Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Impact of Internet on Virtual Phone Systems

It was in 1960 when the introduction of IP (Internet Protocol) was made. This was also the period when advanced phone systems like the Centrex (Central Exchange) were developed as a cheaper replacement for traditional PBX (Private Branch eXchange) systems. Among the telecommunication companies that provided their own brand to market this revolutionary phone system were Qwest Communications (Centrex Prime), SBC Communications (Centron) and Verizon-Nynex (Intellipath).

The Centrex provided by these telecommunication companies, back then, were still using analog even if ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) technology was already utilized to provide connectivity with the subscribing company. Few providers offer true digital service of this phone system from the likes of BT (FeatureNet) and Telstra (CustomNet). But, still these companies link-up with their clients with the use of copper wires wherein multi-pair are required for multiple stations. One exemption, though, is the C&W (Cable & Wireless) Centrex Service in London, UK which made use of the more advanced fiber optic connections on their virtual PBX.

With the existence of the internet, the distinction between a PBX and a virtual PBX system like the Centrex is now evident. In a Centrex system the hosting provider’s premise houses the hardware used for call control and switching while in a regular PBX system both these components reside in the provider’s complex.

Regardless thought, IP telephony technology has made it possible for voice packets to travel from the users’ phone to the provider then to outside PSTN networks the same way data packets travel in a local area network. This setup ably prevents internal phone calls from traveling outside the company and being infiltrated.

Moreover, by using IP, the voice messages are not the only one transmitted between connected parties, but other data as well, such as images and videos. IP also made data transmission on virtual PBX phone systems to other links more reliable and secure.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Turning to VoIP Communication

VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) is a type of phone call where analog signals are converted into digital signals. These converted signals are then transmitted via the internet thereby allowing free telephone calls to be made without the involvement of a telephone company. With such a characteristic, internet telephony will allow a user to utilize different methods in making a phone call - using a computer, an IP phone or an analog telephone equipped with an ATA adapter. Furthermore, anyone with a laptop computer can utilize a VoIP service in any location that has wireless or WiFi connections.

Normally, high speed internet connection and a digital phone are necessary in order to have quality calls. Some providers may even offer a special software so a computer can be used for this service. Regular phone networks may soon be replaced with IP telephony due to the numerous advantages it offers.

One of the reasons why VoIP is the top choice in phone systems is because of the cheaper rates it affords. Most service providers offer flexible plans and packages that may include free local or international calls. A single line can also have up to 10 extensions which is beneficial for businesses that require multiple lines. Mobility is another reason why this service is fast becoming an option for frequent travelers.

In addition to the above mentioned, IP phone services have features that are not found or may be paid features on ordinary telephone services. VoIP may come with the following phone features: 3-way calling, call waiting, caller ID, online call recording, short dialing, return calls, and many more.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

N-1-1 Numbers for Accessing Special Services

N-1-1 codes are three digit phone numbers that are abbreviated for the purpose of quickly accessing special services within the US and Canada. These numbers does not start with 0 or 1. The first digit of these numbers usually starts from 2 to 9 and the last two digits are both 1’s. N-1-1 numbers can be used as a prefix for premium rate numbers (900) and toll free service numbers (800, 855, 866, 877 and 888) but are prohibited from being used as local area code for local numbers.

The N-1-1 convention results in 8 number possibilities:

Use for accessing community information, social and referral services which may cover the following: child care, counseling, credit request, donation, education, elderly programs, evacuation, financial assistance, health, homeless assistance, non-crisis, parenting, relief, volunteers and youth programs.

Mainly used for calling non-emergency government, municipal or police service or assistance. This N11 code is implemented for local level access wherein some cities may use it for other services. Some carrier services, like the AT&T UVerse, prevent subscribers from calling this number.

The directory assistance number which provides information like address or phone numbers requested by the caller.

The telephone hotline used for accessing information, news or conditions about traffic or transportation. It is also used by travelers as a travel guide or non-emergency assistance for police services.

A general customer service number intended to be used for reporting landline or wireless service problems.

Is a TRS (Telephone Relay Service), for the deaf, which convert a TDD (Telecommunication Device for the Deaf) signal to speech or vice-versa.

A “call before you dig” public utility service that provide digging or excavation services.

Used for calling emergency services such as police, fire or medical.