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Tag Archives: Grandstream

3CX Features - Handsets and Softphones - Part 3

Posted on October 13th, 2013 by Emily

 

This time in the Geek Blog, we’ve a few examples of possible 3CX configurations including handsets, softphones or a combination of both.

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Usually it’s a good idea to have a mixture of both handsets and softphones to suit the needs of all users, but there are some cases in which you may want to just use softphones for all users, or cases where all of your users may need a handset.

Particularly for offices where machines are shared, or phones are used by various different people, it is generally advisable to have a few handsets connected to the network.

A small business may choose a system where the most frequent users of their phone system use handsets with connected headsets, while the remaining users who use their phones more infrequently just have regular handsets. This can be helpful where people may share computers, desks or phones. This configuration is often more suited to businesses where people are not always sitting at or using computers to work.

For businesses with some mobile workers who are in and out of the office frequently, it may be advisable to run a system where the more regular users have regular handsets or softphones on their PCs, but the mobile workers have softphone apps running on their smartphones so they can log in and make calls using the network while they are at the office.

In businesses with a large number of employees who are using the phone almost constantly, such as in call centres or providing phone support, softphones can provide a convenient space saving, money saving solution. You don’t need to buy a handset for each additional user, and they can log on and off or be added or removed as necessary, just by logging into a computer system. All they need is access to a computer system and a headset. This may be useful in companies that see a large increase in call volume around holiday periods or weekends, and allows them to dynamically adjust the amount of lines that are available.

Some users who are used to traditional phone systems or who are not comfortable using a computer may also feel much more at home using a handset rather than a softphone.

If you are interested in the advanced functions of the 3CX softphone such as call recording, monitoring voicemail, monitoring your presence on the network etc, you can run the softphone in companion mode, where it connects to the network and works alongside the handset on your desk and gives you access to additional information – you still answer calls on your standard handset desk phone but you can be notified of incoming calls and other information via your computer screen.

Due to its extensive flexibility, you can be sure that whatever your type, style or size of business, there is a configuration of 3CX’s IP PBX system that will be suitable for you.

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If you are interested in VoIP or 3CX systems and what they could do for your business, you can take a look at our other posts on VoIP, or alternatively you can call us or email us and we’ll give you all the information you need. We’re always on hand for any IT queries you may have!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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3CX Features - Handsets and Softphones - Part 2

Posted on October 10th, 2013 by Emily

 

When using 3CX systems, you have two options when it comes to making and receiving calls – handsets or softphones.

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Special SIP handsets are available for use with 3CX systems, from various manufacturers, but there is also another option. Software phones, or softphones, are programs designed to enable you to use your computer as a phone, when connected to a 3CX network. Softphone apps are also available for many smartphones such as iPhones or Android phones, turning a regular mobile into a phone that can connect to and use your company’s 3CX system. Consumer programs such as Skype already exist, but there are also many softphones by different vendors (some of them free) that can be used on your company’s 3CX IP PBX system.

There are advantages to using both handsets and softphones, so we’ve provided a little information about each in order to help you make a more informed decision. The handset used in our comparison is the Grandstream GXP 2100 HD, and the softphone is 3CX’s own in-house maintained software.

Handsets

  • Basic functions as easy to use as a standard phone.
  • Centralised phonebook capabilities.
  • Programmable soft keys.
  • Full duplex speakerphone.
  • HD audio.
  • LCD display.
  • Web apps (stocks, news feeds, weather etc.)
  • Work independently of your PC – Make and receive calls during PC downtime or errors.
  • Add or remove handsets from your network as required.
  • Maintain the “feel” of using a desk phone while taking advantage of money-saving features.
  • Compatible with many headsets.
  • Can be used together with softphones.

 

Softphones

  • Use your PC and standard headset or earphones and a mic – No additional hardware to purchase.
  • Save on space.
  • Add more extensions / users as you add PCs.
  • Use a PC or smartphone to add a temporary extension.
  • Allow mobile workers to use the network as they enter and leave.
  • Turn an Android smartphone or an iPhone into a 3CX network compatible handset.
  • Fully featured.
  • Highly configurable.
  • Automatic connection and configuration for many devices.
  • Extensions turn off as PCs are turned off or users are logged off.
  • Can be used together with handsets.

There are many more points we could delve into for both handsets and softphones, but we feel that those mentioned above are the most important.

In our next post, we.’ll be looking at some scenarios and what kind of configurations may be suitable for those organisations or businesses.

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If you are interested in VoIP and what it could do for your business, you can take a look at our other posts on VoIP, or alternatively you can call us or email us and we’ll give you all the information you need. We’re always on hand for any IT queries you may have!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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3CX Features - Handsets and Softphones - Part 1

Posted on October 06th, 2013 by Emily

 

You may remember some weeks ago we covered the advantages of VoIP. Over the next few posts, we’ll be covering some of the features specific to 3CX systems.

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3CX is a versatile IP PBX (Internet Protocol Private Branch eXchange) system. It can be configured to use VoIP lines, digital ISDN lines, standard analogue PSTN lines, or a combination of any of these at once.

3CX Systems allow you to use any SIP-compatible handsets, and do not restrict you to a particular manufacturer. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol. This is a connection protocol used by communication hardware and software, usually to transmit voice, video, other communications such as instant messaging, or online games. It is an industry standard set of instructions, comparable to HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) for displaying web pages, or IP (Internet Protocol) for connecting to the internet. Because it is a standard set of instructions, it means that many different manufacturers can make equipment to use it, resulting in competition between manufacturers and better value for consumers.

At the moment, our opinion is that Grandstream brand handsets provide the best value for money, so if you’re obtaining a quote from us that includes handsets, you’ll more than likely be quoted for Grandstream handsets. All of the comparisons we make in these articles will be using this manufacturer as an example, but there are various other manufacturers available, such as Yealink and Snom, whose products offer many similar features.

To use ISDN or PSTN lines with your 3CX system, you will need a small, relatively inexpensive device called a gateway – this acts as an intermediary and converts the signals used by ISDN and PSTN to something that the 3CX software can understand, and vice versa. To use VoIP only, you’ll need a VoIP (SIP) provider, and no additional hardware.

Because 3CX is a computer-based PBX system, this means it also supports softphones. Softphones are just as the name suggests – software phones, installed on a computer or mobile device. This means that with a 3CX IP PBX system you don’t necessarily need a handset at all. You can use your computer and a connected headset instead, or even your iPhone or Android smartphone, and use the softphone to make and receive calls as you would use a normal phone. This, plus the fact that the 3CX IP PBX software can be run on a virtual machine on an existing server and runs under Windows 7, can drastically cut down the cost of a new phone system.

Next post we’ll be comparing physical handsets to softphones to see what the differences and benefits to each one are.

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If you are interested in VoIP and what it could do for your business, you can take a look at our other posts on VoIP, or alternatively you can call us or email us and we’ll give you all the information you need. We’re always on hand for any IT queries you may have!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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