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VoIP for SMB/SOHO

By awfernald ·
I have various clients that are looking for advice on what would be a good VoIP solution for them. They are specifically looking at getting rid of the local telecom (SBC) and their constantly rising prices.

I specifically have one small company that wants to get VoIP set up so that he can sit at the local coffee shop talking on his PC-to-phone, etc... He is also wanting to replace his dedicated phone line for his fax machine as well, since this would drop his monthly line fee from ~$32 to ~$16.

I'm rather leery about his, however, looking for any advice at all.

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by TheChas In reply to VoIP for SMB/SOHO

First question, what is there broadband service?

If it is SDSL, IDSN, or even a T1 line provided by the local telephone company, they may not be able to eliminate local phone service without changing broadband providers.

Second, how close are they to using the full bandwidth of their broadband connection for just data?

Don't forget to remind them that with VoIP, if their broadband connection or network server goes down, so does their phone service. Effectively shutting down many businesses.

VoIP makes the most sense "IF" the companies phone bill has a significant amount of long distance charges.

I think the guy who wants to sit at the local coffee shop and use his office phone over his laptop is dreaming.
Unless I am thinking wrong, he would need to have a VPN or similar connection to the company network made through the WiFi connection at the coffee shop.

Personally, I would still want to keep at least 1 standard phone line and a dedicated FAX line.

What I recommend you do is choose a client who is open to giving VoIP a trial run.

Set them up and see what issues you run into.

Verify any real costs and savings of the project.

Chas

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by awfernald In reply to

Well, guess noone else wants to answer so you get all the points! Anyways, you did point out some good info, however, as far as DSL goes, it seems that you can actually replace your telecome line now and use DSL without having phone service (at least in some areas).

I agree with you though, not the most robust solution out there, but would make a good alternative if you have 4 or 5 phone lines.

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by awfernald In reply to VoIP for SMB/SOHO

The clients I have talked to have been a mixture of DSL and Cable modem broadband users. The response was mixed when I mentioned that if you lose internet, you lose phone service, however, most of the clients were of the opinion that they would still have their cell phones, so no big deal.

The guy that wants to sit at the coffee-shop wants to use the PC-to-phone solution rather than a cell phone, mainly because he wants to:
a) be able to answer his office phone;
b) unlimited long distance and no "plan minute limits"; and
c) he thinks it would be cool

The product that he specifically mentioned was by iconnect at http://www.iconnecthere.com/nonmembers/eng/index.asp

I'm just wondering if this actually delivers on what they say, and would rather hear other peoples experiences before I test it myself (if it really is worth testing).

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by awfernald In reply to VoIP for SMB/SOHO

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