Archive for February, 2010

Plan Before You Leap

It is common knowledge that voice over IP allows businesses to save a bundle on their regular telephone expenses. In fact, some businesses operating on a hosted PBX VoIP platform, report savings upwards of nearly 80%, with the average amount of savings falling in the 40 – 60% range. A common misconception, however, is that there is no initial upfront investment required. While this is true for home users, who simply need to download a soft phone application and contact a VoIP residential service provider, business owners must pay extra attention to their unique requirements to ensure that they reap the best return from their IP telephony investment.

In order to ensure optimal quality, businesses must first make certain that their existing Internet connection maintains a speed and bandwidth rate capable of housing voice over IP requirements. Unlike home voice over IP users, a dial up Internet connection simply won’t suffice in the corporate world. Anything short of high speed cable Internet will lead to problems with voice quality and result in conversations resembling a garbled mess of unrecognizable data. Another important factor to bare in mind, is the dynamic capabilities of bandwidth allocation. While most recommend no less than 256 kbps, this may not be enough for businesses with multiple phone lines. The bandwidth must be sufficient enough to support both the upload and the download, while still having room left over for extra functions and operations. There are numerous programs available to test bandwidth capabilities.

For the majority of businesses, electing to continue utilizing existing hardware proves to be the most cost effective method of migrating to voice over IP. However, simply switching to a VoIP platform and expecting that regular analog phones to continue to work as usual will only lead to disappointment. Unlike conventional analog phone service, voice over IP relies on digital transmissions in order to send and receive voice communications. For all intents and purposes, continuing to use pre-existing telephony hardware for the functions of VoIP requires the purchase of special ATA adapters; technologically advanced devices designed to convert analog signals to data packets.

Since voice over IP is reliant upon an active network connection, in order to carry out it’s most basic functions, a strong network router proves to be a sound investment – particularly for businesses wishing to deploy wireless IP telephony. Routers often vary in price, ranging from $50 to several hundred. It is important to remember that the most expensive router is not always the best in terms of hardware. Investing in a high quality router not only aids in providing superior quality, but it also helps to ensure active network security. That being said, prior to the purchase of a network router, wireless or otherwise, make certain that the technical specifications are compatible with firewall software and other business network security credentials.

Businesses wishing to see the best return on their communications investment will take the time to research the options available to them. An experienced and qualified hosted voice over IP provider, like Nextiva, has the technical knowledge and expertise to assist consumers in making choices suitable for their business.

When considering voice over IP migration it is best not make a decision based solely on the amount of money that will be spent to implement the solution, but rather based on the overall return on investment offered. To learn more about the options available and to receive a quote for a new hosted phone system, visit

VoIP Brings Business Continuity Home

Even after decades of careful strategic planning and sound technological advancements, there are still businesses who refuse to see the benefits of VoIP simply because they feel the service will be unusable in the event of a disaster. With a hosted phone system from Nextiva, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

As a professional business, Nextiva understand the important of business continuity and disaster recovery planning. This is why they have undergone careful planning to ensure in the event that a disaster, VoIP communications service will still be available – even if your physical office location becomes inoperable or inaccessible.

Like most hosted solutions, in the event of a power outage or disaster, business callers will still be able to be routed to an employee or department and may leave voicemails as they choose. Employees of businesses deploying VoIP have complete access to their voicemail systems.

Business and toll-free calling numbers can instantly be re-routed to an alternate location should the occasion require it. It is possible to have any calls, on a Nextiva hosted system, forwarded if for any reason the main business phone number becomes non-functioning. All automated attendants, hunt groups, voice mail and email accounts etc, will continue to function, without the need for human interaction, should the physical office location become inoperable.

If in the event of a disaster, it is safe to enter and retrieve the business VoIP phone sets, it is possible to plug them in to any active Internet connection and continue to do business as usual. This makes it feasible for employees to work from home, so long as they maintain an active Internet connection and the bandwidth necessary to operate.

At no time will business clients be aware that employees are working from an alternate location, since they will hear the same greetings and have access to the same functions as always.

On a conventional telephony platform, business operation would come to a halt in the event of disaster. This is not true with a Nextiva hosted VoIP phone system. VoIP service provides the peace of mind that comes with knowing that business communications never collapse – even if the office building does.

VoIP Service Is Bringing Employees Together

There is something to be said about business owners who think proactively and choose to keep pace with technological advancements. Perhaps the greatest technological discovery of the past quarter century, as it pertains to business development, is the formation of the enterprise VoIP telephony model.

The most matured of all IP telephony, VoIP, strives to not only stabilize the cost associated with communications, but also to improve the way the corporate world operates and interacts. Channeling the basic operational functioning of the Internet to carry out various mediums of communication allows businesses to achieve a unified state, while reaping the immediate rewards of highly advanced, profitable tools and features.

Businesses failing to keep employees informed and connected seldom ever prosper. Productivity rates decline, employees become mentally fatigued and discouraged and customer service capabilities begin to weaken as a direct result of poor communications structures.

While it is true that the average American small business owner is unable to fiscally justify spending the thousands of dollars the local telephone company would charge, in order to utilize a state-of-the-art communications platform. The same cost restrictions do not apply to small businesses choosing to deploy a small business Voice over IP solution offered by Nextiva. Nextiva offers small to medium businesses access to a top-of-the-line calling system, much better than that of most Fortune 500 firms, for less than one would expect to pay for a burger and a plate of fries.

For a monthly fee as low as $8.95 small businesses can now keep employees constantly connected – anywhere, any time. Whether it is via IM, email, voicemail, or even mobile phone. VoIP goes where the business needs it to go. And a professional automated attendant is always online to ensure that clients are instantly routed to the departments or employees that they need to speak with as well.

The ability to keep employees connected not only benefits small community offices, but also businesses with multiple office locations (or several teleworkers) as each office can be affordably linked over one single active company network, or over any normal Internet network. No hassle. No hidden fees. Just one great employee connecting service.

What is Online Faxing?

Online faxing is also referred to as Internet fax, virtual fax, fax to email, digital fax, electronic fax, vfax, and much more! Simply, you will come across many variations of this popular technology service. Online fax converts traditional facsimile transmission into a digital file allowing faxes to be received and sent via email (electronically). There are many online fax service providers that offer reliable faxing service at cheap prices. Nearly every online fax provider on the market will provide users with a fax phone number when you join as a customer. The fax phone number you are assigned will convert your incoming and outgoing faxes to an electronic document that can be managed online via email or through the control panel provided by your online fax service provider.

If you are using a fax machine at home or at your office, you should consider online faxing. Nextiva vFAX is an award-winning fax solution and was recently awarded Product of the Year 2009 by Internet Telephony Magazine. NextivaFAX comes with a 30 day free-trial of Nextiva’s most popular online faxing service, the 500 page basic plan.

Business VoIP On The Go

Boost employee productivity and communications by providing employees on the go with mobile WiFi phones – without fear of the disapproval of the accounting department. Unlike cell phone plans offered by the local telephone company, mobile phones operating on a voice over IP platform aren’t subject to costly per-minute billing and expensive roaming charge.

Taking business VoIP telephony to the mobile sphere, not only allows the same cost advantages as regular VoIP calling, but it also provides mobile employees with quick and easy access to voicemail, email and fax and every other feature or function that would be made available if the employee were working from the actual office location.

With the addition of a corporate auto attendant feature, calls are able to be instantly and professionally routed to any mobile phone on the business network. By providing employees with mobile VoIP phones, they are proactively ensuring that business communications operate as normal, regardless of the employees physical location.

Mobile WiFi capable phones allow employees to treat their mobile as if it were a desk phone, without the obvious restrictions of having to be stationed at a desk. This allows employees to move freely about the building, or travel between locations, without having to worry about missed business opportunities or other important phone calls. A particularly beneficial tool in industries where employees are constantly on-the-go, such as healthcare, manufacturing or sales.

Due to the increased availability of WiFi hotspots and locations with easy access to wireless Internet, mobile VoIP is a viable solution for businesses requiring their employees to have access to a mobile phone, but not wanting to pay the outlandish fees and charges in place by traditional providers. Mobile VoIP eliminates roaming charges by allowing ‘local’ calling from any vicinity in the world, on a virtual front.

Mobile VoIP technology is available with the same complete and comprehensive set of features offered on all of Nextiva’s small business VoIP phone systems.

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Ink

Seasoned administration and business professionals know first hand the frustrations experienced when trying to send a fax the ‘traditional’ way. Between ink blots, paper jams, and completely unrecognizable transmissions, the potential challenges are horrendous. Couple the challenges with the possibility of a tied up phone line and something as simple as sending a fax message becomes a daunting and problematic task.

Stop wasting time crying over spilled ink. Businesses adopting the latest in IP telephony are disposing of their old, bulky fax machines in record numbers. By utilizing voice over IP technology to follow out their communications functions, businesses are now able to send and receive faxes virtually through an active Internet network. The practice of virtual faxing harnesses a technology similar to the one used when sending or receiving email, at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a stamp. In fact, businesses that regularly send long distance or overseas fax transmissions can expect to see significant fiscal savings. Unlimited virtual faxing service, from a reputable provider like Nextiva, is available for a flat rate monthly fee.

Prior to the introduction of virtual based faxing, recipients and senders were required to be in the same location as the fax machine hardware. When using a virtual faxing solution, users are able to send and receive faxes from any computer or data ready mobile phone within reach of either WiFi or a network connection.

Virtual online faxing capabilities are engineered to ensure that no fax message is ever missed, and that messages can appropriately be stored, archived or reviewed at a later date. Users are given the freedom to receive notification of new faxes as email messages, and in some cases even as voicemail messages. Since faxes are received digitally, they can easily be downloaded and saved to external drives, or catalogued for other purposes.

The money saved on infrastructure, on-going maintenance, and disposables far outweigh the costs. Contact your Nextiva representative today, to discuss how your business can have access to award winning vFAX business solutions for as little as $6.95.

How VoIP Combats Rising Fuel Charges

Most businesses who require their employees to travel frequently for important conferences and business meetings know first hand the effects of rising fuel prices. But many would never know the possibilities of reducing their fuel surcharge drastically by canceling their conventional telephone service, and migrating towards a small business VoIP phone system. Such as a Nextiva hosted phone system.

The correlation between voice over IP and fuel charges may seem like gibberish to even the most educated practitioner, but the formula is simple; frequent business travel between office locations not only consumes large amounts of time, it also results in hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars spent each year on fuel purchases. Advances in voice over IP and IP telephony eliminate the need to attend a conference in person. Therefore, the deployment of a voice over IP communications calling platform results in less money spent per year on fuel charges for interoffice business travel.

VoIP based web conferencing makes available the same standard features of a traditional business conference, while providing several state of the art tools and attributes, in a real-time virtual environment. The fundamental necessities of hosting or attending a VoIP web conference are minimal; so long as attendees are given access to an active Internet network, and have available a computer, a microphone, speakers and in some cases a web camera, they are able to vigorously participate in a web-based business meeting, without having to spend any time traveling between locations.

Utilizing IP telephony to hold a business conference offers many appealing and qualified elements, designed to achieve success – while reducing costs. Participants are given access to whiteboards, file and video sharing, unique presentation tools, and much more in an instantaneous real-time virtual environment. Due to the global availability of the Internet, any person from any geographical position, so long as they are in a location that maintains an active network connection.

Business that are experienced in the operations of VoIP based web conferences can attest to it’s unique capabilities in improving employee efficiency and productivity. Since there is no longer a need to spend any significant amount of time traveling between conference locations, and information and materials can be dispersed effortlessly, employee mental fatigue and stress rates are greatly reduced.

Unique web conference capabilities are just some of the ground breaking features available with a business VoIP solution.

Complete, Comprehensive Business Communications Services

The days of unreliable, unaffordable, hard to maintain corporate communications services are over. Thanks to technological advancements in IP telephony, small to medium businesses are now able to harness the same great features and functions as Fortune 500 companies – without breaking the bank.

Ground breaking and highly versatile features like toll-free numbers, hunt groups, call routing, corporate voicemail and automated attendants are now available, in one complete, comprehensive, small business essentials package for as little a $8.99 per month. Business VoIP, a sub component of IP telephony, is comprised of encrypted voice that is then transformed into minuscule data packets and then transported over the global information super highway.

There are many advantageous benefits associated with using the Internet to carry out business communications functions; the most noteworthy being cost. In an era where nearly every business and personal residence has constant access to affordable Internet service, the next logical step is to harness that ease of access and affordability to incorporate other functions – such as voice, data and video communications.
Unlike traditional telephony, using the VoIP to execute communications functions does not require pricey copper wires or sizeable physical based infrastructure in order to reach optimal functioning. The majority of the necessary mechanics are housed and maintained at the VoIP service providers corporate office location and then virtually accessed by the business user for a monthly, or yearly flat rate, through their existing Internet network.

Since the requirements of ongoing hardware maintenance and support are shifted to the service provider, businesses need not worry about contracting high-priced, specially trained technicians. Thereby enabling them to disperse money that would have previously been budgeted for such functions to other areas of the business.

An even greater advantage to not having to employ or contract specially trained service technicians, is the freedom to communicate in several different mediums, without having to worry about long distance or International surcharges. Voice over IP provides the small to medium business market with unlimited domestic and International calling – a business improving service that the local telephone company would never offer; or would only offer for a pre determine costly fee as part of a contractual agreement.

Business users deploying the complete, comprehensive communications packages that only voice over IP telephony can offer, report a yearly fiscal savings of nearly 80% on their regular communications services. Which can result to thousands of newly recovered funds to be dispersed amongst other departments, or used for continuous business improvements.

Frequently Asked Business VoIP Questions

About Nextiva Award-Winning VoIP PBX Phone Service:

What is VoIP?

VoIP is the technology that makes Nextiva’s service work. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP enables the transmission of voice date over the Internet using an adapter, which we provide all of our users with for free. Due to the fact we use the Internet rather than a traditional phone network, we provide our users with the highest-quality phone service along with powerful features at a low cost.

Can I change my Nextiva phone number?

Of course. You may change your Nextiva phone number at anytime. If you wish do so, please contact our customer support.

Am I required to have a Broadband Internet Connection in order to use Nextiva?

Yes. In order to use Nextiva phone service you must have a high-speed Internet connection. Both DSL and Cable Internet work perfectly with our service.

Do I speak through my computer in order to use your service?

No. Nextiva’s phone service operates independently of the computer. All you will need is a high-speed Internet connection in order to use our service. Nextiva is easy to install and once it has been installed; all you will need to do is pick up the handset and talk as you normally would.

Can I use my computer and talk on the phone at the same time?

Yes. Nextiva’s phone service works independently of your computer, so you can make and receive calls while surfing the Web.

How does the sound quality compare to my current phone?

You’ll find the quality is typically better than a cell phone and usually as good as a landline. You may experience some hiccups in sound quality if your broadband connection is running slowly or if your bandwidth is stretched with additional data (sending or receiving files from your PC at the same time). Three-way calling may also cause some disruptions if your modem speed is not at least 180 kbps.

Installation of Nextiva of VoIP service:

How easy is it to install Nextiva phone service?

Installing our phone service is very simple. If you have a cable modem attached to either your computer or a router, you can have Nextiva phone service up and running in about 10 minutes. If you’re installing Nextiva phone service using DSL or have special requirements, your installation may involve a few added steps, but it is still relatively easy. If you have any questions or difficulties, you can always get help by contacting customer support.

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