OK, so that might sound like a stupid question, but if you are trying to do business, you’d still like to be able to answer your customers calls even if there is a blackout, wouldn’t you?
As the NBN continues to roll out around Australia, more and more businesses are preparing to transition to VoIP in one way or another. Believe it or not, but by 2022 we will all be using VoIP in one form or another.
VoIP is a word which triggers cringe and angst amongst a lot of people, me included. I really hate using the term as it broadly covers many different IP Telephony services. A properly designed and configured business grade IP voice solution is not the same as your Skype or Face Time type of services that you may be used to, or for that matter, an IP Telephony system that has been poorly setup (think plug and play type systems that “just work” – what happens when they don’t? that’s for another post another time).
One of the key things with moving to IP Telephony though, is redundancy, ensuring when your service is down for any reason, your customers don’t get an engaged tone.
First, let’s consider what would cause your Hosted PBX or onsite PBX with SIP trunks to be down. There are three main reasons; power outage; internet outage; or, hardware failure. These can occur due to different circumstances, most outside of our control, but if your system is designed correctly you can reduce the impact on your business by different forms of redundancy.
Think about this for a moment though, if your traditional phone system in your office, with ISDN or PSTN landlines, is down, for whatever of the above reasons, how do you know about it? Usually you wouldn’t unless you try to make a call and the line is dead, or someone calls your mobile to ask why your phones are disconnected! We can change all of that with IP Telephony.
The primary level of redundancy within our Hosted PBX services is a failover. If for any reason your handsets are unreachable by your Hosted PBX system, the system will automatically call 1 or more mobile phones that you have nominated previously. You will your system is unreachable simply by receiving the call on your mobile, the best part being, you didn’t miss that call!
To actively target the various causes of your handsets being unreachable we can do the following;
Power outage – installation of a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) will continue to power your devices. This is not an unlimited supply of power, but gives you a period of time, depending on the UPS capability and size of network, to set up workarounds until the power outage is over.
Internet Outage – connection of a backup internet service, to take up the reins should the primary service fail, again allows you to continue to respond to clients in a limited capacity. Backup internet solutions might be anything from a 4G connection, an ADSL or NBN connection, right up to a duplicate of your primary internet service on a different carrier network.
Hardware Failure – if a single phone dies, not such a major issue, a new one shipped fairly quickly, with calls routed to another phone or mobile. If your router or switch goes, this is a little more major, affecting your entire network in most instances. Depending on the specific needs of a business this might mean having backup hardware onsite, or in the case of most of Cable & Cloud’s Hosted PBX routers, having a next business day replacement warranty might be sufficient.
If anyone of the above affects the carrier level, this isn’t so simple, you may have recently heard about Parklea (in Sydney’s north west) Telephone Exchange burning down, where businesses were without traditional internet or telephony for days. When this occurs, it really depends on what the outage is with as to what can be done as a workaround.
The one area I haven’t touched on is Act of God, or in some cases Act of Idiot. Think here about when a flood, fire, or criminal event occurs and you simply cannot access your office. With a Hosted PBX from Cable & Cloud, your calls can be rerouted in just a few moments, either yourself through a User Control Panel or with a simple call to our support teams.
So when you are considering the options for your business once the NBN has come past, remembering that ALL traditional PSTN and ISDN phone lines will be disconnected by 2022, make sure you consider what redundancy you will have in place, so that you don’t miss your customers calls if you are left sitting in the dark.