“Cloud” is a buzzword that vaguely suggests being able to access files from anywhere. But the reality is that the Cloud is hardly floating like mist above our heads — it’s a physical infrastructure. It’s many computers housed in massive warehouses all over the world. And yet as long as it’s easy to read email on our phones and watch movies on our laptops, we generally don’t take the time to wonder where our data actually goes, how it gets there, and what happens to it on its way.
Cloud computing basically refers to a process of sharing resources to optimize performance. Practically speaking, that means using a network of computers to store and process information, rather than a single machine.
Cyber-prophets of days gone forecast that the future would enable the whole world to share resources. Engineers started using a drawing of a cloud to refer to this network in patent drawings in the mid-90s. Compaq engineers coined the term “cloud computing” in late 1996, and less than a year later, Steve Jobs described a proto-iCloud where you store your files one place and can access them from any device.
Fast forward to the Smartphone era, and it’s easy to forget when you had to burn CDs and tote around external hard drives. Now you start watching a movie on your laptop, switch to your tablet, and finish it on your phone without missing a scene.
The applications of Cloud computing tend to revolve around one key feature: storage. When you store something “in the Cloud,” you’re actually storing it in a very physical space. That file slides across the wire and then lives on a physical server—usually more than one—in some far-flung place. And depending on which cloud storage service you use, that file is now in the possession of a giant corporation to whom you probably pay a monthly fee. Anybody who’s ever used Dropbox knows that this makes it incredibly convenient to access files or to share files from any computer with an internet connection.
Hosted VOIP is phone system that is based in “the Cloud.” Businesses love hosted VOIP phone systems because other than the handsets, on-site phone equipment and wiring is not required. The hosted VoIP provider takes care of all the hardware in a secure data center. With hosted VOIP, no one has to wire your office for phones, and you don't have to worry about on-site maintenance of your phone system.
With the Cloud, you don’t need to worry as much about hardware specifications of your devices, like RAM or hard drive space, because the network can do the heavy lifting. By distributing the workload across lots of powerful servers, web-based applications can run more dependably and efficiently. These servers are constantly updating, and those web apps more or less always work. If one server crashes, there are others to pick up the slack. In the industry, this is called redundancy. In real-life terms, it is called reliability.
The only thing you need is a quality broadband/internet connection and the phone handsets your employees will use.
IP Phones are special telephones which look and work like normal telephone but they connect directly to your Internet connection without the use of an ATA device (to convert analog signals to digital signals). An IP Phone plugs directly into your Internet router and comes in both wireless and corded models. Business VoIP users generally opt for IP Phones because they have special buttons which allow calls to be transferred, put on hold and have multiple lines.
VOIP phone calls require 32 Kbps of sustained bandwidth. Unfortunately, dial-up Internet connections are not fast enough for VOIP. If you are unsure if your current bandwidth is enough, an online bandwidth tester will give you your current bandwidth, or you can ask Simplicity VOIP to check your broadband connection. Sufficient bandwidth ensures that VOIP call quality equals or exceeds the call quality on traditional phone lines.
VOIP is not designed for satellite Internet service. Conversations are generally clear and audible, but because of the inherent delay in satellite Internet service the participants in a conversation will experience pauses between speaking and having the other person hear what was said. It takes nearly half a second for the signal to be received by the satellite and another half a second for the signal to be transmitted back to the ground. Therefore it takes at least one second for the person on the other end of the conversation to hear what you said. The end result is similar to a conversation using a walkie-talkie.For normal VoIP telephone conversations a DSL or cable connection or faster is ideal. VoIP with satellite Internet will still work but you will need to accept a much slower-paced conversation than you are used to.
No. With most VOIP service providers, you do not need a computer to use VOIP. You can just use the phone. You do need a computer if you are going to be using a softphone — because a softphone uses your computer as a phone. You will also need a computer if you are going to use a portal to manage your account online. That's easier to do with a computer.
Absolutely. With VOIP, you can use your computer, be online, and use your phone all at the same time.
You can carry your existing phone number over to your new VOIP provider(there are very, very rare circumstances in which you can’t, but we haven’t come across it yet). If you want to keep using your old number, ask us about the process for porting (moving) it over rather than starting with a new number.
One of the great benefits of VOIP is that you can have a telephone number assigned to you in an area code where you do not live or work. Businesses often want to have a local presence in many different cities with a local phone number for customers to call. Business VOIP service allows a customer to call that local number which can be answered by the company anywhere in the country. Residential customers get virtual telephone numbers in local cities so that friends and family can call them without incurring long distance charges.
While in the past there were issues, call quality has improved with VOIP and is now as good as or better than call quality on a land line. Most call quality issues are caused by network connectivity issues which have been solved by improved by better, faster Internet networks. This means that calls sound clearer.
The time it takes a voice packet to reach its destination is called Latency. Latency is measured in thousandths of a second or milliseconds (ms). Latency of 150ms is barely noticeable and generally acceptable. Latency higher than 150ms adversely affects VOIP QoS, while latency higher than 300ms is generally unacceptable.
Jitter measures the variation in the arrival time of those individual packets making their way along various routes over the Internet. Jitter can be caused by Internet congestion, timing drift, or Internet route changes. Jitter is measured in milliseconds (ms)—thousandths of a second. Jitter greater than 50ms can result in packet loss and degraded voice quality.
Packet | Data Loss
Packets are sent over the Internet and reassembled at their destination. Packet loss occurs when some packets are dropped by congested network routers or switches, or discarded by the jitter buffer. If you miss one out of every 10 words, or 10 words all at once, chances are you won’t understand the conversation.
One of the most popular features about Simplicity VOIP is its portability. If your business relocates, you can easily take your computers and handsets to your new location and start using them as soon as broadband is connected.