Archives: October2018

5 VoIP Terms you Should Know in 2019

VoIP TermsVoIP technology is constantly being developed and improved to meet the needs of modern enterprises. As we approach the new year, emerging technologies pose to disrupt and expand common hosted PBX terminology. Let’s examine 5 VoIP terms that will take on larger roles in 2019.

Read More: VoIP Terminology Guide

  1. Stir/Shaken
    Spoof Calling, also known as Neighbor-Spoofing or Caller-ID Spoofing, is one of the deceitful ways telemarketers and scam artists trick people into answering unwanted calls. Stir (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) and Shaken (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) is a solution currently being developed to stop illegitimate callers. The Stir and Shaken method is able to verify the authenticity of the caller by placing a digital certificate on the call by a trusted authority. Can you say “Hasta la vista spam”?
  2. WebRTC
    WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communications) is the cutting edge technology behind the VirtualPBX Web Phone. The powerful and versatile technology runs off javascript, API’s, and HTML5. The future of the Web Phone is very promising because it utilizes the technology you already have – your web browser. You won’t have to buy new desk phones or download apps in order to communicate again.
  3. SIP Trunking
    Expect to see more organizations switch to SIP Trunking in 2019 to take advantage of modern hosted voice technology. Not only can businesses get more features from their physical PBX system by bridging to the cloud, but they can also lower their operational costs and scale exponentially. SIP Trunk providers are not one size fits all. Before you select a provider, consider which pricing structure works best for your business. VirtualPBX SIP Trunking Plans start at 20 channels, come with 5 burstable channels, and give you the flexibility to add or remove channels at any time.
  4. IP Phones
    Many businesses still rely on ancient desk phones. Would you use a vintage Nokia for business in 2019? They are sturdy and reliable but lack the modern features that today’s IP Phones offer. Desk phones are powerful multi-tasking tools that are equally as important as your computer. Modern IP phones commonly feature HD voice, wifi technology, Bluetooth functionality for hands-free calling, and much more! As a result, IP Phones will continue to be relevant even with the rising popularity of Softphone and Web Phone usage.
  5. APIs
    API (Application Programming Interface) will continue to play an integral role in the future development of business functionality in online tools. In particular, larger businesses come to expect open APIs from enterprise-grade business telephone service providers. If your goals are to streamline your business processes with your telephone service, look no further than Dash Business Phone Plans as your bespoke voice solution. Integrate Dash Plans with your CRM Software or include Webhooks Integrations that work with as many as 750 of the most popular business applications through Zapier.

Want to gain a better understanding of VoIP technology from our experts? To learn more about other terms like Circuit Switching and Packet Switching, visit our VoIP resource guide.

Finally, did we miss any VoIP terms or concepts that will see a rise in popularity in 2019? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

We Won a 2018 Mobile Breakthrough Award!

2018 Mobile Breakthrough AwardHold on to your hat. The Mobile Breakthrough Award competition has named us the sole winner of the 2018 Unified Communications Solution of the Year Award for our development of the VirtualPBX Mobile Service!

We are extremely excited to make this announcement. Our Development Team has done an amazing job of creating our Mobile 4G LTE service that gives businesses native mobile access to all the features of their Dash Business Phone Plans. And our Sales and Support Teams have reached beyond expectations to make sure all our business customers are happy with their new mobile services.

Yes, this blog shows us patting ourselves on the back. Just a little. But it’s definitely more than that.

If you’re not familiar with Mobile Breakthrough or VirtualPBX Mobile, keep reading for more.

What’s Mobile Breakthrough?

Each year, an independent panel of experts uses the Mobile Breakthrough Award competition to showcase its picks of the best companies, products, innovations, and individuals in the mobile and wireless communications markets.

This season saw more than 200 nominations in categories such Enterprise Cloud Computing, Wi-Fi, Mobile Security, and Leadership. The Mobile Breakthrough committee selected VirtualPBX as the top nominee in the Unified Communications category.

Products and services nominated every year must have been made within a two-year window. The committee looks for developments that could be considered a “breakthrough” in the communications market.

Our selection here marks how far we’ve come, and the success we’ve seen, since the launch of VirtualPBX Mobile earlier this year.

Not Familiar With VirtualPBX Mobile Yet?

Our Dash Business Phone System helps connect businesses small and large. With features like Conferencing and Call Recording, Ring Groups, and Auto Attendant, we try to give our business clients everything they need in a VoIP service.

We already offer our Web Phone and Softphone, alongside desk phones, to connect to Dash. But we wanted to do more. This led us to develop VirtualPBX Mobile – a service that natively connects mobile phones to any active Dash plan and endows those mobile devices with all the features a business’s plan offers.

Businesses can purchase smartphones like the Apple iPhone 8 and 8+ or the Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL from the VirtualPBX Online Store. Or they can bring their own unlocked devices and simply order SIM cards for all their devices.

From there, transferring existing business phone numbers to VirtualPBX Mobile devices is easy. Users can also opt for new local numbers based on their zip codes. In either case, users can readily keep in touch with individuals through their mobile numbers or business extensions associated with their Dash accounts.

Mobile Breakthrough Awards Excitement

Competition was fierce for the 2018 Mobile Breakthrough Awards. We found ourselves, as winners, alongside such impressive company as Cisco, VMWare, and Verizon.

We’re happy that our hard work has paid off in the short time that VirtualPBX Mobile has been live. As we look even further into the future, we want to keep pushing the communications market to new heights, and with Mobile as one of our key offerings, we’re sure to get there.

Which Audio Codec Fits Your Business Best?

Conference Phone - CodecNo matter which Dash Business Phone Plan you use, any IP phone linked to that plan must utilize a codec to send and receive digital audio information through your local network and the internet.

All phones you order through the VirtualPBX Online Store come preconfigured, and each specific model will choose a default codec to use. Should your situation call for it, however, you can select other options, including the popular codecs G.711, G.722, and G.726.

There are a number of reasons why you would want to use any specific codec on your business phones. Let’s take a look at G.711, G.722, and G.726 as examples to illuminate those reasons.

Three Popular Codecs

G.711

G.711 has gained widespread support since its release in the 1970s. This codec is part of a narrowband set of codecs because it uses audio frequencies in a range of 300 to 3400 Hz.

Documentation from Cisco shows that G.711 has a Mean Opinion Score (MOS) of 4.1 which, within that rating scale of 1 to 5, represents an audio quality considered good.

Many phones support this codec because of its high call quality and reasonable bandwidth requirement of about 87 kbps.

G.722

G.722 improves on G.711 in at least one respect. It operates in the wideband range of 50 to 7000 Hz, which allows it to offer better clarity and more natural sounding audio to the receiver.

G.722 achieves this higher audio quality while maintaining a 4.1 MOS and demanding only 87 kbps in bandwidth per call.

G.726

G.726 works in the narrowband range. It uses compression and a lower bitrate to decrease its bandwidth demand on a user’s phone system. This codec can use a bitrate of 16, 24, 32, or 40 kbits — lower than the common 64 kbits of G.711 and G.722.

When using a 24 kbps bitrate, it only requires 47 kbps of bandwidth per call, which is nearly half of G.722 and G.711. This comes at a price however, because its MOS drops to 3.8, which is a significant drop from the other codecs listed in this article.

Which Should You Choose?

When looking at these codecs, three aspects of their operation stand out. You will want to consider their bandwidth requirements, call quality, and popularity when choosing one for your own business.

  • Bandwidth: Your internet connection will need to be robust enough to support the combined bandwidth of the phones you want to use. For example, if you have five desk phones that will regularly be used all at once, your network would need to support about 435 kbps (87 kbps x 5) when using the G.711 or G.722 codecs. In contrast, this measurement could drop to 235 kbps when using G.726.
  • Call Quality: Once you meet the necessary bandwidth requirement, you’ll want to adopt a codec with a high MOS. Your calls should sound good with an MOS of 3.8, but they will sound better with an MOS of 4.1.
  • Popularity: When calling other VoIP lines, your digital voice information may need to be transcoded if the receiver doesn’t support your chosen codec. If you use G.711 but the person you’re calling only supports G.726, the voice network will have to transform all the voice data sent between each user. This can add delay to your call, which can decrease your overall experience as a caller. Using a popular codec can increase the chance that you and your call recipient don’t have to transcode your data. It also gives you options when you want to use more than one type of phone in your office.

Let VirtualPBX Provide Codec Assistance

This isn’t the end of the conversation when it comes to codecs.

Your unique situation as a small business or enterprise Dash user will suggest which codec is right for your internet capability, number of users, phone use cases, and so on.

All our sales and support representatives can lead you through your unique technical situation. Whether you’re using VoIP for the first time or adding a set of new phones to your current Dash account, we’re here to help.

And if you’re looking for even more detail about the inner workings of a VoIP network, check out our comprehensive guide, “What is VoIP?”

How Circuit Switching Helps You Reach Customers

Telephone Pole - Circuit SwitchingIf you have the chance right now, take a look outside. You’ll probably find a few telephone poles on the nearest street. Those are the most salient example of circuit switching you will probably ever see.

Those poles and copper wires form the basis of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Despite its age, the PSTN and its circuits remain a relevant part of communications for both homes and businesses. You probably couldn’t function effectively in the office for more than a few minutes without them.

Our Dash Business Phone System uses digital networks and packet switching primarily to initiate calls, but it makes heavy use of circuit switching along the way, like we discuss at length in our What is VoIP? guide.

Let’s consider one example to make circuit switching a more relatable topic: You make several calls from an IP phone connected to your Dash account.

Initiating a Call With Your IP Phone

How does your phone make the call? It first sends digital signals through the internet to VirtualPBX servers, which route the call to its destination. The hardware you use — including your IP phone, local network, and internet architecture — makes use of digital communication tactics rather than analog tactics.

VirtualPBX does a lot more here than just route your call. The particulars of this situation, however, all revolve around the fact that your IP phone acts like a computer. It sends packets of information just like a computer does.

Reaching Another IP Phone

Your desk or conference phone, when it sends your digital voice packets, can continue to use an all-digital, all-packet switched network to reach another IP phone.

Consider that your call reaches a business across town that uses a competitor’s VoIP service. Both Dash and the competitor’s plan all take advantage of the same underlying principles, so your call will likely continue to use packets throughout the entire journey from one phone to another.

Going Analog: Reaching a Home Phone

It’s easy, though, to jump out of the digital network and into the world of analog.

Consider that your next call reaches a customer’s home phone. If they use an analog phone service, a switching center will transform your digital packets into analog signals that the customer’s phone can understand.

Circuit switching occur at this point because the customer’s phone service must complete a steady circuit to hold a call.

The PSTN will make sure that your outgoing voice packets run through a circuit that’s completed within the copper cables outside the customer’s home. It will also make sure the reverse process happens when the customer speaks to you.

Circuit Switching is Here to Stay

Many of the calls you make to other businesses and to smartphones will have the chance to remain entirely digital. The PSTN has gone through a transformation where most of its switching centers and much of its hardware now uses digital signals to reach each other.

On the other hand, home phone users – which may represent a large portion of your customer base – will continue to make circuit switching a necessary element of the PSTN. No matter how digitally-focused the rest of the world becomes, the copper wires that line our streets will stay indispensable.

Packet Switching Plays a Key Role in Your Business

Packet switchingWhether or not you realize it, packet switching forms the backbone of business communications.

Packet switching – the aggregate process of sending and receiving groups of packets over a digital network – plays a prominent role when you:

  • Make a call on your Dash Business Phone Network
  • Use the internet to view a website
  • Send an email to a colleague
  • Watch a YouTube video on your phone

Packets act as the building blocks of every digital communications tool you use throughout the workday. Below, we’ll look at the ways in which packet switching exists in those tools.

For a deeper look at the technical aspects of VoIP and packet switching, check out our “What is VoIP?” guide.

What are Packets?

Digital networks – including your local computer network and the World Wide Web – use packets to transfer information. Packets are the small pieces of data that a digital network uses to move information from one device to another.

Briefly stated, packets exist as the pieces that comprise whole files. A bricklayer (the network) uses individual bricks (packets) to build a wall (the resulting file).

Each packet contains enough extra information to tell sending and receiving devices where the packet has been, where it should be sent, and in which order the device should assembled it with respect to the other packets.

A computer might not always receive packets as A, B, C and use them in that order to create a whole file. But it will know that A should be placed before B, and B before C, to create a readable result.

Packet switching is the aggregate process of sending and receiving groups of packets over a digital network.

Make a VoIP Phone Call

Business phone systems that use Voice Over IP (VoIP) to manage calls depend on underlying digital networks. Such systems use the Internet Protocol (hence, voice over IP) to send calls within a business’s local phone network and outbound to the public telephone network.

Your desk phones and conference phones send packets that contain voice information. They capture the sounds you make when you speak and convert those sounds into digital information that is eventually converted back into sounds on the receiving end.

VoIP phone system providers have to battle side effects of packet switching, including jitter and packet loss, that can affect the quality of voice calls. Providers use Quality of Service techniques to make their voice networks clear and reliable.

Viewing Websites and Sending Email Messages

When you view a webpage, you use packet switching to download packets from a central server onto your computer or phone.

Those files may be retrieved from the server in an abstract order. Your computer, however, knows from the information contained in the packets and the instructions provided by the website how to display the resulting page in your browser.

You also take advantage of packet switching when you send emails. The text you write in your Gmail or Outlook account will be broken down into small bits of information that are reassembled for your recipient so they can read your message as you intended.

Watching a YouTube Video

That business presentation (or cat video) you just watched on your phone’s data network also relies on packets.

The same processes described above apply to the data you send and receive on your 4G connection. Before you’re able to understand the audio and see the visuals, the digital network breaks down, sends, and pieces together your video in the same way it does to your website, email, and voice call.

Appreciate Packet Switching

The next time you use your computer or phone, try to remember the complex process that moves behind the scenes of all your tasks.

It should help you better appreciate the complexity of the internet and the VoIP phone system you use every day.

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