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skyace888
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Joined: Aug 19, 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 12:12 am    Post subject: Need a new phone system Reply with quote Back to top

I'm not sure if this is the correct forum or if the Vonage service can be useful to me or not, but there seems to be alot of knowledgeable people around here, so I will ask for suggestions.

My father owns a wholesale warehouse operation and is looking to upgrade his phone system and Internet connection. Presently, he has a 15+ year old system where the three phone lines branch out from a Panasonic switching box to various locations around the warehouse. Each phone can access all three lines, the system allows phone-to-phone pages, pages can be made through a central speaker through the warehouse, calls can be transferred from phone to phone, the system has hold music, etc. It is nothing super fancy, but something that gets the job done for a small business. In addition, a multifunction fax is setup in the office to send and receive faxes on line 2. A computer in the office also uses line 2 to dial-up to the Internet when needed. Naturally, faxes don't come through when the computer is online.

I am a newbie when it comes to telephony and Voip; however, I work in the IT industry and have experience with networking in general. I'm in the process of looking for the most cost-effective option to upgrade both the phone systems and the Internet connection. The phones are not as clear as they used to be and it would be nice to have additional features such as an automated greeting and voicemail. As far as the Internet goes, broadband service is a must!

Right now it costs about $150 per month for the phone system including local and long distance. The Internet service is only about $15 per month. What would be some options for this situation? Would it be possible for me to perform the upgrade over a weekend? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Al
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Storm_Law
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Joined: Jul 18, 2006
Posts: 113
Location: Chatsworth, CA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 7:40 am    Post subject: There are many solutions out there! Reply with quote Back to top

There are many small PBX solutions out there that would do everything that you are currently doing. However, why change the current PBX system if it works?

It sounds to me like what you really need is a high speed Internet connection such as DSL or Cable for Internet Access so that you do not tie up the fax line for connecting to the Internet.

You will have to weigh the cost of a broadband Internet line and multiple voice over ip lines versus the cost of your current setup with POTs Lines.

It may turn out to be the same. You current hardware would work with Vonge lines but you would need to have a broadband or DSL line to connect your Vonage adapters to.

Do some Internet searches on small PBX systems. You will find that many come with voice-mail and music on hold built in. Many small PBX systems even have Voice over IP used as the interconnect between the phones and the control unit! (You could also use voice over ip for the outside lines too.)

Good Luck!
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skyace888
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Joined: Aug 19, 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Thanks for the reply. A few months back I tried setting up Earthlink DSL in the office, but it would loose the connection everytime someone tried to call in. I'm not sure if phone line filters would have solved this and didn't have time to troubleshoot, so I sent everything back. Regardless, I think it would be best to get a new phone system so we don't have to pay the phone company $150 per month. Surely there must be more cost effective options. Additionally, it would be nice to have a few wireless handsets so employees could do price checks and answer the phone from anywhere.
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Storm_Law
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Joined: Jul 18, 2006
Posts: 113
Location: Chatsworth, CA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 3:09 pm    Post subject: Filter Reply with quote Back to top

I used DSL I few years back, and you are required (at least back then) to use a special filter at the connector where the DSL comes in.

You also have to be a certain physical distance from the phone company PBX for DSL to work.

Do you have cable in your area for business? If so you could get a much faster connection and have the ability to watch CNN at your office!

Do your searches. There are all sorts of small business PBX options out there, and there are all types of wireless handsets available as well.
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Steve48
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Joined: Aug 30, 2005
Posts: 4777

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Skyace, I agree with the things Storm_law has been telling you. In addition, I would suggest that you work the broadband internet service first, and I would suggest cable over DSL if you can get it. I assume that the business would benefit from this change even if you don't end up with Voip phone service.

Once the broadband is working, run the forum Voip test and also the test at www.testyourvoip.com . These tests are designed to tell you how well your broadband service is working with respect to the things that Voip needs.

I would not commit a business to Voip phones until I've done that sort of checking and I would not bet on being able to set everything up and get all the problems out of the way in one weekend. I would cost out everything before starting. See how much the total cost of the internet service and the phone service for a Vonage business account with several lines is going to be. If possible, start with one or two Vonage lines and retain one or two land lines. Use the Vonage service for awhile, especially for your long distance outgoing calls, and see how things work. Go on from there.

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