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How Cisco Keeps Quality High For Voice Calls, Part 1: Availability

Measuring the quality of voice calls that are carried across a corporate network often comes down to just two key questions:

1. Availability: Will calls go through the first time and every time?

2. Quality Metrics: How do we know how well the call sounds to all of the connected parties?

In this two-part post, I’ll describe how Cisco answers these questions through the tools and processes we use for monitoring voice call quality.

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Don’t Risk Your Business on a Consumer-Grade Voice Service

Learn how to find a business-class hosted voice service that will support your company without breaking your budget

The market is crowded with providers that offer inexpensive or even free hosted voice services—all of them claiming to be the ideal telephony solution for small business. But many popular Internet-based public phone services, such as Skype and Google Voice, are more appropriate for people making personal calls from their homes to families and friends.

As a small but growing company, you need a business-class voice service that will support your business and your customers; however, you also need to be conscious of the cost, balancing the price with the quality of the service. Here are five things to look for—and look out for—when choosing a hosted voice service.

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Five Ways to Ensure Higher Quality VoIP Service

Taking these steps will help you find a hosted voice provider that delivers the best possible phone calls

Voice over IP (VoIP), which lets you place and receive telephone calls over the Internet, appeals to many small companies, particularly those that want to replace their analog telephone service with a hosted VoIP service like Cisco Hosted Small Business Communications. VoIP technologies are advanced enough to deliver calls that sound as clear as plain old telephone service (POTS) calls and are equally responsive, and VoIP equipment has become mainstream enough to be affordable for smaller companies. There’s still one catch, however, that prevents small companies from fully embracing VoIP: high-quality service.

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Hosted Voice Service Easily Connects Remote Offices, Mobile Workers

With hosted VoIP, small businesses can reduce telecommunication costs and enhance collaboration between employees.

Smaller businesses are turning to cloud-based services for a variety of applications, especially hosted voice over IP (VoIP). According to AMI-Partners, 30 percent of small businesses and 50 percent of medium businesses believe VoIP will become critical to their business operations in the near future. Hosted voice services offer many benefits, from reducing upfront costs to accessing advanced communications technologies, and they’re no longer considered a risky way to acquire business applications. Because hosted VoIP removes the burden of maintaining separate phone systems, it offers particular advantages to small businesses with remote offices or mobile employees.

A hosted voice service, such as Cisco Hosted Small Business (HSB) Communications, is the great equalizer. It can lower the cost of remote employees communicating with colleagues. It can also help a mobile sales force stay in touch both with their contacts in the field and back at headquarters. All employees, no matter where they’re working, have access to the same calling and messaging features through the hosted voice service, including extension dialing and conferencing.

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3 steps for Implementing VoIP in Your Small Business

The right IP phone system can help improve customer service and employee collaboration.

Voice over IP (VoIP) is a technology that seems tailor-made for small businesses, especially now that IP networks are as common as landline telephones, and broadband Internet access is within anyone’s budget. And the benefits of VoIP for small businesses are many, including reduced phone expenses, improved customer service, and enhanced employee productivity.

Small business VoIP solutions include hardware and software dedicated to handling voice traffic and offer a variety of calling features previously out of reach for smaller companies using a traditional PSTN (public switched telephone network) phone system. VoIP systems are designed to be flexible and scalable. So whichever system you choose now will grow along with your business, allowing you to easily add users, upgrade features, and expand into more sophisticated modules as you need them.

If you already have an IP network and a high-speed Internet connection, you can implement a VoIP phone system—and you can do it in three steps.

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