Small Business VOIP recommendations?

Joel Finlinson joel at finlinson.net
Sat May 26 11:36:38 MDT 2012


On May 25, 2012, at 13:03, Gabriel Gunderson <gabe at gundy.org> wrote:

> 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).  <snip>
> 
> 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

      Gabe, Gabe, Gabe.  I knew you wouldn't disappoint!  Thanks for the awesome response - though I'm thinking you might've used up your monthly allotment of questions on my behalf.  ;-). 

    In this situation, I'm more in the project manager/consultant/recommender role.  Help them find something with minimal ongoing effort from me after the fact.  The Jive, Arrivaltel, Gabe's company, some-other-PLUG-member's company, (something less expensive than CenturyLink's current solution).  

 - jf


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