For a small to medium sized business (SMB), hosted PBX offers many advantages. To make the best use of hosted PBX, it is important to follow a few best practices in installation and deployment. Following are some important points to consider:
- Data/voice network configuration
- VoIP phone specifications
- Voice and data security
- Local call handling
- Backup power for outages
- Employee training
Data/voice network configuration
The typical office already has a local area network (LAN) that connects the computers and other network devices to the Internet. To add hosted PBX to this network, users can connect VoIP phones to the LAN, which uses a switch to route calls between the system and the VoIP phones.
VoIP phone specifications
The VoIP phones should be configured to work with the hosted PBX service. In most cases these phones will connect to an existing LAN, and then desktop computers or other devices can connect to the network through ports on the VoIP phone.
Voice and data security
When using an existing Internet connection for hosted PBX, voice calls are handled over the same network as existing data traffic. It may make sense to consider a dedicated Internet connection for voice, or using a connection supplied by your PBX host. This will provide a more consistent and secure network connection for the hosted PBX.
Local call handling
Calls made between phones within an office do not require use of the Internet. These calls can be routed between phones using the company LAN. Make sure the hosted PBX system provides the capability to route internal calls over the LAN and not over the Internet.
Backup power for outages
Most systems also allow use of a backup PSTN or FAX line, in case connection to the Internet is not available. It is important to maintain this one traditional phone line in case of a network outage.
Handling power outages is an important consideration. Some systems support power over Ethernet (PoE), which enables phones to stay active in a power outage. With this capability, the other requirement would be to provide emergency power to the LAN network equipment.
After installation and deployment, training is an important part of managing the hosted PBX system. All hosted PBX providers offer training, ranging from formal classroom training for support personnel, to online courses that employees can take according to their own schedule. These courses are important to make sure that the hosted PBX is properly installed and maintained. Properly trained employees will make it possible to take advantage of all the benefits of a hosted PBX system.