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Remote working and phones

VoIP phone issues anyone?

Didn't find your answer?

Hi,

Firstly apologies if this has already been discussed, but I was interested to find out what solutions you had in place for calls when working remotely.

We have VoIP phones (basically making and receiving calls from our laptop over the internet) but we find it to be so temperamental. Cutting out, sound quality, technical issues.

I was interested to know if anyone else had the same experience with VoIP phones, and if there were other solutions such as routing calls from a central line to hunt groups & mobiles.

The more I trype the more I think this is a question for Carphone warehouse! So apologies.

Thanks

Adrian

Replies (24)

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By Wanderer
27th Oct 2020 14:02

Probably depends on your Internet provider and your VOIP provider.

We've used voipfone.co.uk in conjunction with PlusNet for years. Couldn't be happier. Call quality better than BT's, don't experience the issues you have and phone costs are 10% of what we used to pay to BT. Moving offices / working from home is a doddle.

Slight difference to your set up is we have proper VOIP phones rather than trying to do it via a PC etc.

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By Mr_awol
27th Oct 2020 14:46

Ive avoided VOIP on the basis that:
- I find it horrible to phone people who are using it.
- It costs a lot more than our current analogue system.

On the quality aspect, arguably I may be phoning loads of people who use it, and not realise. In that case maybe it isn't so bad after all. The ones I get problems with though are professional services firms who I wouldn't expect to be using the bargain basement set-up.

On the cost, god knows what people were paying for phone lines before if they are saving money this way. Last time I looked into VOIP (last year) it was going to cost 3-4 times our current monthly outlay, excluding not insignificant capital costs. Shame as I was quite keen but it just didn't make sense financially.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By Wanderer
27th Oct 2020 14:51

Our experience is diametrically opposite to yours.
As to costs:-
Final year of BT we were charged £1,250
Last year's voipfone charges were £130

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Replying to Wanderer:
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By Mr_awol
27th Oct 2020 15:48

Wanderer wrote:

Our experience is diametrically opposite to yours.
As to costs:-
Final year of BT we were charged £1,250
Last year's voipfone charges were £130

When I looked at it the call charges were over 25% less than our current call costs. The problem was the fixed monthly cost being so much more, partly because we pay a pittance currently. If we went PAYG with Voipfone then arguably we might be able to save £50 per month but is it really worth it, especially considering we would have capital outlay, setup costs, etc.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By Wanderer
27th Oct 2020 16:44

Dunno which provider you were looking at however Voipfone fixed monthly costs are:-
£3 per telephone NUMBER (yes that's per number with unlimited number of lines!)
£1 per extention.

Think you'd struggle to find anything comparable. We made massive savings because BT charged per line, Voipfone don't, they just charge per number.

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Replying to Wanderer:
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By Mr_awol
27th Oct 2020 22:13

We currently have (in our main office) 20 incoming lines/numbers. Rental is c£100 pcm and calls are another £100.

For VOIP we were quoted £350 pa for 3cx/call handling licence, £200 pcm monthly charges for extensions/SIP and then calls on top.

Total annual cost would be c£3500 vs c£2500. Not a huge cost but with a further £3k in capital costs and set up, we jacked the idea and instead spent a couple of hundred on PAYG mobiles for ten staff (the rest have company mobiles anyway). The homeworkers without company mobiles accept incoming calls on the PAYG handsets.

It does sound like we either over-scoped our VOIP quote or the provider tried to turn us inside out on the deal.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By Wanderer
28th Oct 2020 07:24

Mr_awol wrote:

We currently have (in our main office) 20 incoming lines/numbers. ......

....... For VOIP we were quoted £350 pa for 3cx/call handling licence, £200 pcm monthly charges for extensions/SIP .....

Rental with voipfone.co.uk would be £23 per month, so £276 per annum compared with the £2,750 you were quoted!
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Replying to Wanderer:
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By Mr_awol
28th Oct 2020 10:45

Wanderer wrote:

Mr_awol wrote:

We currently have (in our main office) 20 incoming lines/numbers. ......

....... For VOIP we were quoted £350 pa for 3cx/call handling licence, £200 pcm monthly charges for extensions/SIP .....

Rental with voipfone.co.uk would be £23 per month, so £276 per annum compared with the £2,750 you were quoted!

On the face of it, although their pricing is a bit confusing. A basic £1/month package appears to miss PBX, internal extensions and voicemails, etc that we would want - but most of that can be added for '£1 per month' (not sure if per user etc or £1 overall). If that's the case, then the £20/user/month unlimited option seems to be based mainly around £19 worth of call charges, which we wouldn't need.

I think i may well drop them an email with our original quote and get them to compare like for like - thanks.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By Wanderer
29th Oct 2020 10:16

Mr_awol wrote:

On the face of it, although their pricing is a bit confusing.

Once you understand it you'll find that it's the clearest pricing that you will ever see.
Mr_awol wrote:
A basic £1/month package appears to miss PBX, internal extensions, voicemails ....
That's all included.
https://www.voipfone.co.uk/packages/pay-as-you-go
£3 for a geographical number (unlimited lines).
£1 per extention.
It really is that simple.

Personally i wouldn't bother buying a call package. We hardly make any calls nowadays, 99% is e-mail.

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By OldParkAcct
27th Oct 2020 14:52

Have been using Voipfone for 4 years, has been fine either at the office or home. I think much depends on your internet reliability and the quality of the phone you are using.

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By Cloudcounter
27th Oct 2020 15:00

I'd second what Wanderer has said in terms of quality and costs.

We too signed up with Voipfone 8 years ago, and invested in proper telephones. The service has been first rate and we've never had any significant issues with call quality. (And of course issues could be our end or the other end.) If we wanted to work from home, unplug the office phone and plug it in at home. Nobody who has ever spoken to me at home realised that I wasn't in the office unless I told them.

I suspect that trying to use computer softphones in place of dedicated handsets might lead to issues

Costs would typically be £8 per month for the land line number and six extensions. For calls typically less than £20 per month, but obviously that is very business specific. Plus the broadband costs as well.

One of the best decisions that I have ever made.

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Adrian Smart
By Adrian Smart
27th Oct 2020 15:08

So much does depend on the quality of your broadband I think, but we're connecting to the office via VPN (for security apparently) which doesn't help as you have that added hindrance and risk of fault.

We are pay an extortionate amount (before soft phones over VoIP) so that is a factor, but really I just want a solution that allow staff to work independently from a landline/handset, but for it to be reliable more than anything else.

I appreciate calls over a laptop will never be perfect, but we want to get rid of the embarrassment of a bad connection and losing calls completely, as we are now.

I think a good broadband connection and a decent recommendation may be the answer.

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Replying to Adrian Smart:
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By Wanderer
27th Oct 2020 15:17

Adrian Smart wrote:

I think a good broadband connection and a decent recommendation may be the answer.


Get some proper VOIP handsets, not soft phones. We use handsets from the Snom range:-
https://www.voipfone.co.uk/shop.php?method=category&pid=1

Why not set up a trial account with Voipfone and buy one handset, £45 is a small monetary investment and, hopefully will supply your answer.

A further great service if you buy the phones from Voipfone is that they pre-configure the handsets, so they really do become plug & play.

They are also real people who you can talk to, I've e-mailed support out of office hours and had a reply back within minutes.

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Replying to Wanderer:
Adrian Smart
By Adrian Smart
27th Oct 2020 15:24

That's another challenge I didn't mention. Staff have an office set up but do not have an Ethernet port in that location, hence why we went t soft phones in the first place

The handset itself is fast becoming the golden ticket!

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Replying to Adrian Smart:
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By Wanderer
27th Oct 2020 15:31

We had that issue, bought a fairly cheap WiFi repeater which had an ethernet port. Worked a treat!

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Replying to Adrian Smart:
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By Cloudcounter
27th Oct 2020 15:32

Presumably that means that they are connected wirelessly and cannot reach the ethernet port on the router.

In that case Home Plugs adapters would probably solve the issue.

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By nippy1
27th Oct 2020 15:21

Another positive vote for Voipfone- significantly cheaper than BT and very helpful service. We have proper phones from VOIP and don;t use many features but the quality seems fine.

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ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
27th Oct 2020 21:37

We have a VoIP phone from Telcom - I pay c£12 handset rental pcm & c£5pcm calls.
During lockdown, the phone went home with the junior and I bought a couple of £10 mobile phones from Amazon, PAYG SIMs from GiffGaff and set up an autoforward to both mobiles. We’re staggering time in the office, so the phone stays there, the junior and I each have one of the mobiles at home.

All works perfectly.

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By SXGuy
28th Oct 2020 07:28

I use voipfone and bt cloud phone. Routing to a real phone is great. Gives a clear voice. Routing to a mobile app is OK but does depend on WiFi signal strength. Voipfone is definitely cheaper compared to others.

The reason I switched was when my business moved areas I needed to take my number with me, because I moved outside the area code I had to migrate my number to a voip service because there is no other way to do it. For that reason alone voip has been a god send.

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Adrian Smart
By Adrian Smart
28th Oct 2020 09:05

Thanks for all the replies, it really does help to know what everyone else is doing.

I think I'll stick with VOIP, but a cordless handset to give staff the freedom to roam the house and garden!

Just to add we also need to port our number. Will definitely look at voipfone

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Replying to Adrian Smart:
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By gphemy
28th Oct 2020 10:52

You might like to take a look at the telephony offerings from www.AAISP.net which is a small but capable and responsive firm in Bracknell. Aside from the usual VOIP service, they have SIP2SIM, which is a SIM card for a normal mobile phone, turning it into a VOIP handset. While I don't use AAISP's VOIP service, I do use their SIP2SIM with my existing VOIP provider. I can take my office phone wherever I want to receive calls, and make calls with the landline number showing at the other end.
https://www.aa.net.uk/voice-and-mobile/voip-information/
https://www.aa.net.uk/voice-and-mobile/sip2sim/

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By davexyz
29th Oct 2020 09:59

We use Voipfone and cannot fault them We moved about ten year ago we had BT and the costs were astronomical for multiple lines. Now DECT phones are another matter How can I put it they seem to "wear" out and the call quality drops off probably the internal aerials fail. We have change the actual phones at least 3 times in the same period

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Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
29th Oct 2020 10:00

I use Soho66 and a proper Grandstream VOIP phone (that I bought outright). I use it basically so that I can have a separate business phone number (I have a home office). It hardly gets used (I tend to use my mobile), so the costs aren't too high.

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Elliott Chandler Picture
By elliottchandler
01st Nov 2020 20:51

I'd like to add that VoIP or voice over the internet can still be such a variable experience. We have been let down by many providers over the years however the future looks very different. We are migrating to Microsoft Teams Business Voice this week from our current Hosted Voice System. We have been testing Microsoft Teams internally for many months and also some external calls. We have tested the PC app, the mobile app and certified Teams desk phones and we are now satisfied with the quality. Yes solid reliable connections are paramount so that cannot be forgotten. However with the integration that comes with Microsoft Teams to all the other apps it really cannot be ignored.

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