Choosing The Right IP Phone

With the ubiquitous use of smartphones, one would think that phones are dead. Not really. IP Phone is used quite extensively by businesses. It is estimated that over 90% of office communication is through IP Phone.

With 100’s of IP Phones available on the market, how do you choose the one that is right for you? The confusing options from multiple vendors with attractive feature sets, voice quality and price points only increase the complexity of making a decision. Let us take a look at some of the broad factors that need to be considered in the decision to choose an IP Phone.

Do We Need IP Phones At All

There is no denying that the use of mobile phones in enterprise is soaring. At the same time, Nemertes Research has found that businesses still prefer tethered phones. The obvious first reason is call quality. Mobile phone signals are not always strong inside office buildings and office campuses.  We have a tendency to raise our own voice when we cannot hear the other party in a call properly. This may lead to a negative impression for a customer.

Expense is also a strong point.  The costs of supporting mobile devices are going up. If you want to use an executive’s mobile phone as an extension, you will have to bear his data connection costs. At the same time, VoIP and SIP enables executives to log into their work number from anywhere as well as make and receive calls. There is a major benefit to having roaming extensions.

Within the office, IP Phones deliver consistency, reliability and high voice quality that are hard to beat.

Match IP Phone Features to Service

IP Phones are available today from under $40 to $500 and above. It is important to look at the VoIP service’s features and price points before choosing an IP Phone. It does not make much sense to have to subscribe to more VoIP features that are not used just because your IP Phone can use those features. You may also need to integrate the IP Phones with your own internal applications as well as CRM platforms. Though it may make sense to spend a little more for future-proofing, it is not cost effective to go overboard.

Your decision to go with an on-premise VoIP or a cloud based/ hosted system will also have a bearing on the purchase decision of IP Phones.

Stick To Your Budget

All businesses work on a budget. When buying IP Phones, stick to the budget that has been decided. Some IP Phone features may be attractive, but that does not mean you should break your budget. When making a budget, look at all options and features, and decide what you need. Once that is done, stick to those features and budget.

About Universal ComOne

Universal ComOne offers award winning business telephone systems that are right for any business. We can design a solution to fit your needs. Please visit our VoIP Phone Systems page to get more details on our business phone capabilities.

Call 337-205-9364 for all your business phone system, data cabling and communication needs.

Why do organizations need to record calls?

VoIP offers the unique feature of recording each and every call made using the system. You can save the recorded files in the form of a voice files that can be later reused for various business purposes. There are several call recording tools available in the market that can be used to record VoIP as well as PSTN conversations. This is in fact a great way of immortalizing the conversations and reusing them as and when required.

After you have recorded the calls, you will be able to save them on to the hard disk of your laptop or PC or even cloud storage. The files are stored in the form of media files that follow popular audio formats like mp3, wav etc. Once the calls are stored as audio files, you will be able to share them, archive them, podcast them and do many other things that you desire. Companies often record calls because it is very important for businesses to save information that can be used for managerial or other purposes. People often might not quite like the idea of recording calls as they find it to be a breach of privacy; however, there are real good reasons behind recording phone conversations in an organization.

Companies have several pertinent reasons behind recording a few or all the phone calls. One common reason behind call recording is to improve customer handling and quality management. Often managers want to keep a tab on how the executives in different departments handle customer calls. There is always scope for improvement but it cannot be done until and unless top level managers have access to the voice records. Once they are able to access the audio files of the recorded calls, they will be able to analyze the performance of each executive and offer suggestions on improvements as well.

Quality control in customer call handling is imperative tasks for managers and recorded phone conversations can be a great database for making effective case studies. These case studies can later be used during training sessions to point out the exact mistakes being committed. Thus, agents and executives who handle customer calls on a regular basis will be able to avoid committing the same mistakes and improve their quality.

Another big advantage of call recording is that it provides an opportunity to the executives to later replay the conversation and find out if they have missed out on any important point mentioned by the customer, vendors, colleagues and even seniors. Thus, they can take note anything they missed and provide better and appropriate service to customers.

Call Recording Tools

It is not a very efficient method to put your phone on loudspeaker and record the calls. There are several gadgets and tools to facilitate recording of phone calls that are available either directly with the phone set or uses an external sound card. There are numerous call recording tools offered by VoIP and you can take advantage of these smart yet convenient tools, which are not only limited to call recording. The popular call recording tools are broadly classified into:

  • Tools for personal use
  • Tools for business use

If you are using a PBX at office then there are several business call recording tools integrated with the VoIP telephone system and you can keep the recorded file in your company’s secured server or use the cloud storage facility offered by major VoIP service providers.

Record a live phone conversation to your voicemail– keep it for future reference or forward it to others.

Call Manager – a PC Application

This powerful feature provides call control from your PC without ever picking up the telephone system – simply by using your mouse.
Call Manager

  • Customize: Each user has the ability to customize their control buttons for quick dialing (i.e. – speed dial numbers, one-touch extensions keys).
  • Outbound Calling: Copy and paste the telephone number from other programs into the Call Manager dial window. You can also include letters in the telephone number; Call Manager will automatically convert the letters to the matching numbers on the telephone keypad (i.e. 1-555-2-CALL-US).
  • Drag and Drop Feature: Makes call transfer, speed dialing, and other functions faster and easier.
  • Instant Messaging: The Chat feature allows text communication capabilities between users, broadcast message to multiple users, and simultaneous Chat sessions.
  • Extension Keys: Dial other extensions with the touch of a button, and see user availability from your computer screen with lamp indication.
  • Docking: Dock the Call Manager program to any edge of your computer screen to optimize your screen space. You can work in other programs without hiding the docked toolbar.
  • Personal Settings: Can enable settings to receive automatic screen pops with caller information on incoming calls.
  • Call History: A log of incoming and outgoing calls is automatically saved, and can be used to search, sort, print, or redial with just one click.
  • Call Notes: Type notes during a phone conversation. The notes will remain with the call wherever it is transferred, so callers do not have to repeat themselves or re-answer questions.
  • Voicemail: A flashing notification will appear on your computer screen when you have a new voice message.

Choosing the Right Wireless Headset: DECT vs. Bluetooth

As you’re hunting around for wireless headset to go with your unified communications implementation (because, as we’ve discussed, a proper wireless headset is crucial to user acceptance), you’ll likely come across the DECT standard. You may find yourself wondering just what DECT is and how it differs from Bluetooth. This simple post will, hopefully, put the matter to rest.

DECT stands for Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications, although it’s also known as Digital European Cordless Telecommunications – which makes sense because it’s a standard that originated in Europe. It is used to connect a cordless phone to a base station mainly on wireless phone systems. DECT is also used for various other applications, ranging from
baby monitors to industrial remote controls, but for our purposes, we’ll focus on the phone systems.

DECT is used for both consumer and corporate phones. In the latter case, it can be used with a PBX (IP- or TDM-based) and a wireless LAN, enabling users to move around an office without losing their calls.

The standard is widely used in or near the 1.9 GHz frequency band; however, it does not interfere with other wireless technologies including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.


People are often concerned that others could tap into their phone call via a wireless connection; however, according to Dennis Majikas, a service engineer with Jabra, “That is almost impossible to do once authentication is established. There are two areas of potential concern, the first is when the headset to base authentication is established which includes a number of handshakes and allows for establishment of a secure link. Once that happens the wireless headset then turns voice into digital data, encrypts that, and passes only the encrypted data back to the base (for both standards), making the conversation highly secure.”

Majikas adds, “DECT uses 64 bit encryption, and Bluetooth has 128 bit encryption, so once the wireless headsets are appropriately paired with their base stations the chances of someone effectively listening in on a call is virtually nil.”

The Distance Dilemma

DECT offers a much greater range than Bluetooth. DECT has a range of about 100 meters, whereas, Bluetooth ranges from 1-30 meters (depending on its class).

  • Class 1 goes up to about 30 meters
  • Class 2 about 10 meters
  • Class 3 is 1 meter.

In an office environment, a Bluetooth-capable base station for a wireless headset would typically be Class 1. But a smartphone would be Class 2 so if the headset was to answer a call from the smartphone, it would automatically adjust itself to Class 2 power level. Class 3 is typically used for devices such as keyboards and mice.

Connectivity Considerations

Another difference is that a DECT wireless headset only connects to its base station to provide connection to the phone network. Multiple base stations can be placed throughout a facility, so if you go outside the range of one base station, it will seamlessly hop to the next base station in order to provide continuous connection without ever dropping a call.

On the other hand, a Bluetooth device can connect to up to 8 other devices simultaneously.  For example, a headset can be connected to a user’s mobile phone, computer-based soft phone and desk phone.

So the choice in wireless headset will largely depend on how it will be used. For office environments where users need it for their desk or computer-based phones, a DECT headset makes sense. The headsets will allow users to move around as much as needed.

On the other hand, if the wireless headset will also be used with a mobile phone, then Bluetooth may well make more sense. Mobility will be less of an issue since users have their mobile phones with them anyway, so they will likely remain within the 10-meter limit. The ability to use the same headset for both office and mobile phones is convenient. And if you’ve got a UC system that enables uninterrupted handoffs between computer-based softphones and mobile devices, that’s even better – the single Bluetooth headset should be all your users need.

Toshiba Releases UCedge!

One of the hindrances of using a business phone system is the wide variety of end devices you may need to use. For example, you will use an IP or Digital phone to make a call. At the same time, if you want to access a data file, you may need to use a computer. But what if all these can be combined to a single end device, and at the same time, give you mobility and flexibility? That is exactly what UCedge does.

Designed to work with VIPedge, IPEdge, and Strata CIX, UCedge has an application that you can download and install on your Windows or Mac laptop, any tablet and your Apple or Android smartphone. Once the application is installed, UCedge can federate multiple networks and give you access to all the features on the server.

For more details on the product release, click here.

About Universal ComOne

Universal ComOne offers award winning business telephone systems that are right for any business. We can design a solution to fit your needs.

Call 337-205-9364 for all your communication needs.


IP Backhaul in Mobile Communications

IP backhaul will definitely sound alien to all of us who have not dwelled deep into understanding the technology behind VoIP. However, when I decided to decode the latest enigma called IP backhaul, I was surprised to find out that it is not as alien as I thought it to be. Our telecommunication networks are not made of just the LAN and gateways; it also includes intermediate networks that link the core network along with the other small networks. Backhaul is a service provider’s obligation to transmit packets to and from the global network. To put it simply, IP backhaul is a commercial provider of bandwidth services who guarantees QOS or Quality of Service to their customers.

Multiple Choices in Mobile

If you are looking for choices when it comes to mobile backhaul then you platter is full as you can choose from the wide array of PTN technologies liked T-MPLS, IP/MPLS, and PBB-TE. However here you need to take a number of factors into consideration and then decide on the one that proves to be highly effective in mobile backhaul. The expansion of mobile data services have started to consume high bandwidth by using the mobile backhaul. These mobile services include the latest 3G HSPA that tends to consume very high bandwidth. The traditional technologies like SDH/SONET and PDH are considered to be very effective in transporting the TDM services.

The rapid growth of data services along with mobile network development is moving towards an all IP-based service. Thus the operators have to choose the technology that they want to use for transporting their data services as well as complying with their carrier-class service requirements. The mobile services currently existing in the market are putting heavy demands on the mobile backhaul that resides between the BSC/RNC and BTS/Node. Some of the facilities offered by the mobile backhaul network are good scalability, high reliability, high bandwidth, high QoS, low cost and robust support for the data, voice and video services.

When we look at the packet switching technology, we find that it does quite well for data services but fails to meet the carrier-class service requirements. However, feature enhancements for packet switching can meet for mobile backhaul needs. In a similar manner, the PTN technologies, which includes T-MPLS, IP/MPLS and PBB-TE, are able to meet the requirements of the carrier-class. However, you will need to learn a bit more to find out the one that suits your mobile IP backhaul.


The traditional Ethernet facilitates multiple services while supporting P2P (point-to-point), P2MP (Point to Multipoint) and MP2MP (Multipoint to Multipoint) service distribution. The PBB technology retains the STP or spanning tree protocol technology and the forwarding table is set depending on a self-learning mechanism and flooding based delivery. However it does not provide adequate protection for all services.


This is the technology that combines the layer-3 (L3) routes with L2 properties. The labeling mechanism is used and it helps in segregating data forwarding from route selection. The primary advantages of MPLS technology lies with the QoS guarantee, creation of VPN and traffic engineering.


The .8110.1 and G.8112 from ITU-T includes recommendations about the T-MPLS technology. MPLS technology is pretty complex and it even increases the costs of equipment while increasing the network complexity. The T-MPLS is based on MPLS technology and this is done to meet the requirements of packet transport.

You will need to analyze all the above three technologies before determining the one that suits your Mobile IP backhauling.

About Universal ComOne

Universal ComOne offers award winning business telephone systems that are right for any business. We can design a solution to fit your needs.

Call 337-205-9364 for all your communication needs.