Phone Spoofing

In the last few years, phone spoofing has been getting more and more annoying. It has happen to our clients. It has happen to our personal phones. It has happen to our business. How can we prevent this from happening. The only way I think this would be possible is that every telco service provider has to not allow this from happening. Believe it or not, it’s way more complicated, as lots of these calls are coming from overseas. Maybe the good service provider should start blocking calls from certain service provider that allow this to happen. I’m really hoping one day these calls stops. It is very annoying and disrupt our daily routine and lifestyle.

https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id

There is a link that can help. Best thing we can do is start educating everyone. I know it’s along shot, but if people stop falling victim to scam, then maybe the scam will eventually stop.

Web based VOIP Phone system with video conference, chat, mobile, crm, screen share and control integration.

VOIP has came a long way. I remember in 1999, I was a simple cable technician. A year later, I was promoted to telephone technician. Back then, a telephone technician was a telephone technician and a computer technician was a computer technician. Since VOIP came out, the two industry in a way have merge. Computer and network technician now does phones and vice versa. This last year, we have been experimenting with a new phone system platform that was web based. What does this mean? This new phone system platform allow us to integrate video conference, onilne chat, crm, and even screen share and control all in 1 platform. If you would like to see a demo, please follow this link below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAPjq_Vt0Ek

If you would like to chat with us on line, go to our home page – https://www.bcs-ip.com – on the bottom right, click on chat. You can then chat with one of our representative.

VOIP quality of service improvements

I remember in 2003, when I first started working with VOIP, it was horrible. Every customer we had, would complains about quality of service. Only way to fix the issue back then would be to recommend customer get MPLS or some kind of point to point circuit. This would fixed the problems, but it would come at a premium price tags and customer would be limited to using the phones at just locations that have MPLS and or Private Point to Point circuit with guarantee quality of service. I remember back then, internet speed were much slower, high end routers with decent CPU for processing also came with a premium price. Last month, I probably setup a handful of customers. This time around, I wanted to run a tests. I’ve setup the system with a decent router without programming QoS (quality of services) and yet I have not had any complaints on the quality. I basically was in shocked. Regardless after a few weeks, I’ve program QoS anyways, in an effort to avoid future problems. With that being said, I’m much more comfortable with VOIP now then I ever was before. I went through a time of avoidance because of all the problems I’ve ran into in the beginning of VOIP.

Desk phones slowly going away

I’ve been in the telecom industry since 1999. The digital phone system have slowly been replaced by voip or voice over internet protocol phones. Telecom and computers are now migrating into 1 seamless category. I remember the days when customer would call us, just to move phones around. We still get those, but it is becoming less frequent. With voip, customer can simply unplug their phone, find another network jack, plug it in, and they are up and running. Those ports be POE (power over ethernet) or in most case, customer can simply plug in a power supply to power the phone. With that being said, in the last 5 years, we have seen a major move from desk phone to a simple inexpensive usb headset or bluetooth headset. It’s simply cheaper and sometimes better, it’s a matter of preferences. Me, personally, I still prefer to have a desk phone with the option for bluetooth usb headset and a softphone when I’m roaming. When I’m really lazy, I can simply use a softphone apps on the smart phone. With so many options, I can see why most customer is wanting to go with VOIP solutions. If you are in the market for a voip solutions, give us a call, we can help.

Headset Options

Since the launch of voip phone system and bluetooth technology, there has been a tremendous growth in the hardware options of headsets. You can go with usb wired headset, or usb wireless headset in conjunction with softphones or applications. Or you can go with traditional phones with added EHS (electronic hook switch) which can help get rid of the bulky lifter. Keep in mind, with out the lifter, you will need an electronic hook switch cable in most case to send a ringer alert to the headset anytime the phone rings. With all the options with headset out there, give your phone vendor a call, so they can help you choose the correct one.

Network Security – when is it sufficient?

I had a customer asked me when is network security sufficient? That’s a tough and broad question, I thought. I really didn’t have a direct easy answer to this. It really depends on what kind of business you are in, what kind of information you are trying to protect. Depending on the business, I’m pretty sure there are legal that you need to take into considerations, such as medical offices, health care, and hospitals needs to be hippa compliant. With that being said, I have a minimum that I like to set in place for most offices, then when we are done, we realize there needed to be more security. For most office, I would recommend a minimum of antivirus software on each pc/devices/server, etc. I also think most office will need some kind of firewall/router in place with some kind of way to manage threat from outside. Then of course, blocks as many ports as possible from outside and make sure everyone have super strong password with some kind of system in place to make sure password security is enforce. I also highly recommend locking up server room/network closets, etc. That would be my minimum recommendation. If you can afford to do more, then you should do more.

NEC SL2100

Last week, I’ve ran into an issue with VOIP busy signal. After troubleshooting, I’ve realized that the system has run out of voip channel resource. The system was configure for 8 sip trunks and 10 voip phones. We had configure this system with the SL2100 Main Chassis / CPU combo package (0x0x0). By default, it comes with 8 VOIP channels. Each VOIP phone uses a channel and each sip trunk uses a channel. In short, if you needs 8 sip trunks, make sure you have double the amount of channels which is 16 voip channels allocated for the system.

5 locations in Austin with calls being sent to voicemail or giving busy tone and need to be integrated w/ centralized number

Problems – Customer is experiencing 4 different problems with their current system.  The first problem is that clients are receiving a busy signal or being sent to voicemail when calling into a location.  This issue is especially problematic at 1 particular location and resulting in loss calls or calls “falling through the cracks”.  This problem is affecting potential clients, current clients and contractors who work with them.  Another issue is that the outbound Caller ID shows incorrect information.  Clients and potential clients are calling wrong locations because the outbound caller ID shows the incorrect location.  This problem results in confusion to both the client and employee due to calls being routed or returned incorrectly.  Due to this issue, clients must then hang up and call the correct clinic resulting in wasted time, inconvenience and inefficiency.  The third problem is that offices are not integrated/able to transfer between locations.  There is no way to transfer calls between multiple locations with the current system in place.  If a client or potential client needs to speak with someone at a different location than they called into, they must hang up and redial the correct office.  This causes an inconvenience and time loss to the client and could result in the person becoming frustrated.  If employees need to speak to one another, they must get a line out and dial the appropriate office as opposed to having the option to press one button in order to reach another location, thus resulting in a less efficient operation.  The final issue is no centralized number.  Each location is listed separately with no centralized number for new and prospective clients to call and be processed appropriately.  Once calling into this centralized number, clients could then be transferred to the appropriate office to handle their needs.  A centralized number would help to cut down on lost calls, end confusion and result in a more efficiently ran system.

Scenario Solutions – The proposed solution to address and resolve the current issues would be a VoIP system.  The VoIP solution provides the following:  Allows calls to be answered by a live person and avoid clients receiving a busy signal or being sent to voicemail.  Phone calls will ring to the number dialed, and if that line is being used, it will then rollover to the next line in the system.  This ensures that even if someone is on the phone at the location being called, someone else will be there to answer the call and take care of the client’s needs or transfer them to the appropriate place.  The outbound caller ID will show the appropriate number and clinic information (location and number) that the client needs to contact.  This will stop the client from calling the wrong clinic and having to be moved all over the place.  All offices will be integrated and have the ability to transfer calls between each other seamlessly.  This will enable the operation to become more efficient and manageable, as well as cut down on time wasted on hanging up to call the appropriate location.  This will greatly reduce the inconvenience for both clients and employees.  Ability to have a centralized number for all clients and new or prospective clients to call, thus making the process more streamlined.  With a centralized number, new clients can call and be processed before being sent to the appropriate office to handle their needs.  This gives a more professional appearance and cuts down on confusion.

Cons – Because this is a VoIP solution, the performance of this system is dependent on the quality and reliability of the current Internet at all locations.  If they choose to stay with the current provider(s), the system proposed will work, however we cannot guarantee performance.

Outdated phone system with no features and 2 office that needed to be connected

Problems – A company has locations in both Austin and New Orleans and wants to tie the 2 together.  Their current phone system is 10 – 12 years old and severely outdated.  The existing system does not have features the company needs, such as: caller ID, voicemail and cell forwarding, voicemail to email, and auto attendant.  They also need conference call capabilities to accommodate anywhere from 10 to 20 users.  Due to having an old, outdated system they are also experiencing poor call quality and cannot transfer calls between locations.  Often times they find that calls are not being routed correctly and voicemails end up in the wrong mailboxes.  The main goal is to integrate and connect the 2 offices, while added features are also must-haves.  The company needs a solution that will enable them to accomplish all of their goals while giving them the “bells and whistles” they are looking for in a phone system.  

Scenario Solutions – The most logical solution for these issues is to replace the entire old system at both locations with a new VoIP set up.  This will allow them to connect both locations, as well as give them the features they want and need.  They will receive IP phones with the capabilities they want and the auto attendant and voicemail features they need.  A conference bridge will allow them the ability to have up to 30 users per conference with room to expand.  The new phone system will also greatly improve sound quality and reliability.

Pros – This solution allows the company to connect both offices, as well as give them everything they’re looking for feature wise.  They can now transfer all calls between the 2 offices and properly route both calls and voicemails to the correct place.  They will have a system in place that allows them to grow while addressing the lack of functionality of their outdated phones.

Cons – The users are now dependent on their Internet connection and having a primary and secondary location.  If the primary office goes down or experiences problems, it could affect the second location.  The users must be properly trained in order to have a seamless transition from the old set up to the new one. 

Cast Studies: Scenarios

Problems – The first problem this company is experiencing is the phone service and lines are being handled by 2 different vendors, resulting in poor communication and integration between the 2 separate companies.  The voicemail is only at one end and provided by 1 of the vendors.  This causes voicemails to be left in the wrong mailbox and calls to “fall between the cracks”.  The integration voicemail service is limited and poor.  They are also experiencing poor quality and frequent “cracking” noises in the background of calls.  The company is in the process of expanding and hiring people to work remotely from their homes in other cities, but have no way to keep them connected to the phone system ran from a corporate office.  They have used softphones in the past, but found this to be difficult and cumbersome as compared to hardphones.  Their main concerns are missing calls or having them routed incorrectly due to the current system and various voicemail issues.  The secondary concerns are incorporating remote users, sound quality and appropriate training on how to use the new phone system.

Scenario Solutions – The main phone system is located in San Antonio with 1 remote user in Austin and 1 remote user in Houston.  They need to be connected and have designated lines and voicemail accounts, while giving full access to the remote users in other cities.  Therefore, this scenario calls for a VoIP solution to give equal access to all users.  This system will also allow for proper routing and voicemail accounts to avoid missed calls and lost voicemail messages.  The sound quality will also greatly improve thanks to QOS that will be provided.  By merging their 2 separate vendors and system into one unified system, they can expect better integration and results.  Hardphones will replace the softphones, and training will be provided for all users at the time of installation.

Pros – It allows flexibility for remote users to work from home and also allows the company to expand beyond San Antonio.  All users can be tied in to the same phone system despite their different geographical locations.  By switching to this type of VoIP set up, phone use is seamless and easy which allows uniformity between office numbers, lines and locations.  A user in the corporate office can answer the phone and transfer to a remote user, or customers can dial a direct line for an employee.  Voicemail is assigned to specific users and their numbers so there is no confusion, roll over or messages left in the wrong person’s mailbox.

Cons –Remote users are dependent upon their home internet connection, as the phones rely on internet to function.  Voicemail and other components must be set up properly from the beginning and users must be trained (due to the fact that this system may be more elaborate and in-depth than previous systems they have used).