One of the best advantages of deploying a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) system is the ability to connect workers remotely. No longer do you need to pay for additional phone lines for your remote employees or let them dial out with a foreign caller ID. With modern telecommunications technology, you can give any employee with a high-speed internet connection an IP phone and they can connect to your business’s office network and take and make calls with remote features as if they were there. They can dial out from your office’s number, take calls at their extension, and even be a part of sales and customer service queues. With the rising costs of transportation and office space, this feature is only gaining importance and relevance, so you should be clear on (some of) the potential pitfalls of running your own private phone system (IP-PBX or Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange) versus using a cloud service such as SoundLine’s MBX (Multi-Branch Exchange) for your business’ telecommunications needs.
The MBX service allows for workers to connect to the central network through remote features wherever an internet connection is available. This is true with the latest IP-PBX systems as well; however, there are two major disadvantages for using an IP-PBX to manage your remote features. First and most obvious, your entire remote staff depends on one system at your office. If it goes down, not only does your office go down, but your entire remote staff gets shut down as well. Many business owners counter that their old PBX phone systems never went down. This segues into the second reason, what will constitute the majority of this article, and what business owners don’t realize: that using their business’ only internet connection to connect their remote staff reduces reliability, requires significantly more internet bandwidth, and can affect call quality.
With an MBX service, workers connect directly to the MBX provider’s datacenter and use the datacenter’s internet. This is like comparing an old dialup connection to a modern fiber internet connection – the point is that they don’t really compare. They go in and out from time to time regardless of whether or not your business has a T1, cable, or fiber connection. You can’t do anything about this unless you have purchased multiple internet connections and were prepared to power your equipment by battery (or generator) in case of power loss. Quality MBX providers should have at least 2 connections on hand, with some (such as SoundLine) utilizing up to 6 different internet connections. This provides the ultimate redundancy and ensures that no matter what is happening at your office, your remote workers will still be able to take calls and your office calls can be forwarded to any number of existing cell phones. This ensures that your business will never rely on single points of failure and can maintain a strong and powerful image.
When you run your own private system, depending on which internet provider you use and the speed of your connection, you will be limited to a certain amount of concurrent phone calls until you buy a secondary internet connection. Regardless of your bandwidth, less than 10 calls should be used over a public internet connection. So, for every 10 phone lines, you would need an additional internet connection at your office, even if your workers are connecting from home! With MBX, your remote workers connect to the central MBX network and use ONLY their own personal internet connection. This saves more bandwidth – upload and download – for your office to use.
On a more technical level, your business’ internet connection goes from your consumer level property to a major hub, such as the Westin Building in Seattle, and then is routed to your provider. So, if you choose the other route, when your remote features connect to your IP-PBX they must first go through one of the major hubs and then to your location, then from your location back through the hub and finally back to your remote worker. With an MBX service, your workers connect directly to your MBX network and avoid the extra time it takes to connect to your office and back – each extra step leading towards extra ping and poor audio quality.