One of the most common questions for small businesses when considering upgrading to an IP-based solution is: How does a voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone can call a non-VoIP phone? The answer: There’s a gateway unit that makes the connection back to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). It’s not as complicated as it may sound.
If someone in your corporate building makes an emergency call, will responders know where to go? Years ago a phone was always in one location, and the phone number was as good as an address for identifying where you were. With IP telephony features for mobility, and with software phones that travel with your laptop, it can be hard to identify the physical location where a call is coming from.
At Cisco, we use several approaches to providing the right location information for emergency response. And we’ve learned how a simple portion of our dial plan can have a dramatic and painful impact on our Emergency Response system. You may find these ideas helpful for configuring emergency calling and response capabilities at your own sites.
When considering security, make sure you’re protecting the data on your phones, too
In July 2011, the world saw just how vulnerable voicemail systems can be when a phone hacking scandal took down the News of the World newspaper and created a huge public backlash against News Corp. and its CEO Rupert Murdoch. Reporters were illegally intercepting voicemail messages left for the British Royal Family, celebrities, British soldiers, and others in their quest to scoop stories. Public figures’ voicemail messages aren’t likely to reveal product secrets, credit card numbers, or confidential business strategies, but your employees’ voicemails can. Voicemail systems can be configured insecurely and easily hacked—if you don’t take the right precautions.
Whether you have an analog or IP-based phone system, your company’s private voicemails are vulnerable. Most voicemail systems require only a simple four-digit personal identification number (PIN) to protect a user’s voicemail, and hackers have a few different methods for figuring out those numbers and gaining access to voice mailboxes, including caller-ID spoofing, and social engineering.
The good news is that deleted voicemail messages can’t be hacked. Therefore, the easiest and most effective step you can take in securing your voicemail system is encouraging your employees to delete sensitive messages as soon as they’ve listened to them.
In Part 1 of this post, I described how Cisco IT addresses the first key question—about reporting on voice service availability. In this Part 2, we’ll cover the second question: How does the call sound to all of the connected parties?
Cisco IT Metrics for Measuring Call Quality
Although it seems counter-intuitive, the best source of information about voice quality may not be the people who were on the call. Of course, user trouble tickets about problems such as static and echo can be important indicators of bigger issues in a voice system. But we often find that users don’t report voice quality issues, so additional tools are needed.
This is the second section of our two part interview with Brent Cobb, Cbeyond’s Chief Revenue and Customer Officer. The first part is located here.
How will IPv6 Transition affect your customers?
Cbeyond has been watching IPv6 unfold since the late 90s. Today the company is in the implementation phase of its transition to support IPv6, and we’ve chosen Cisco’s Carrier Grade v6 (CGv6) implementation as its solution. To us IPv6 will impact how the plumbing of the Internet works – but we try to take the really sophisticated technology of operating a network and applications out of the discussion and service delivery to the small business into the discussion. The majority won’t be impacted directly by IPv6 because Cbeyond will make changes within our network, within our data centers, and within our application environment so our customers don’t have to understand the difference between v4 and v6. It will be transparent to our customers because we’ll handle the complexity.