As businesses and organizations continue to look for replacement options for their aging telephone systems, a question that comes up often is; what is a hosted phone system?

A hosted phone system is delivered from the internet using Voice over IP technology.

These systems offer call routing, automated greetings, voicemail, conference calling, call recording, and many other features you are familiar with on your current phone system.  Hosted systems piggy-back on your data network and typically do not require equipment to be installed onsite, other than the physical phones.  The system is provided with a monthly per user op-ex pricing model that can range from $20-$50 per user per month, depending on the features and provider.

There are 2 components to every seat of a hosted license.  The first is the hosted phone seat.  This is simply the license that attaches a user to the system and will dictate the feature set available to the user.  The second component is the call path or “trunk.”  This will replace the phone service from your current carrier.  Hosted systems rely solely on Cloud-based SIP trunks instead of more traditional analog or digital phone service provided by carriers like Verizon and AT&T.   This call path is delivered completely over the internet.  If the network goes down in your office, then the phones do not ring.

A successful implementation of a Hosted system requires careful planning and execution.  There are several items to consider before you sign up.  Since hosted systems rely on a data network for connectivity, there may be required upgrades.  A new firewall may be required to support the configuration for the phone system to communicate with the cloud service.  The physical phones require power over ethernet and could require the purchase of a compatible switch. Companies should choose from one of many failover options to ensure the phones stay connected and ringing.  Expert planning must also take place when porting your phone numbers from your current carrier to the new hosted carrier.  Mistakes made during the porting process could result in losing your business’s phone number.

When implemented properly, a hosted phone system is a great option for many businesses;  the low upfront investment, full feature set, and Op-Ex pricing model make this an attractive

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