|If your question is not answered below, click here to ask the expert.|
Q. I hate to ask, but what does "IP" stand for?
A. IP is short for "Internet Protocol". This is the common language that all systems on the Internet (Websites and PCs) understand and use to communicate. While you could liken this to say English or French, a better analogy is to think of the postal service (that's the Royal Mail, not email). The information you wish to send (data) is put into an envelope (IP packet) and sent to the destination address (IP address).
Q. Does this mean that all my information and telephone calls go over the Internet?
A. Not necessarily, if at all. IP is now the communication method used by almost every computer device whether on the internet (eg a webserver, home PC or mobile phone) or on a private company network (eg workstations, servers, printers and IP phones). You can therefore make IP phone calls over the Internet (commonly known as VoIP) or you can use your company IP network to support your telephone system commonly known as "IP Telephony". An IP telephony system can then connect to the outside world either through traditional PSTN lines or through VoIP services. We offer both connection types, traditional and VoIP.
Q What benefits could you give to my business?
A Please see here.
Q. If I have branches throughout the country, how easily can they all be linked into this system?
A. In short, easily. The point of IP is that the locations and users can be anywhere. If each branch already has an internet connection, we can provide a managed router to create a secure VPN connection. This will create a private network between all your sites allowing users to access and share information. If you also implement IP telephony, all sites can have extensions off a single telephone system improving communication and providing free calls.
If you don't have existing Internet connections we can provide them.
Q Can I use my existing phone lines, cabling and pcs?
A Yes. If you don't want to use pure VoIP connections, we will provide a gateway that connects your new IP phone system to existing PSTN lines.
The IP handsets have dual Ethernet ports on the back so you plug your PC into the phone and the phone into the existing cabling socket. This means that you don't need to add more Ethernet cabling.
Q. Can I keep my existing telephone equipment?
A. Yes. If you don't want to change you telephone equipment but want to enjoy the benefits of VoIP (low line rental, cheaper call costs, free on-net calls and number flexibility) we will provide a SIP trunk and a gateway. This would connect your PBX ISDN trunk to the PSTN using IP.
Q What is "VoIP"? Is this the same as "IP Telephony"?
A. No strict definitions here but generally VoIP (or Voice over IP) has come to be associated with Internet based telephony services the best known of which is Skype. This type of service is focussed on home users and very small businesses. It has the advantage of very low cost (typically free connection charge and local rate international calls).
The downside is that there is no quality of service guarantee over the internet and if the internet connection fails, you also lose your telephony. For these reasons most businesses would not use a pure VoIP service unless it was for a very small office.
IP Telephony relates to a telephone system that happens to use IP to connect the handsets to each other and the outside world. This normally happens over a company LAN where the issues of quality of service and reliability are controllable. This type of system is in widespread use throughout many organisations. Any new telephone system implemented in an office now would almost always be IP based.
Q. What if I get problems?
A. IPComplete's products and services include management and support. If you have an incident with equipment or circuits we will pick it up and begin resolution. Most faults can be rectified remotely. If on-site support is required we will send an engineer.
Q. Can I try your services for a trial period?
A. Yes we can provide a Cisco softphone which runs on a PC or laptop and will connect to our Call control server and the telephone network. If you want to try a number of phones we will loan an 8 users system and physical handsets.
Q. How many staff can be linked into the system?
A. Practically unlimited. Systems can be linked together to support up to 60,000 users.
Q How will it make my business more efficient?
A. Implementation of an IP based communications system allows you to be much more flexible and makes life easier for users. For example calls to one office can be picked up during busy periods in other locations. For more information see here.
Q. What is an IP address?
A. IP addresses as understood by your PC or other device are in the form of four numbers separated by dots eg 18.104.22.168. Each of the numbers can have a value from 0 to 255. IP addresses are used to route information over the Internet or over private networks. In an ideal world every device would have a unique address, however there arn't enough to go around (remember the dot.com boom?). Therefore 2 types of address are used, public and private. Typically the public address is used to identify your company or your location and the private address your particular device ie PC.
If you want to find your public IP address go to: http://www.whatismyip.com/. In the Royal Mail analogy above this would be your building address. To find your private address look at the status of your network connection in the Control Panel. This will typically be something like 192.168.1.20. This would be your mailbox inside the building. A router converts between public and private IP addresses. If your public and private IP addresses are the same it means that you are directly connected to the Internet without a router. (In which case give us a call, you have a security problem!).