To understand Hosted Voice, understanding the old PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) and the PBX (Private Branch Exchange) first is helpful.
The PSTN is a highly regulated infrastructure that provides voice calls to the United States and the World. It is regulated, expensive, and reliable.
This network provides a point-to-point connection between two end points. When you called your grandmother on the other side of the country, telephone providers establish a temporary private link from your phone to your grandmother's phone. The connection is not shared by anyone else during the time of the call.
The system works, but it is expensive and offers very few features. Feature additions are slow to develop and driven from the top down.
Due to the high cost of the PSTN and its lack of business features. Vendors developed devices called PBXs. A PBX shares expensive PSTN lines and adds many business friendly features. A PBX has several draw backs; PBX's can be expensive, they are proprietary, they require an expert to manage, the company is responsible to maintain hardware and software upgrades, the PBX and the PSTN equipment may not be compatible, the PBX company can go out of business, unreliable copper lines to the PSTN, and lastly using the same PBX across several office sites can be tricky and expensive. This diagram shows a PBX connected to the PSTN.
This voice network evolved slowly over many years, from the late 1800's until the late 1900's and then something wonderful happened that changed the pace of progress. Ethernet and the Internet started to become widely available.
Standards evolved that use the Internet Protocol to carry voice. Since the new technology is largely software based, improved features develop rapidly. The term used to describe carrying voice across an IP network is called VoIP (Voice over IP).
One of the nice VoIP benefits is you can use the same office wiring connecting your computers to connect your phones.
Hosted Voice - Hosted PBX - Hosted VoIP
Hosted Voice means the provider hosts the PBX at the provider's location. This relieves the end user from owning and managing the PBX hardware, software, and configuration. Ideally, the customer gets great business voice offering and saves money.
Hosted Voice uses industry standard VoIP protocols to deliver the voice to the customer. Therefore, the phones used by the customer are not proprietary, the phones are standards based and will work with any hosted provider that supports that standard. The hosted provider may support a limited number of phone manufacturers to ensure quality service.
A Hosted Voice solution usually has more features than a traditional PBX. Due to the nature of IP, the features supported by Hosted VoIP grew considerably allowing for mobility, video, and PC integration.
Public Internet based Hosted Voice
An Internet based Hosted Voice solution provides the end customer all the features of a PBX and uses the Public Internet to deliver the voice. The service is typically less expensive and feature rich! Sounds perfect! However, there are a few problems.
There are a few drawbacks to Hosted Voice service over the Public Internet:
- The first drawback is the Public Internet's reliability. Since, voice traffic traverses the Internet, an Internet outage anywhere between the voice provider and your business can result in a voice outage.
- Security can also be a concern since the voice tranverses the Public Internet.
- Multiple service providers can have a problem pin pointing your problems. If you experience poor voice quality, how can you tell if the voice provider is having a problem or if your public internet provider is having a problem?
- Also, there is no guarantee of voice quality, the voice traffic across the internet is treated just like any other traffic. Someone streaming NETFLIX in the office or down the road can affect the quality of your call.
- Local hands on support and support in general can be an issue. Internet based Hosted Voice providers typically do not have a local presence and cannot visit your office to provide friendly hands on guidance.
- Some Internet based voice providers even use free software to provide the service.
iRis's Hosted Voice Solution
iRis's hosted voice solution, takes all the benefits of hosted voice and hardens the solution for business customers, providing extremely reliable feature rich voice services.
Private Fiber based Network
iRis's hosted voice solution is delivered from iRis to your business over a private MetroEthernet network. There are several advantages to the private network.
- The voice traffic never touches the Internet, therefore your voice service is immune to anything happening on the internet.
- A private network is a secure network, your voice traffic cannot be reached from the internet.
- With iRis providing all parts of your voice solution there is no finger pointing if a problem arises. iRis is responsible for making sure your voice works from one end to the other.
- To learn more about iRis's MetroEthernet solution follow this link.
Guaranteed Voice Quality
Voice quality can be guaranteed for two reasons.
iRis's private network prioritizes voice traffic, so the voice traffic always arrives on time.
iRis offers free configuration and management of your LAN switches, if the devices are purchased from iRis. iRis tests our configurations to make sure the LAN handles your voice traffic correctly.
iRis is your local provider
iRis is local feet on the ground and in the community. We are proud to be part of the local communities we serve, with local personnel, helping local businesses. Local means the following to our customers:
- Free on-site, hands on training.
- Periodic visits for additional feature training and to answer questions.
- Having iRis staff on site quickly assisting with any issues.
- Hands on new phone delivery, iRis staff will personally deliver any new phones or equipment and make sure phones work and your employee knows how to use, before iRis staff leaves.
- A local iRis sales person will sit down with you and ask you what your business needs. Then the iRis sales person will propose solutions to meet your needs. You do not have to be an expert to order a solution. iRis personnel is here, every step of the way, to offer support.
iRis's hosted voice services originate with carrier class voice switches and feature servers, the PSTN is built on. iRis is part of the PSTN network.
iRis's Hosted Voice offers features and reliability your business can depend on! Contact iRis and we will help you with your business's modern communications needs. Click here to contact us.