• May 20, 2010 at 10:36 pm #63845
    rhopp
    Member

    Hi All,
    We are considering a proposal by TDS Metrocom to get rid of our old
    fashioned phone system & install one that uses our network as the
    backbone, connected via VOIP to TDS via T1 where it is converted to
    analog (supposedly bypassing most of the VOIP delay & weirdness
    issues).

    They make a very good case, pricing seems sound. Feature rich & used
    by plenty of larger companies around us.

    Have any of you tried this? Anything you can think of to watch out
    for?
    Our DSL is maxed out & up speeds appear to be more & more of an issue
    with our cataloging, remote access that I use all the time & several
    other areas.

    May 24, 2010 at 10:10 pm #71203
    jbjennings
    Member

    Rob,

    We are in fact implementing a VOIP hosted telephone system ourselves. Which means you don’t need a dedicated phone system on-site to run your phones and internet. Just a good internet connection and routers.

    The one thing we did find out that is not convenient is that in the most simple applications of this technology it won’t work like a regular phone system. Some examples: You can’t tell if someone is on a line and you can’t easily pick up a line someone else is already talking on without them conferencing you in. Plus if you’re on a call and want someone else pick it up on another phone you have to transfer it. The more sophisticated systems if you do your research can be configured more like a the old style “key” multiple line phones.

    Some of the other things hosted VOIP systems can be really flexible such as being able to answer calls from another number off-site, get your voice mails on your computer and even record all of your calls for training and liability protection.

    Make sure the contract you sign has a reasonable term of service 12 months if possible, so you’re not locked in and buy your phones as the leasing is not a good deal in the long run especially the portable ones. Also make sure they have up time service guarantees that will ding them if they are not up and running when they say they are.

    Hope this helps.

    Jay Jennings

    NARPRO – Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals

    May 25, 2010 at 2:17 pm #71209
    Don Walcheski
    Participant

    Rob,

    As you know, a T1 is 1.5 up & down. We are using our Lucnet phone system with our T1. There is more bandwith on the T1 than with your DSL. To get more band with I actually have 2 ISP’s and a dual WAN load balancing router. You might check into how much more a T3 is.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm #71212
    rhopp
    Member

    This T1 is 3.0 Synchronous (up & down) & uses a Cicso Router & switch

    with firewall. I can add five dedicated IP’s to the single that is

    included.

    T3 is quite another step up (If I recall correctly $300+ per mo). The

    balancing router came up in conversation, though I don’t think we’ll need

    it in the near future, since our building would fit inside your building

    with room for three more. :)

    May 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm #71213
    rhopp
    Member

    Thanks Jay, I posed your points to TDS & got a satisfactory response.

    They did say they can solve those issues for you, but I didn’t know if

    you were on TDS (or even if they offer service in your fine city).

    August 19, 2010 at 6:43 pm #71397
    cmassoll
    Participant

    Rob,

    Ihave had a T1 for three ti five years and all is working well.

    Curt.

    February 21, 2012 at 3:10 am #72588
    rhopp
    Member

    Thought I’d post an update.

    We took over another shop in May off 2011, added the 8×8 VOIP system

    at that time. While it takes a change in thinking and procedures,

    it’s been very stable and they’ve been good to work with. Combined

    with VPN we can communicate between shops, via phone or chat (We use

    “Network Assistant” as a chat room). There is no “on-hold” as we all

    have come to know. You have to either transfer the call to a

    specific extension or “park” the call & let the parties know which

    parking spot (four digit number) to retrieve it from.

    Message on hold, auto attendant & pre-set hours, holidays & prompts

    are pretty easy to figure out. Getting faxes via e-mail has saved

    plenty of paper. Came with “gotomeeting” type screen

    sharing/whiteboard feature that we’ve used a few times.

    One beef is the lack of an external ringer for the shops, ringers

    aren’t very loud. I tapped into the speaker circuit of one & added a

    amplified PC speaker to resolve that. The fact that there isn’t ANY

    off the shelf external speaker seems silly.

    Cost savings of over $200 per month between shops is pleasant.

    HTH

    August 13, 2012 at 1:08 am #72818
    joecval
    Participant

    Rob,

    I just sealed the deal on a switch over to VOIP using 8X8 as well….It’s reassuring to read your update (I didn’t do any reasearch here before making my decision…my bad) I decided to use an ATA set up on my 2nd phone (which is cordless) to get around the no ringing phone in the shop. I am curious how you tapped in a PC speaker as I may want to try that.

    I could easily see the benefit of voip with 2 locations.

    May 20, 2013 at 11:50 am #73097

    We converted over to Voip and fiber optic right up to our building.   They promised up to 28mbs up and down.  In reallity we have never been faster than  22.  Still blazingly faster than our old  T-1

    We have a VPN tunned between the shop and home, so there’s nothing I cant do at hom that I can do at work.  I bought an exta phone, plugged it into the router at home and  Wah-Lah! A shop phone at my home office.

    May 20, 2013 at 4:22 pm #73103
    Gary Keyes AMAM
    Participant

    Is your alarm system connected with a central station ? and is the new phone system compatible?. thats one problem we had when changing over.

    July 21, 2019 at 4:12 pm #91637
    J. Larry Bloodworth
    Participant

    Times have changed since I posted my reply to this thread back in 2013.  We now use a UCaaS (Unified Communications As A Service) system which is like VoIP on steroids without any VoIP equipment investment necessary unless you need the familiarity of holding a phone up to your head.  We use a softphone which turns our desktop PC into a phone.

    You can look online for more info about UCaaS.  We use RingCentral and our desk mic and headphones.  You can use a wireless headset if you don’t mind investing in equipment.  We spent zero on equipment.  We just signed up and go.

    But back on the topic of things changing and especially internet speed.  I’ll leave you with recent SpeedTest.net results:

    This is as close to gigabit speed as we can get without getting fiber.

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