Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tips in Searching for Toll Free Vanity Numbers

Acquiring vanity telephone numbers nowadays is a big challenge. Time has changed and the popularity of these phone numbers has increased tremendously and their availability has been scarce because more businesses are now acquiring them due to the positive benefits that it provides.

Getting any vanity toll free numbers is not what business owners would prefer. Rather they want a number that is closely related to their type of business and something that is unique. This sort of strategy allows a business to stand out among the competition and provides presence to the consuming public.

The following tips can help a business in searching for suitable vanity toll free numbers:
  1. It may be possible that the phone word numbers to acquire is already taken or may still be available in rare situations. Dialing the number or utilizing an online toll free number directory search can assist in determining their availability. If a potential number is available then always acquire it from a RespOrg. Obtaining a toll free number other than a RespOrg is illegal under the FCC regulations.
  2. Popular telecommunication providers or some toll free phone number brokers can be consulted for their availability. But be cautious because some of them maybe operating outside the rules of the FCC.
  3. Search for a toll free vanity telephone numbers provider that uses a shared-use system. This system allows different businesses to share a certain vanity number by using routing and special area codes.
Getting a vanity number is a business investment. Remember to always get an appropriate number, do not settle for second rate prefixes (866, 877 and 888) and make sure that the provider has a tracking system for logging and monitoring calls.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Role of FCC on Toll Free Service

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is an independent government agency in the US that was established to control and standardize both the international and interstate communications. The agency covers the following: cable, radio, satellite, television, telephone, wire, etc. FCC was created under the Communication Act of 1934 and all the 50 US states including the territories under its jurisdiction.

FCC plays a notable role in the toll free service industry as well. The commission is also responsible for regulating the rules in obtaining and using the toll free phone numbers and that they cannot be put up for sale. Even if these special telephone numbers are in the public domain, brokering/hoarding is still prohibited although there are some who practice the idea. This prompted the agency in filing court motion to clarify the system. The regulations include:
  • Allocation of toll free numbers is on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Subscribers are not allowed to allocate more numbers.
  • RespOrg (Responsible Organizations) are not allowed to reserve a number without a properly identified subscriber. This illegal practice is also known as hoarding.
  • A reserved number must be allocated within eight months. This mandate prevents RespOrg in hoarding numbers.
Vanity numbers are now targeted for the illegal selling despite of the regulation and mandates made by FCC.

The agency also ruled out the implementation of 1800 numbers portability. This regulation states that subscribers are allowed to switch to different providers or carriers without changing their number. With this rule, subscribers are not locked with their carriers thus increasing the competition among the providers.

Unfortunately, FCC has limitations as well since it has no access to the SMS/800 database and it cannot provide the status of 0800 numbers.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Basic IP PBX Phone System Setup Information

The IP PBX (Internet Protocol Private Branch eXchange) is a type of phone system designed to utilize the internet in transmitting voice, video and other data. IP PBX can also be used in exchanging information with a PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). It can also be merged with the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to avail of cheaper call costs. This IP PBX phone system is available as software, hardware or a virtual variant.

The main components
  • PBX software – open-source software from the likes of Asterisk, FreeSWITCH, OpenPBX, etc, can be installed and configured on a decent PC with a minimum specifications of 450MHz CPU, 128MB RAM, Ethernet and built-in sound.
  • Phones – SIP phones from Avaya, Cisco, etc. can be purchased and used for this phone system. But sometimes it is easier to get started with the soft phone, such as XLite, that is installed on a PC. Older analog phones, with the use of special adapters, can be utilized as well.
  • SIP gateway – allows the phone system to communicate with other PSTN phone networks. In order to obtain this,  a paid service subscription from providers such as OnSIP, MediaRing, VoiceJet, etc. is required.
  • Network – a basic home networking behind a NAT firewall or gateway router is all that is needed. It is important to have a static IP address assigned to the IP PBX system.
Setting up the system
  1. Sign-up with a SIP service provider. It is recommended to find a suitable provider that offers an affordable service. Subscribe by visiting and registering in the provider’s website.
  2. Set-up the network by picking a static IP address.
  3. Configure the phones to be used.
  4. Install and configure the PBX software.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Birth of the CentrEx Business Phone System

The CentrEx phone system is a telephony switching service where all the telecommunication equipments and other required devices are housed on a central office. This PBX-like phone system is owned, maintained and managed by the hosting provider. A hosting provider, that gives PBX system services to subscribers, can be a telephone company or a telecommunication solutions provider.

It was in the 1960s when the Engineering Department of the New York Telephone company invented the CentrEX I business phone system. The system was made as a replacement for the PBX switching systems of large corporations. The only disadvantage of the CentrEx I is that it requires the use of a separate 5XB Switch for every subscribers.

CentrEx II was later developed in 1960 by the Bell Labs. The system has the additional feature which makes it more efficient as compared to the CentrEx I. This new innovation has replaced the Step Switches on the CentrEx I with a more reliable 2-stage crossbar network CentrEx Position Link Circuit (CPXL).

In the early part of 1970, a redesigned and a much versatile CentrEx III, also known as Phase 3 CentrEx was later developed. While CentrEx II uses a 2-stage network crossbar, CentrEx III utilizes 6-wire crossbar switches in connecting with a transfer trunk and still uses the CPXL in connecting with other consoles.

In the mid-1970s CentrEx subscribers were transitioned from the 5XB switching system to the modern 1ESS switch. Various developments were considered such as the cheaper logic, storage, and the versatility of the Stored Program Control. Different manufacturers also developed similar services. Nortel for instance developed the IBN (Integrated Business Network) while RingCentral called their system the eCentrex Virtual PBX.

Today, CentrEx is already available in various service types (packaged, data and customized). This is to provide a wide variety of options to cater the different communication requirements of subscribers.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Reasons That Makes a Virtual PBX the Better Choice

Before the PBX (Private Branch eXchange) was introduced companies were having difficulties in looking for possibilities to connect with important departments and contacts the efficient way. These days, the PBX phone system has become a necessity as well as a useful communication tool that enable businesses to operate effectively.

A PBX system works its magic when phones, facsimile machines, modems, PCs and other communication devices are linked to the main number as extensions. Utilizing a traditional PBX phone system can also help in reducing the cost incurred on internal phone calls. As its popularity increases and more features being incorporated this phone system, it has become the choice for businesses in managing calls.

With the increasing demands for features and usability, phone companies and telecommunication providers have developed a new type of phone system that does not only incorporate all of the traditional PBX’s features and functionality but also turned it into a hosted service. This innovation is known as the virtual PBX phone system, which makes use of the internet as a central hub where communication devices can be attached as extensions.

Today, this virtual PBX is the top choice for businesses and organizations because of the following functions:
  1. Eliminates the need to purchase expensive and bulky telecommunication hardware since it resides in the hosting provider’s premises.
  2. A web-based account enables makes it easier to access, manage and configure.
  3. Communication is made affordable since it uses the internet to broadcast calls.
  4. Mobility enables the communication to be extended.
With an affordable price, flexible plan and advanced features, the virtual PBX system has revolutionized the way businesses communicate.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Useful Toll Free Service Directories on the Web

Small and large business can utilize toll free numbers as powerful tools for branding and marketing. 800 toll free numbers have been around for a very long time and are here to stay even with the threat of flat-rate phone call rates and the escalation of cell phone usage.

A toll free service can provide a consumer with a free way to connect to a business for support, inquiries or orders. That is why more consumers tend to choose a toll free number rather than a local number when calling. But, some companies pay little attention in advertising their toll-free numbers thus resulting in hard to find numbers.

Below are few of the most useful toll free phone directories in the web that can provide assistance when searching for toll free numbers:
  • Airline Toll Free Numbers and Website – not really a directory but a listing of the world’s airline carrier.
  • AnyWho – as part of AT and T, it does not only provide a toll-free number search but also has white and yellow pages.
  • Argali White and Yellow – one of the most powerful and complete telephone directory searching tools in the web.
  • Canada TollFree – a service that provides a free toll-free numbers search on products or services in Canada.
  • FCIC National Contact Center – in search of the most common federal toll-free numbers? Then FCIC can be a big help.
  • Health Hotlines – provides a toll-free number searching of health-related services.
  • World Directories – phone directories collection from around the world.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Hosted PBX System Tour

In today’s telecommunication jargon, hosted PBX is perhaps the most widely used term. In short definition, a hosted system simply means a business telecommunication service that uses the web to deliver data, voice and other media. This is a true web communication service that uses no PBX hardware on the part of the subscriber. All the management, operation and hosting resides on the provider’s premise.

The internet/LAN network is the heart of this phone system. It is the link between hosting provider and the subscriber. It is also where all the business’ remote offices and branches will be interconnected in order to become a part of the subscriber’s phone system. Leveraging an existing connection to broadband will be advantageous for the part of the subscriber.

The facilities of the hosting system provider are where the actual PBX hardware, devices and equipments will be housed. The provider will be handling and managing all of the telephone connections. That is why it is possible to have no phone lines. All the subscribing company has to do is simply connect the telephones to the network just like any PC or printer.

Even though PSTN phone lines can be eliminated with this type of phone system, they can still be accommodated though by simply connecting them to the hosting provider. Fast growing company usually branches out and that is not a problem with the system. All the remote offices will only have to require an internet connection in order to link up with the main phone system of the company.

A hosted system is a complete and a cost-effective phone service for any business type and size.