What criteria to choose an IP telephony offer

The upcoming end of the analog landline is leading companies to take stock of the choices. What criteria are to be taken into account? For which features?

To choose your IP telephony solution, you have to decide on two possible scenarios: either you want to keep a PBX (“PBX” or “switchboard”) in the company, or you decide not to have any more on your site.

In the first case – that of an installation of an IP PBX in the company – two possible options arise: the equipment, an IPBX (Internet protocol branch exchange) is bought and the investment is amortized over 5 years or more. It is a designated accounting choice in English CaPex (capital expenditure). The company has cash and prefers to own its systems, as is often the case with computer equipment. Generally, the equipment is installed by an integrator or installer who provides maintenance under a multi-year contract. It is sometimes the IT department that manages it.

Some small structures can be satisfied with a professional box with fiber optic access.

Another option: the IP PBX equipment installed in the company is for lease-purchase (or leasing), with monthly or quarterly payments. The installer is responsible for mounting the file with a leasing company. At the end of the contractual period (3 or 5 years, classically), the equipment may or may not become the property of the company with a residual value. Most often, at the end of the period, the company sells the equipment in order to renew it and benefits from the latest technologies.

Option without equipment internally

In the second scenario, the company chooses not to install a switch on its premises. It opts for an outsourced service with an operator, a service of the ‘Centrex IP’ type or hosted on the Cloud.

This model appeared a decade ago; but he knows a new youth with a cloud extension, such as Bflex at Bouygues and equivalents at Orange, SFR Business or specialists like Keyyo Communications, Nerim, etc. Some offers are not “original” but in white label.

Initially, these offers targeted small businesses, small businesses and SMEs. But today, the criterion is not necessarily the number of jobs. Intermediate companies with several hundred jobs have converted to it.

Finally, the IPBX can belong to the company but be hosted by an operator provider (see the Vega offer at Bouygues or its equivalents at OBS, SFR Business, solutions for large organizations).

In practice, it is often the sector of activity and the trade, which guide these choices, more than quantitative criteria. However, there remains the case of multi-site organizations – which is an important criterion, with different solutions.

Many companies make the choice to invest only in equipment that is strategic for their business. For many, telephony is consumable services and no longer justify the commitment of capital. Some organizations make an exception, sometimes with telephone terminals; because with the competition of the Asian manufacturers, prices fell sharply.

The flexibility criterion

The rental option, in IP centerx or on the Cloud, also corresponds to a strong trend, that of “as a service”. One to two minutes is enough to install a new phone. The line is activated directly from the operator’s self-care portal. The dial plan adapts seamlessly.

Quality of service

The operator or telephony provider must commit to the quality of service. Indicators are needed, including latency, jitter and packet loss, all of which are critical to the quality of communication. Similarly, the echo phenomenon must be controlled.

Security and encryption option

Formal commitments must be made in terms of security and robustness. If this is a hosted offer, you must ensure redundancy at the data center (s). The telecom links to the customer (SDSL preferably, in the absence of fiber optics) must also be doubled. The backup line can also be used overflow for internet access in the event of peak activity (see the article in this file on FTTH and FTTO fiber broadband).

The ability to encrypt communications can sometimes be useful. This option, often coming from the ‘open source’ universe, can be critical for some activities.
Even if it is rare, the piracy of the auto-switches (or ‘phreaking’) exists.

It often results in hidden calls to the international. An outsourced telephone service at a provider with good customer credentials is, in principle, protected from these threats. It is up to him to conduct regular audits and manage the security strategy.

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