Watch out for unexpected costs, tricky contracts, and poor customer service
When you’re purchasing a new phone system, your research shouldn’t stop with your company’s list of must-have features and functionality. Although a VoIP solution has many benefits, whether you choose an on-premise solution that you install on your local network or subscribe to an Internet-based hosted voice service, you should be aware of potential ”gotchas“ that can increase costs and hinder the phone system’s performance. Phone system pitfalls most often involve budget, contract, and customer service issues.
(See this post to learn more about how to find the right phone system for your small business.)
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Tags: small_business, small_business_phone _systems, voip, VoIP_phone_systems
Combine an increase in the type of traffic running over your network—such as voice, video, and data—with an increase in the users accessing that data, and your network could easily get bogged down. When that happens, your first instinct may be to throw more bandwidth at the problem. In this second installment of our Mythbusters series, we dispel the myth that faster networking gear will solve your performance woes.
Installing faster equipment may improve your network’s performance, but it may not entirely unclog your data bottlenecks. Before you spend money upgrading your network with faster devices, look to see if the switches you already have offer network intelligence features. If not, your switches are handling traffic on a first-come, first-served basis, which means voice-over-IP (VoIP) calls can still drop, video streams can still hang, and data can slow to a crawl.
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Tags: mythbusters, networking, performance, small_business
Optimize your network to provide faster speeds and greater reliability for a variety of mobile devices
When you first built your company’s wireless network, you had to support just the desktop PCs and laptops you chose for your small business. Now, your wireless network is probably host to a more diverse array of mobile devices from different vendors. On any given day, you may have tablets, iPhones, and Android-enabled devices accessing your network. Instead of trying to control the personal devices that employees bring to work, it may be easier to optimize your wireless network to better support these devices. (If you’re just building a wireless network for the first time, this post can help.)
We offer five steps to help improve the performance of your wireless network and provide a better user experience regardless of the devices employees are using to access company data.
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Tags: networking, small_business, wi-fi, wireless_network
Business needs, growth plans, and in-house expertise will influence your decision
Once you’ve made the decision to replace your legacy phone system with a Voice over IP (VoIP) solution, you must decide whether a hosted service or an on-site installation is better for your small business. Both delivery methods have unique pros and cons, and, like most technologies, one type is not inherently better than the other. Some small businesses will prefer the ease and scalability of a hosted VoIP service, while others will opt for the greater control and customization of a premise-based VoIP phone system.
VoIP has become the new standard in voice communications, in part because it offers a richer set of features than analog phone systems. A range of call management, monitoring, reporting, messaging, conferencing, and security features is fairly standard among both hosted and installed solutions. Your choice between delivery methods will be determined by whether you treat your phone system as a capital expenditure (CapEx) or an operating expenditure (OpEx) as well as your company’s plans for growth and available in-house expertise.
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Tags: hosted VoIP, phone_systems, small_business, Voice_over_IP, voip
Smart and managed switches can help secure your network from the inside out
Managing who can hop on to your network from the inside has become more important than ever, now that almost everyone who enters your building is carrying a laptop with an Ethernet port, a Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone, or a tablet computer configured to locate the nearest wireless network. Likewise, you may want to give visiting partners or other guests an Internet connection without giving them access to all your network resources. Bottom line: you need to secure your network on the inside. A switch with built-in security features adds another layer of defense for your network, protecting the devices on your LAN from internal threats.
Switches are the foundation of your network, connecting computers, servers, printers, and other peripheral devices. There are three types of switches—unmanaged, smart, and managed. Smart and managed switches both include security features, but managed switches give you the most control over network traffic with more advanced security and features.
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Tags: networking, security, small_business, switches