Small Business VOIP recommendations?

Gabriel Gunderson gabe at gundy.org
Fri May 25 13:03:32 MDT 2012


On Fri, May 25, 2012 at 11:02 AM, Joel Finlinson <joel at finlinson.net> wrote:
> I'm looking for recommendations on good VOIP
> products/companies/recommendations for a small business (less than 10
> phones/handsets).  Currently using normal CenturyLink lines and standard
> phones and thinking it's time to change to something better and less
> expensive.  Xmission has a $39/month option on their main page.  Anyone
> looked at www.yiptel.com ?

It really depends on what you're looking for. As far as I see it, here
are your three main considerations:


1) SIP origination and termination / DIDs / TF / LD:

Who are you going to get your dialtone from? What do they charge per
minute for calls? Do you want to pay a flat fee and get unlimited
usage? Would you rather pay a little more per minute and hope that
it's cheaper over all? How much do they charge for long distance and
toll free numbers? Do you feel like you trust them enough to port your
existing and published DIDs to them? What codecs do they offer? Is
your existing ISP good enough to use VoIP without issues (bufferbloat,
uptime, network congestion, SLAs etc). How long of a contract are you
willing to sign?


2) PBX like functionality:

Do you want to provide your own PBX or use one provided to you? Do you
need to integrate calls with your CRM or other systems? Do you need
fine grained control over call flow? Do you need to be able to make
changes to recordings or logic quickly (without waiting on a
provider)? Would you rather off load all those issues to a 3rd party?
Do you have sunk costs that you can't yet bring yourself to abandon?
Do you need advanced features like calling queues, conference bridges,
etc?


3) Handsets / phones:

Do you already have SIP enabled phones? How many hard-phones do you
want? How many soft-phones? How important is speaker phone quality?
Does your font desk need to have shared lines? Do you want to buy
phones or lease them? Would you like the ability to provide your own
phones or would you rather get some that are tied to your service (and
guaranteed to work)?


I guess the point is that there are more options now than ever...
that's fun and exciting. But what's right for you?


If you want just plain SIP orig and term with lots of flexibility, I'd
do Flowroute with FreeSWITCH. Lots of flexibility, but you have to
know something about what you're doing. This is what I do for my
business.

If you want middle of the road service where you can bring your own
hardware and a PBX is provided for you, you have tons of options.  I'm
sure AT&T, Qwest, XO, (I think Comcast is getting into this) all have
something like this. If they don't have it *now*, they're all getting
into as quickly as they can.

If you want an end-to-end solution that provides a high level of
customer support and charges on a per-handset basis, Jive (local) is a
good way to go.


Sorry that was so long and rambling... I better get back to work :)


Best,
Gabe


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