Many people now are sold on the benefits of cloud or hosted telephony. The wondrous world of cloud based VoIP has also been understood and they are now shifting from PSTN systems. Before you take that extra step, however, it is necessary to understand how it works and what you will need in order to have it installed. As such, you need to take a look at the options and see what sort of equipment will be required.
How It Works
Cloud telephony works like as a SaaS or Software as a Service. The service provider installs a world class IP PBX on a secure data centre and gives you connectivity in whatever numbers and features you need. The service provider will give you an id and password for you to connect. Once the setup is complete, your endpoints become extensions to the large IP PBX hosted by the provider. You can start making and receiving calls. The provider will also give you an application to manage your extensions, call patterns and features.
The application to connect to cloud telephone will be provided by the service provider. Many of these are browser based, so you do not have to even install any application. All you need is a user ID and password.
The server, as we mentioned before, is a large IP PBX. This is installed by the service provider in a data center. The service provider is responsible for all its upkeep in terms of hardware and software. Some service providers go a great length. Toshiba, for example, has hosted it’s IP PBX in an extremely secure environment with multiple T1 lines, a generator that can power the entire center for 20 days, and a complete backup in another data center for failsafe.
The Telephony Resources
At your end what you need are the following:
- A high speed Internet connection. At a rough scale, look for at least 50kbps of free connectivity for each extension you install.
- A good LAN with structured cabling and a VoIP router set in place.
- A telephone or what we call end point. If you are eager to use an existing analog phone, you need to get an adapter. If you have good LAN with a high speed broadband connect, go for a modern IP Phone. That will have all the capabilities you need for a robust VoIP set up.
The deployment as such is quite simple. When you sign up with a service provider, he will guide you through the steps. In most cases if you are able to connect to the Server, you are done.
Connection to PTSN Network
Remember that VoIP through the cloud is strictly IP communications. Essentially, you can only speak to people who have an IP address. But what if I want to speak to a landline or a mobile phone? What if I want to call someone outside the US? This is where SIP trunking comes in. Most local and long distance call within the US will be provided as part of a package. If you need to call someone outside the US, discuss it with the service provider and list your countries. He will have deals ready for you to make those calls. He will provide you with a list of ITSP routes that you can choose from.
One of the fantastic features of VoIP is Unified Communications. This allows you to integrate your data with voice telephony. In simple terms, you can send data to the person you are speaking to in real time. Just make sure that you have enough bandwidth.