of the voice streams. VOIP enables users to make telephone calls over a data network like the Internet. VOIP converts the voice signal from the telephone into a digital signal that can be transmitted across the data network. At the receiving end the signal gets converted back to voice. The basic telephone functions between traditional voice and VOIP are identical. Users pick aup the receiver, hear dial tone and dial numbers as they’ve done in the past. In fact, many VOIP users are unaware that they are not on a traditional PBX phone system until they learn about the additional features and functions that an IP Telephony system provides.


What are the benefits of IP Telephony?

IP Telephony may use a single infrastructure for providing both Internet access (data) and Internet telephony (voice). Only data-oriented switches need be deployed for moving data as well as packetized voice.

By moving from two separate networks to one powerful converged network, an IP Telephony solution provides immediate cost reductions in both staffing and maintenance of hardware and software.

The convergence of voice and data may facilitate the implementation of such cutting edge applications as unified messaging, multimedia conferencing, collaborative contact centers, and interactive multimedia response systems. These applications help organizations realize business gains by improving operational efficiencies, increasing productivity, and enhancing both user and customer satisfaction.

IP Telephony Solutions allow telecommuting employees to become more productive by granting access to all the capabilities of the telephony software.


How can IP Telephony save money?

One Network: IP Telephony eliminates the cost and administrative overhead required for separate voice and data networks. Why buy, support and manage two separate networks when all you need is one?

Toll Bypass: Calls between branch offices may take advantage of existing IP network connectivity as opposed to paying for PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) calls thereby saving money by routing long-distance calls over the IP network.

No branch office PBX: The remote branch may be set up to appear as an extension to the main branch, enjoying the same voice-mail, conferencing, and desktop handsets as the central branch, but without deploying a local PBX to handle off-network calls.

Lower Start-up Costs: Deployment of new IP telephony services requires significantly lower investment in terms of time and money than in the traditional PBX environment.

Quicker ROI: Investment payback in most cases is usually achieved within 12-18 months following installation.


What are the components of an IP Telephony system?

IP Telephony systems are composed of these basic elements:

  • End devices: these may be IP phones, traditional telephones and/or audio-equipped personal computers.
  • Gateways: handle signal translations between traditional telephone equipment and IP network devices.
  • Gatekeepers/proxies: the gatekeepers/proxies provide centralized call management functions such as user location, authentication, bandwidth management, address translation, etc.


There are so many vendors out there. How do I choose an IP Telephony system?

An IP Telephony solution should be reliable, scalable, standards-based, and provide the features and functionality that would meet your business needs.

Our customized systems employ distributed architecture that eliminates dependency on any single component for redundancy and reliability. And adding users or a new branch office is easier and relatively inexpensive compared to a PBX-based system.

For a detailed quote based upon your specific business requirements, please visit www.inpath.com


Would I have to install it myself?

3Com Phones.com designs, sells, and installs IP Telephony systems for companies of all sizes. We will design a customized IP Telephony solution that will save you money and enhance your staff’s productivity. 3Com Phones.com provides customer support and attractive service plan options to fit your needs and your budget.


How difficult is it to maintain an IP Telephony system?

The best IP Telephony solutions have simple, web-based tools where administrators can control components across the network with a browser, which eliminates unnecessary trips to remote locations. Our products use familiar IP networking, management and application concepts to decrease the learning curve of your staff, reduce or eliminate the need for additional staff, and minimize training.

Service plans are also available where our knowledgeable and experienced technicians can handle any problem, upgrade or modification.

For a listing of our service plan offerings, please follow this link:
http://www.nbxservice.com


Would an IP Telephony solution provide the features my business requires?

IP Telephony is the most affordable voice solution in addition to offering a rich set of call-processing features including voice mail, automated attendant, hunt/call groups, call detail reporting, computer telephony integration, unified messaging, and PC-based visual voicemail/e-mail clients that enable a peer-to-peer relationship between a user’s phone and computer. By adding available software to an audio-equipped PC, users can view recent calls, make calls, access the system directory, even drag and drop telephone numbers from other PC applications or web pages. Our customized systems easily integrate with numerous off-the-shelf applications, including customer relationship management (CRM), call centers, and speech recognition. Advanced applications may also be added that will further enhance productivity.


Would I be able to link branch offices?

Our customized systems offer an extensive range of connectivity options to link branch offices as well as support for remote access users and telecommuters.


How could I introduce an IP Telephony solution to my existing PBX-based enterprise without a major overhaul?

Some IP Telephony solutions can seamlessly integrate with legacy PBX-based phone systems and even legacy phone sets in order to provide a migration path to IP-based telephony over time and at a rate that suits your business requirements.


What is SIP?

The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a signaling protocol used for establishing sessions in an IP network. A session could be a simple two-way telephone call or it could be a multi-user/multi-media conference session. The ability to establish these sessions means that a host of modern services become possible.

SIP is emerging as the protocol of choice for setting up conferencing, telephony, multimedia and other types of communication sessions on the Internet. SIP may also be used for new types of communications, such as application-level mobility across various networks, including wireless, and across user devices.


How does SIP work?

SIP is a request-response protocol that closely resembles two other Internet protocols, HTTP and SMTP (the protocols that run the world wide web and email). SIP transforms telephony into just another web application and thereby facilitates easy integration with other Internet services.

Rather than defining a new type of addressing system, SIP addresses are much the same as an email address.

SIP manages the following basic communication functions:

  • User location
  • Session establishment
  • Session participation
  • Session feature establishment


What are the advantages of SIP?

SIP can establish multi-user sessions regardless of media content. SIP achieves this by the opening, modifying and closing of sessions over IP networks. These sessions could be as basic as a telephone call or as complex as a multi-party mixed media session.

SIP makes use of open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) where customized services may be programmed and deployed that combine elements from telephony and other web applications such as email, messaging, video streaming and the Internet.

For more information on customized programming services for SIP-enabled phone systems, please follow this link: http://www.inpath.com


What are the components of SIP?

There are two basic components within SIP: the SIP user agent and the SIP network server. The user agent is the end system device such as a cell phone, PDA, multi-media handset, or PC. The SIP server is the network device that handles call signaling. The main function of the SIP servers is to provide name resolution and user location, since the caller usually does not know the host name or IP address of the called party.


I don’t want to be a “Beta” site for an unproven technology. Is SIP a standard?

Over the last couple of years, SIP has been adopted as the protocol of choice for signaling. SIP is an RFC standard (RFC 3261) from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the body responsible for administering and developing the mechanisms that power the Internet.

An ever-growing number of carriers and ISPs are offering SIP-based services such as local and long distance telephony, presence and Instant messaging, push to talk, rich media conferencing, and more.

A wide variety of SIP-enabled voice systems and phones are available that give consumers flexibility of choice and cost.


How can I tell if a SIP-enabled phone system is right for my business?

Choosing a phone system for your business is a decision that cannot be make lightly. A modern phone system must meet the following basic requirements. It must:

  • Meet the specific requirements of your business
  • Scale to meet future needs as your business grows
  • Make maximum use of 21st century features and functions
  • Fit within budgetary constraints

Only an experienced vendor-independent dealer/integrator can advise you as to which system is right for you and your business. And a full-service dealer/integrator can design and implement the voice system, train your staff, and provide ongoing support for any upgrades and/or repairs.

Please follow this link for a free, no obligation consultation with one of our voice systems experts: http://www.inpath.com

 

Questions?
Just give us a call 800-884-6945 and our friendly 3Com telephony staff will be happy to assist you. By contacting us, we can also make you aware of specials and deals on 3Com phones.

 

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