BCS Frequently Ask Question (FAQ) in Austin

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Who is Business Communication Solutions?

Business Communication Solutions is a small family-owned and operated business that was started in 2004. We started providing just business phone systems, voice, and data cabling. Over the years, we have evolved to keep up with the demand and changes in the technology world. Our services now include but are not limited to: Cabling Services (voice, data, coaxial, fiber), business telephone systems (voip, digital, analog), computer networks, managed IT services, security camera system installation, and access control systems installations.

Where Do You Serve?

We service all of Austin and surrounding cities, including but not limited to Buda, Bastrop, Bertram, Burnet, Dripping Springs, Elgin, Kyle, Taylor, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Pflugerville, Hutto, Jarrell, Lampasas, Leander, Liberty Hill, Lockhart, Manor, Marble Falls, San Marcos, and Wimberly. With an additional trip charge, we also serve cities not mentioned but located in Williamson or Travis County. We will go wherever we can to service and support our clients.

Can I get An Estimate?

We sure do! Call us at 512-257-1433, and we will gladly give free estimates and initial consultations to each of our future clients.

My problem is more complicated. What can you do to help?

We get this often. It’s no big deal. The best way to go about this is to give us a call. We offer free consultation to understand your business and your problems and see if we can help you find solutions.

I need some help at my home, do you guys service home and residential area?

Yes, we service home and residential customers.

I have some specialize equipment that I need install, can you help?

We get this often. The answer is that it depends. We can support most Low-Voltage Wiring equipment. If all you need is some wiring done and a basic install, then yes. If the equipment manufacturer has tech support that we can call or if there is a manual, we will do our best to help you. Call us if you have a specific device that you need to wiring job done.

Business Phone Systems VoIP FAQ

Why should I go VoIP?

When we get a question like that, in most cases, you have multiple vendors pushing you to go VoIP. There is not a one-size-fits-all scenario for all businesses. Depending on each company, there may not be a reason to. We had quite a bit of business call us and ask us if we still install digital phone systems because they can’t find any vendor that can and is still willing to do it. If you are in this situation, give us a call. We offer free consultation to help you understand whether or not it makes sense.

How much does VoIP cost?

VOIP varies depending on the features and functions you require on your phone system setup. In most cases, per seat costs range from $15.00 – $50.00 per user; that’s assuming decent wired internet is already in place.

Will I save money going VoIP or cloud?

It’s unnecessary; depending on your configuration and setup, VoIP may cost you more if you have an extensive existing on-premise phone system that has been paid for and has very few lines or channels, whether analog, VoIP, sip, T1, or Pri, it may not save you money. On the other hand, it may help you increase efficiency or solve problems. We offer free consultation to help you understand whether or not it makes sense. Give us a call now to book your free appointment.

Is Cloud and VoIP the same?

Cloud and VOIP are not the same. Cloud, in general, often refers to data, server, and storage that you pay another vendor, provider, or a hosted solution to maintain for you. Before the cloud, most businesses had one or more local servers. Technically, if you have those servers connected to the internet and users are remoting in and using it, that is considered cloud. The only difference is how reliable it is. Do you have multiple internet in case one of your internet goes down? Do you have redundancy built into the servers and or your network? Do you have a backup battery or generator in case of power issues? Even if you move everything to the cloud, you should still have a check and balance or audit to ensure your data are backed up and maintained. VoIP, on the other hand, is just a protocol. It stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. You can have a VoIP phone system on the premises that doesn’t allow users to work remotely for security reasons. It is still using VoIP locally. VoIP is just a protocol, a language that will enable devices that support the same language to talk to each other. How it is being designed or implemented makes it more or less flexible, more or less secure, and affordable. If you are in a situation where you can’t decide to go with VoIP or having issues choosing which carrier, give us a call. We offer free consultation to help you. We partner with multiple vendors or manufacturers, making it more flexible.

If we switch to you, can we use our existing phones?

That depends on which make and model phones you currently have and what features you need or want. There are many makes and models of phones that we support right now. Wildix, Tadiran/Yealink, Polycom, Cisco, Fanvil, Grandstream, and the list continues to grow.
Here is a list as of 10/16/2023.

Yealink T53W, T54W, T57W, T42S, T46S, T48S, T33G, T40G, T41P, T42G, T42S, T46G, T46S, T48G, T48S,
Yealink CP925, CP960, CP965,
Yealink W52P, W60B, W70B, W52H, W56H
Cisco SPA303, SPA504G, SPA525G2, SPA112 (analog), SPA122 (analog)
Fanvil V64 and X303W
Polycom IP 331, IP 335, IP5000, IP550, IP560, IP 6000, IP650, IP7000,
Polycom TRIO8300, TRIO8500,
Polycom VVX150, VVX201, 250, 300, 301, 310, 311, 350, 400, 401, 410, 450, 500, 501, 600, 601,
Polycom OBI300, OBI302

Give us a call; let us check the make and model of your current phone, the firmware version, and see if we can make it work for you; as our lists of supported phones continue to grow, it’s tough to keep track of every model. Going this route allows us to test the phone with the features that you require before switching over.

Data Cabling FAQ

What is the difference between Cat 3, Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6, and Cat 6a cables?

We primarily used cat 3 for analog, digital phones, and token ring (10Mbps) networks. In 1990 10 Mbps was much speed. Cat 3 is obsolete now. You still see it in the telephone and D’marc (MDF or IDF) rooms, some businesses with analog and digital phones, but mostly abandoned. Cat 5 is the replacement of Cat 3. Cat 5 runs at 100 Mbps, which is also obsolete; as you know, it’s hard to find. Cat 5e and Cat6 are the most popular data cables right now. Cat 6 performance is better than Cat 5e; it costs a bit more. Depending on your need, Cat 5e will suffice. For example, if you need to run some data cable for a PoE camera, Cat 5e can save you money, as most camera does not use that much bandwidth. A 4k Camera at 30 FPS use needs roughly 10 Mbps; Cat 5e is rated at 1000 Mbps. There is no need for a Cat 6 Cable on a single security camera.

Cables come in many different flavors. CMR (PVC) or Plenum. Plenum, in short, costs more. Some buildings require plenum cables. Otherwise, it is not up to code (NEC code 300.22). Some wires are copper-clad Aluminum, which is cheaper and has subpar performance. If you need Data cable, we recommend sticking to solid copper cable.

Fiber Optic Cabling FAQ

We have Google Fiber; we called them and asked them to move the Google Fiber jack, but they stated they don’t have that service. Can you help?

We get this often. If you have a Google fiber or fiber jack from a service provider and would like us to move it, call us. We have helped many customers with this issue.

What is your rate?

Currently, our rate is 109.00 per hour plus material. There are no trip charge for Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, and Pflugerville.

We currently have fiber at our office. We have fiber internet because everyone tells us it’s the fastest. After we switch to fiber internet, it’s much slower. Can you help us figure out why?

We see this more than usual. Fiber is a much faster medium to deliver internet speed than Coaxial cable (cable internet) or Copper Cable (T1 or DSL). However, depending on what bandwidth your service provider provider sells you is what makes the difference. If your service provider sold you a slower package than your existing one, then your internet is slower. Fiber cable is just a form of cable. It can deliver faster internet speed, but the service provider will still give you the maximum speed of the fiber cable.

Do you splice fiber optic cables?

We do; we employ a unique fusion splicing technique to combine the optical materials. Our specialized equipment will let us know if splicing was successful or unsuccessful.

We ran some fiber cable ourselves; we just need help terminating it. Can you help us with just the termination portion? How much will this cost?

we can terminate the fiber for you. However, we can warranty the termination but not the cable itself. Typically, we just charge time plus material. If you would like a fixed-cost estimate, call us, and we can do a site survey and give you a flat-rate estimate. 

Computer Networking, Security, and Managed IT Services FAQ

Wireless Networking – FAQ
We have a home office with wifi issues. Can you help us?

Of course, give us a call. We service businesses and residential customers.

My wifi show isn’t insecure; what can I do?

This error can mean a few things. If you are not using a password, your router or Wi-Fi access point needs to be updated (firmware update), or you need to update to robust wifi protocols. The old WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) will give you problems.

Security Camera System FAQ

What is the best security camera system for me?

The best cameras, in all honesty, are the ones you can afford. Just keep in mind that any security cameras are preferable to none!

Why should I invest in a security camera system for my home and/or business?

Any workplace or residence should place a premium on safety. In addition to daily workers, your business also houses valuable and priceless equipment. You, your coworkers, and your family will all benefit from improving office or home security. Installing intelligent video surveillance cameras is one approach to do this. These systems offer a dependable and practical solution to safely monitor who enters and leaves your facility. Every camera has unique features that you may customize to meet your needs. Most significantly, they offer excellent monitoring for the highest level of security and safety.

What is the difference between indoor and outdoor cameras and their pros and cons?

The primary and vital difference between indoor and outdoor cameras is weatherproofing (weather resistance). Indoor cameras for residential or commercial operating temperatures are usually not high. As for outdoor cameras, Mother Nature plays a huge factor—burning sun, hard rain, or heavy snow—so they must be built sturdier.

Indoor security cameras include nanny, pet, and home security cameras that are usually not weatherproof.

Pros: good video quality, low cost, small and easy to conceal or hide, may reduce insurance costs, easier installation, remote access

Cons: Less durable; improper installation can be hacked.

Outdoor security cameras include a video doorbell, floodlight, solar-powered, and weatherproof home security cameras.

Pro: Weatherproof, deter property crime, may reduce insurance costs, property monitoring, most are tamperproof, good night vision performance,

Con: Large and heavy, more expensive than indoor, professional installation

What are the pros and cons of wired and wireless cameras?

A wired camera receives power from a residential or commercial electrical system instead of a battery or solar charger.

Pros: No battery replacement or recharging, stable power and internet connection, higher-quality videos

Cons: An electrician is required for installation; it may be burdensome to remove if you relocate; placement limitations

wireless camera receives power from a battery or solar panel and uses a wireless internet connection most of the time. Although a wireless internet connection is not required, some may store videos on a local SD card.

Pros: Easy to install, relocate, user-friendly, and works anywhere

Cons: Monthly fee cloud storage, WIFI connection can be unstable, manual battery charging or replacement

What is the difference between DVR and NVR, and how do they work?

Difference: A DVR converts analog footage into a digital format, while an NVR typically only works with digital footage. DVR systems process data at the recorder, while NVR systems encode and process data at the camera before transmitting it to the system for storage and remote viewing.

DVR (Digital Video Recorder): how it works—aka CCTV cameras, analog cameras produce a raw video signal. There are fewer features than IP cameras, and usually, the video quality is not as high, although there have been advances to offer improved analog resolution. Overall, their lower specs make them more affordable than IP cameras. Since all the DVR recording is in, it is possible to transmit the raw video signals of many different camera models on one system. DVR is an excellent option for sites with cameras of varying brands and models. The coaxial cable carries the raw video signal from the camera to the DVR for image processing. It does not power the cameras, but options are available with an integrated power splitter to carry out both functions on one cable.

NVR (Network Video Recorder): how it works: uses newer technologies, such as internet connectivity, to make video surveillance more accessible and flexible. NVR security systems connect to IP cameras, which capture and process video simultaneously, sending the encoded (digitized) video to the NVR via an internet connection. IP cameras can connect to NVRs in two ways: a PoE (Power over Ethernet) connection or a wireless/WIFI connection.

Should I DIY or have a professional install a security camera system?

Choosing whether to install yourself or hire a pro is one of the choices you’ll need to make when buying a home security system. What type of home you reside in, who lives with you, and how handy you are will determine which installation technique is best for you. However, some home security providers only provide one installation option. The benefits of a properly installed home security system include the assurance that comes with expert advice, a manufacturer’s guarantee, and general trust in the precision of the setup and equipment placement.

Access Control FAQ

What is Access Control?

Access control entails recognizing a person based on their credentials and approving the proper amount of access when validated. Credentials are often used to identify and authenticate a user, including passwords, pins, security tokens, and even biometric scans.

Organizations deploy electronic access control systems that monitor employee access to restricted company locations and private regions, such as data centers, and rely on user credentials, access card readers, auditing, and reporting to safeguard a facility. These systems include alarms and lockdown capabilities to stop unwanted access or activities, access control panels to limit admission to rooms and buildings, and lockdown and alarm capabilities.

How does Access Control work?

Access controls establish the identity of a person or entity, confirm that the person or application is who or what it claims to be, and approve the degree of access and the set of activities related to the username or IP address. Access controls are provided by directory services and protocols, such as Lightweight Directory Access Protocol and Security Assertion Markup Language, which allow users and entities to connect to computer resources like distributed applications and web servers by authenticating and authorizing them.

Depending on their compliance needs and the security levels of IT they are seeking to safeguard, organizations utilize various access control approaches.

Why is access control important?

Increased Security: Access control is crucial because it helps security professionals better regulate who has access to a structure or property. Operators may more easily limit who has access by asking users to provide credentials when they wish to enter a building or a place restricted for security reasons without physically stationing guards at every door. This contemporary technology in access control is crucial for keeping today’s workplaces secure. Mechanical lock and critical systems, which offered little security and were expensive to maintain, have often been replaced with electronic ones.

Convenient Access: For building owners, convenience is as vital as security. Authorized users, such as residents of multi-unit apartment buildings or workers of office complexes, must have unhindered access to structures. Access must also be readily available for guests or delivery personnel. Access control satisfies both of those criteria. Keys, which are readily misplaced or forgotten, are less practical than electronic credentials. In terms of flexibility, the cloud has increased the significance of access control for remote operation since users may now open the door on a secure browser or app without being present on site. This contemporary technology in access control is crucial for keeping today’s workplaces secure. Mechanical lock and critical systems, which offered little security and were expensive to maintain, have often been replaced with electronic ones.

Computer Repair FAQ

Do you offer in home or on-site computer repair services?

Yes, we offer both residential and commercial services.

Should I buy a new computer instead of replacing my hard disk or updating my current one?

That is contingent upon the nature of your problems and the hardware you presently own. If your motherboard and CPU are ancient and can only support Windows 7, it might not be worth it. In most circumstances, it is worthwhile if your CPU is newer and capable of supporting Windows 10 or Windows 11. At this point, having a conversation would make more sense. Please call 512.257.1433 to assist you in making the right decision. Free estimates are available from us. There will be no fees if we can’t fix it.

My PC is having a lot of problems right now since I unintentionally clicked on a malicious email or link. Are you able to assist?

Yes, we can assist. Don’t worry, though; most of us have experienced this. Please give us a call at 512.257.1433 so that we can assist you in clearing things up and reducing or eliminating the risk going forward.

I would like to upgrade the operating system on my computer from an older version to a newer one. Do you guys do anything like this?

Yes, we certainly do this frequently. However, bear in mind that in order to update to a newer version of OS, your computer needs to meet the minimum hardware requirements. To find out if your computer is ready for an upgrade, give us a call right now.

My company is expanding, and I would like to make work easier for my employees by using a cloud-based platform. What do you recommend?

We would recommend Office 365. Many clients who use Office 365 for their businesses has said it made their jobs easier because of the numerous benefits Office 365 provides. Call us today for more information.

No matter what problems you have with your PC, give us a call 512.257.1433 for an estimate. And remember, if we can’t fix it you don’t pay!