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3CX by Geek Guru

3CX - PSTN, ISDN and VoIP – Part 5

Posted on October 31st, 2013 by Emily

 

In our final blog post in this series, we look at an overall summary of the features and qualities of each type of line and how 3CX can bring them all together.

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By now, you’re probably aware of the types of line available, but we feel it’s better when things are easier to compare, so we’ve put together a short summary for each of them.

 

POTS / PSTN

  • Analogue system.
  • Simple features.
  • Standard telephone network.
  • Inexpensive line rental.
  • Each connection carries 1 line.
  • Good to have as a backup.
  • Suitable for small businesses or sole traders needing few lines.

ISDN 2e

  • Digital system.
  • More advanced features than POTS.
  • Better call quality.
  • Available in pairs of lines / connections.
  • Required for some equipment.
  • Can be used as a backup data connection.
  • For small businesses needing 8 lines or less.
  • Powered by the local exchange.

ISDN 30e

  • Up to 30 lines through a single connection
  • Same quality as 2e.
  • Additional features designed for larger organisations.
  • Upgrade or downgrade without additional installation costs.
  • Combine or split lines as necessary for data transfer.
  • Requires on-site powering.
  • Suitable for businesses requiring 8-30 lines or more.

VoIP / SIP

  • Cheaper call costs especially for international calls.
  • Cheaper line rental.
  • No gateway needed.
  • Reliability and uptime match or exceed standard telephone networks.
  • Many advanced features.

 

3CX IP-PBX systems can work with any of the above, or all of them together if you prefer. They can provide your organisation with a multitude of advanced features at far less cost than a standard PBX system, with enhanced flexibility.

It’s possible to have a part-VoIP, part-ISDN network running seamlessly with a standard POTS line as a backup, if necessary – through the use of gateways to connect the external POTS and ISDN systems to the IP-PBX. Even though a gateway is required, installation and hardware costs of these systems are still significantly less than you’d expect to pay for standard PBX with similar features. They are also easily upgradable to meet your needs, adding an additional internal line can be as easy as plugging in an additional computer and headset and telling the 3CX control panel it’s there.

No matter what type of line you choose, we’re sure you’ll enjoy the enhanced flexibility of a 3CX IP-PBX system along with it.

At Geek Guru, we provide, install and support 3CX systems, so if you’re considering making the switch to VoIP or just want to upgrade your existing PBX system to a more versatile 3CX system, get in touch with us.

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If you’d like to discuss 3CX Systems, VoIP, ISDN or anything else IT or tech-related with us, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you in any way we can!

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

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3CX by Geek Guru

3CX - PSTN, ISDN and VoIP – Part 4

Posted on October 27th, 2013 by Emily

 

In our penultimate blog post on line and connection types, we’ll look at specialist VoIP lines (Also known as SIP trunks) and how they work with the 3CX systems we offer.

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SIP Trunks are special lines for dedicated VoIP services. They allow you to connect your 3CX system directly to the line, eliminating the need for a gateway; the connection between the VoIP / SIP trunk and the PSTN (telephone network) is managed by your SIP provider (known as an ITSP or Internet Telephony Service Provider).

Choosing a specialist SIP trunk to provider for your services means that you get a separate SIP connection installed. This is very much like any other kind of broadband internet connection, but deals only with SIP / VoIP traffic. This means that your business’ standard internet connection is not hampered or slowed if you have a lot of incoming or outgoing active calls – as your SIP trunk has its own dedicated bandwidth.

Because it’s based on internet telephony, VoIP/SIP systems can save a lot of money, particularly for larger businesses. For instance, if you replace a standard ISDN 30e connection with SIP trunks, the rental and installation costs can make thousands of pounds worth of difference.

It’s also very valuable for those who make many international calls. Because it’s using internet telephony, the call charges are far cheaper compared to standard calls made over a PSTN or ISDN line.

The uptime and quality of VoIP / SIP trunks has been increasing over the past few years, and right now they are able to compete with ISDN and PSTN lines for total uptime. This means that using VoIP / SIP, you won’t be without your phone connections any more than you would using a regular ISDN or PSTN line. The call quality of VoIP / SIP trunks is also constantly increasing as codecs are changed and compression gets more efficient, so currently the call quality is around equal to or better than you would achieve from an ISDN line – bearing in mind that call quality is also affected by the other party and their connection method and equipment.

People often choose to have a backup line such as a PSTN or ISDN line from a standard telephony provider. Some people still prefer to have the safety of a backup line, but if you wish to connect this line to the 3CX network, you will need a gateway. Some businesses also use a full hybrid connection of VoIP / SIP and ISDN – if this is something you’re interested in we’ll find you a package to suit while still saving you money.

You can maintain all of the efficiency and features provided by your 3CX system using VoIP – in fact, the system is tailored to use it just like a standard ISDN or PSTN connection. The only difference you should really notice is on the bill!

Next post we’ll be providing a short summary of the line types available to you, and how you can use them all together with a 3CX system.

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If you’d like to discuss 3CX Systems, VoIP, ISDN or anything else IT or tech-related with us, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you in any way we can!

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

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3CX by Geek Guru

3CX - PSTN, ISDN and VoIP – Part 3

Posted on October 24th, 2013 by Emily

 

Next up in our series exploring the different types of lines available to use with 3CX systems, ISDN lines.

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ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network. It’s the technological standard for transmitting voice, data and other services over standard copper telephone network cables. It can allow both circuit-switched transmission (voice and data) and packet-switched transmission (data only), unlike PSTN which is solely circuit-based. It is the technologically advanced successor to PSTN.

In some countries, ISDN is still used as a primary line to access the internet, but it is much slower than most broadband options now available in the UK, which use ADSL or Cable/Fibre networks to provide greater speeds. It is still used in some areas in the UK where standard broadband internet is not available. Each ISDN channel (or line) offers a data rate of up to 64 kb/s, which allows you to use all the features made available by your provider – ISDN generally offers features such as video conferencing, DDI (Direct Dial-In) and the ability to transfer calls externally. Call quality over ISDN lines is often very high, noticeably higher than a standard PSTN line.

Some businesses that choose to go totally VoIP keep one ISDN line (or rather pair of lines) active for emergency voice and data communications, but also providing them with support for more advanced backup services than a standard PSTN line. Backup ISDN lines can also be used to provide connectivity to various pieces of equipment such as modern G4 Fax machines that require an ISDN line to function.

The 3CX systems installed by Geek Guru are fully compatible with any number of ISDN channels, through the use of a gateway. They can be used exclusively with ISDN or combined with VoIP, PSTN or both.

 

ISDN lines come in two main types:

 

ISDN 2 / 2e

This type of ISDN connection is suitable for businesses requiring up to 8 incoming channels or lines. They are provided in pairs, so you will be paying line rental for them in multiples of two. They provide the advanced services and quality of ISDN in small chunks, so if your business is small, you don’t have to rent far more lines than necessary. These lines are powered by the local exchange, therefore they don’t need an on-site power supply to function.

 

ISDN 30 / 30e

Suited to large businesses or small businesses requiring 8 – 30 channels or lines, ISDN 30 provides much the same service as ISDN 2, except on a larger scale. The initial installation of this service is designed to support up to 30 lines – meaning you can upgrade to more lines without needing to pay additional installation costs. You can purchase lines one at a time, with a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 30.

 

ISDN lines provide more functionality and greater quality than standard PSTN lines. They can be used with most equipment, are fully compatible with the 3CX systems we offer and renting a pair of ISDN channels is generally not much more expensive than renting two standard PSTN lines (depending on provider and selected options).

Next time we’ll be taking a look at VoIP lines (also known as SIP Trunks), how they work and how we can help you get the most out of them.

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If you’d like to discuss 3CX Systems, VoIP, ISDN or anything else IT or tech-related with us, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you in any way we can!

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

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3CX by Geek Guru

3CX - PSTN, ISDN or VoIP? – Part 2

Posted on October 20th, 2013 by Emily

 

Continuing in our series exploring the different types of lines available to use with 3CX systems, we focus on PSTN standard lines.

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PSTN stands for Public Switched Telephone Network. While it’s really a catch-all term for the wide spectrum of telephony and communications systems used by the general public, in the terms of our article and topic of discussion, it’s often used to refer to the standard analogue telephone services provided by many networks. The technically correct term is POTS or Plain Old Telephone Service (yes, that’s actually the official name), but many prefer to refer to it as PSTN.

However you refer to it, PSTN or POTS is the standard analogue telephone system that’s been around for many, many years – and is still extremely useful. Fax machines, franking machines and modems up to 56k were (and still are) designed to transmit digital signals across an analogue network. Many of these kinds of systems support communication over different types of network now, but most will still function across a PSTN analogue line.

For residential lines, businesses who only need a single line, sole traders, or as an additional or emergency line, PSTN lines still have a firm footing in the telephone line market.

For most small businesses, PSTN is not really something we’d recommend to be used on its own. However, it can come in useful when your business is running primarily on VoIP or ISDN and you want a backup line in case of any malfunctions or breakdowns.

Standard PSTN lines are easy and relatively cheap to install, and usually don’t require any extra cabling. They also don’t require any power source as they’re powered by the local exchange, so they are great for use in emergencies. You can have multiple PSTN lines installed if you wish. If you want an additional line to use solely for a fax machine or franking machine, PSTN lines can also be useful there, as the line rental for them is also usually quite cheap.

PSTN lines are supported by 3CX through the use of a gateway, so you can use your 3CX PBX system and PSTN lines together with VoIP to get some extra functionality and a backup line if you wish. If the VoIP line is not available for whatever reason, you can make and receive calls through your standard PSTN line.

In our next blog, we’ll take a look at ISDN and its basic functionality, some of its advanced features and how to get the most out of it with a 3CX PBX.

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If you’d like to discuss 3CX Systems, VoIP, ISDN or anything else IT or tech-related with us, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you in any way we can!

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

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3CX by Geek Guru

3CX - PSTN, ISDN or VoIP? – Part 1

Posted on October 17th, 2013 by Emily

 

Which type of line is right for your business? Stick with us over the next few posts as we go into a little detail about the various types of line available.

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Telephony and its associated technology has come an amazingly long way since the American Bell Telephone Company introduced the first telephone exchange in 1877. It may be hard to believe that technology similar to that used such a long time ago is still being used for communications today – but in fact, it is.

All of our wired telephony systems stem from this one common ancestor, which used standard copper wiring and human operators to connect calls. Over the years, while the copper wiring has remained in some areas, computerised systems have been put in place to allow for much greater speed, accuracy and many more features. Many residential areas and some business areas still consist of a “local loop” that’s made from copper wire, connecting to a more technologically advanced “trunk” line at a nearby connection box.

Advances in telephony technology mean that users wanting to install a new telephone line have three main options:

  • PSTN – Public Switched Telephone Network (also known as POTS or Plain Old Telephone Service).
  • ISDN – Integrated Services Digital Network.
  • VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol.

The type of line (or lines) you’ll need really depends on how much your business communicates via telephone, and how many external lines you need.

The great thing is that with a 3CX IP-PBX System from Geek Guru, you can operate as many or as few of these as you like, together as one phone system, through the use of a wonderful little box known as a Gateway. As one of 3CX’s Certified Partners, we are able to provide, install and support all of the equipment necessary, (including extras like the gateways,) at the high standard you’d expect from us.

Whatever you decide on, or if you need help deciding, or have made your decision and need advice or to take the next step, we’ll help you as much as we can and provide ongoing support, usually through one of our value-added support plans.

Over the next few posts we’ll be going through the different line types, explaining the technology they use, their advantages and disadvantages, and what this can mean for different sizes and types of business.

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If you’d like to discuss 3CX Systems, VoIP, ISDN or anything else IT or tech-related with us, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you in any way we can!

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

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