Converged network, those that provide voice along side data, have been around for a long time now. So long that they’ve evolved a few times over. It used to be that technologies were developed to allow data to ride on top of voice networks – think fax, dial-up modems & ADSL. Then later voice to be managed on the data network – think VoIP & Skype. And now in its newest iteration of it doesn’t matter – just plug it in.
The latest incarnation is the cloud hosted voice services. In this era its no longer about slow or low quality transmissions, nor is it about expensive gear, proprietary systems and complicated networking. Now its only about getting connected – give me an IP address and a gateway and you’ll get a feature rich high quality telephone service for your home or you international enterprise.
Bugs Byte has supported enterprise VoIP solutions from Cisco UCS and ShoreTel. However these solutions are out of reach for many of today’s small business. However the VoIP solutions making headlines today will scale very well to the enterprise, the corporations entrenched in these high end solutions have enjoyed reliable and uninterrupted voice service for a long time on their platforms. In the mean time hosted VoIP will continue to dominate in the SMB space until they’re proven to scale and enterprises begin to trim their voice and telco budgets.
8×8 provides hosted VoIP service to desk sets as well as soft-phones for computes and mobile devices. The solution is resold by many value added re-sellers around the world for a full service solution. However, it can also be setup and managed by a companies IT staff. 8×8 is a very cost competitive solutions however is not as well marketed to the retail consumer as its competition on account of the channel programs offered to its re-sellers.
In our experience we’ve found 8×8 to have a more reliable product and the best support. The management portals and features will allow self-service administration for any situation – but the interface is not intuitive enough for someone that isn’t routinely working in the portals. While the interface is not very intuitive – neither is that of its competition. So compared to par, its better than most.
See upcoming posts for RingCentral & MegaPath in future posts.
We’d like to evaluate solutions from Vonage, Meraki and Ubiquiti if we can get demos from them.