Navigating the world of telecommunications can be daunting, especially for newcomers who find themselves lost in a sea of acronyms and technical terms. Fear not! We’re here to demystify the realm of hosted phone solutions for you. This blog will be a brief yet comprehensive guide to understanding hosted phones from the ground up. Let’s start with the basics.
What is a Hosted Phone Solution?
A hosted phone system, also known as a cloud-based or virtual phone system, is one that operates over the internet. Instead of dealing with physical phone lines and equipment in your office to manage calls, everything is handled by your provider and their servers off-site. All you have to do is connect your phones to the system using your existing internet connection, and voila! You can make and take calls like usual – without the hassle of traditional phone setups.
This setup lets users access the phone system from anywhere with an internet connection. It also often includes additional features like voicemail to email, call forwarding, and other tools you can manage via an online interface.
How Do Hosted Phone Solutions Work?
Now, let’s break down these systems into the nuts and bolts. Hosted phone solutions have three main components:
- The user’s device, like an IP (internet protocol) phone or a smartphone via a softphone application
- The Internet
- The service provider’s servers. These servers act as a virtual PBX, managing call routing, voicemail, conference calls, and the rest. It uses VoIP to convert your voice into data packets, which are then sent over the internet to the recipient’s device and reassembled into sound.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of a typical call made on a hosted PBX system:
Step 1: Initiating a Call
When you pick up your IP phone or launch the softphone application, the system establishes a connection with your service provider’s servers.
Step 2: Digitizing Your Voice
Your voice is converted into digital data using VoIP. This data is then broken down into packets for transmission over the internet.
Step 3: Transmission over the Internet
The digital packets containing your voice travel over the internet to the servers of your hosted phone system provider.
Step 4: Call Routing
The hosted PBX server determines where to route the call based on the dialed number. It can send the call to another IP phone within the same organization or to an external phone number.
Step 5: Receiving the Call
If the call is external, the server sends the digital packets to the recipient’s phone or device. The recipient’s phone then converts the digital data back into audible sound.
Step 6: Voicemail and Additional Features
The hosted PBX handles voicemail storage and retrieval if the call is unanswered or directed to voicemail. It also manages additional features like call waiting, conferencing, and call forwarding.
Why are Hosted Phones So Popular?
Now that you know the basics of hosted phone solutions, we will briefly touch on some reasons why companies love them.
- Cost-Efficiency: Traditional phone systems come with hefty infrastructure costs. Hosted solutions cut these costs significantly. There’s no need for expensive maintenance, physical phone lines, or constant upgrades. It’s a budget-friendly option that won’t leave your wallet gasping for breath.
- Scalability: Businesses evolve, and so do their communication needs. Traditional phone systems can leave you stuck in the past – and severely stunt your growth. Why? Because to add new users, you have to rewire your system and add newer, often bulkier, equipment. But, with hosted phone solutions, adding or reducing lines is as easy as a few clicks. Hosted phone solutions grow with you effortlessly.
- Flexibility and Mobility: The beauty of hosted phone solutions lies in their flexibility. You’re not locked into a specific location. Work from the office, your favorite coffee shop, or even the beach – your phone system travels with you.
- Advanced Features: Hosted phone solutions bring a treasure trove of features. Virtual receptionists, call analytics, and integration with other digital tools are just a few of the bells and whistles that come with the package. It’s not just a phone; it’s a communication powerhouse.
Answering Other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
It seems fitting to end the guide by answering a few questions you might have.
Q1: What happens during power outages or internet disruptions?
A: Your provider’s got you covered! Most hosted phone systems come with failover mechanisms, like:
- Call Redirection. If there’s a problem, your calls can be sent to different numbers or devices, so you don’t miss anything important.
- Automatic Rerouting. If there’s a connectivity hiccup, calls can automatically reroute calls through alternative paths or servers so you can stay connected.
- Cloud-Based Redundancy. Hosted phone systems have extra servers in the cloud, so if one has trouble connecting, your calls can quickly switch to one of the extras.
As for power outages? Some providers, like NTouchTel, offer backup power options to ensure continuous service during power outages.
Q2: Is my internet connection sufficient for hosted phone solutions?
A: Most likely, yes! Hosted phone systems are designed to work well on most internet connections and don’t require much bandwidth. A basic yet reliable broadband connection is generally sufficient for most businesses.
Q3: How secure are hosted phone systems?
A: Security is a top priority in hosted phone solutions. Built-in data encryption and secure protocols protect your communications from prying eyes. Be sure you choose a reputable provider, like NTouchTel, to guarantee you have the best security measures.
Q4: Can I keep my current phone numbers when switching to a hosted solution?
A: Yes! Most providers allow you to keep and port (or “move”) your existing phone numbers to the hosted system. You fill out a form, and they take care of the rest, ensuring a smooth transition without losing your established business contacts.
Q5: How does billing work with hosted phone systems?
A: Typically, you pay a monthly subscription fee per user. Your provider may charge you extra for additional features or usage beyond the plan limits. It’s a predictable pricing model and – with NTouchTel – completely transparent.
Your Journey to Simplified Communication Starts Here – With NTouchTel!
We understand the intricacies of communication, and our goal is to make it an absolute breeze for you. Whether you’re a small business or an established enterprise, NTouchTel’s hosted phone solutions can cater to your needs – no matter how unique. And you can see it for yourself! Reach out today, and we’ll schedule a free demonstration of our phone system ASAP.