Hosted PBX FAQ

Hosted PBX FAQ

What is a hosted PBX?

A PBX, or Private Branch Exchange, is an office telephone system that provides your business with telephone features like call transfer, call hold, call-park, call waiting, auto-attendant and voicemail.

A Hosted service means that we host the phone system in our facilities and you do not need to buy an expensive on-premise PBX. GlobalPhone’s business-grade PBX service provides local, long distance and international calling and standard business PBX features. It offers your organization a one-stop, fully functional, low-cost enterprise voice solution that replaces costly traditional telephone carriers and PBX vendors.

How does Hosted PBX service work?

Hosted PBX is based on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a method by which voice is digitized and transmitted in digital packets rather than using traditional copper phone lines of the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The entire telephone network throughout the world is slowly converting to VoIP.

Every VOIP telephone has a unique IP Address. Thus Hosted PBX translates the public phone network to an IP address. When a phone number is dialed, the Hosted PBX switch looks up the IP address and delivers the call to the VOIP telephone.

What are the benefits of using Hosted PBX?

Hosted PBX provides great features and easy install and management. These benefits include:

  • Easy installation – phones plug into your existing Local Area Network (LAN)
  • Easy expansion – just add phones without more PBX hardware or upgrades
  • Low capital expenditure – purchase only phones, not an expensive PBX system
  • Free moves, adds, changes or self-service – no need for a PBX expert
  • Location independence – you can use the same PBX across multiple sites
  • Telecommuting for remote workers and home offices
  • Portability- move your phones to a new office without hassle
  • Enhanced features – voicemail to email, simultaneous ring to cell phones etc.
  • One-stop service for local, long distance and PBX

What uptime guarantees do you provide?

GlobalPhone provides 99.9% up time and offers downtime credits. GlobalPhone is not responsible for incidents beyond its control, such as failure in the customer’s LAN or customer’s ISP. GlobalPhone Hosted PBX is a redundant, carrier-grade system offering the same or better reliability as your traditional phone company.

Our Hosted PBX system quality begins with the implementation of the Broadsoft switching platform, also used by major carriers like ATT and Verizon. Our Hosted PBX system is built with redundant network servers and redundant internet and power in a hardened, carrier quality co-location facility. We then increased our redundancy by creating two separate switching centers that are fully redundant and mirrored, so that any natural disaster at one site will not bring our hosted PBX system down.

What phones does GlobalPhone support?

We support Cisco, Polycom, Yealink, Aastra, Grandstream VoIP phones and Counterpath softphones. Any analog or cordless phone can also be supported using an analog telephone adapter. See our entire phone selection on our website.

Do I “own” my number?

Yes. FCC local number portability (LNP) regulations allow you to move your cell or landline phone number to any provider. In certain cases, you may need to provide proof of ownership by producing a phone bill with your company name and address on it.

Can I use my existing internet service?

Yes. We do not require that you buy dedicated internet service from GlobalPhone. We guarantee high voice quality over third party internet service providers (ISP) with proper pre-installation testing and the installation of an Edgemarc router. We support Cable, DSL, FIOS, and any other high speed fiber connection. We do not guarantee good voice quality on wireless internet or satellite internet.

What is SIP?

SIP is the acronym for Session Initiated Protocol standard, a VoIP protocol standard. It is widely adopted as the preferred industry standard by phone and switch manufacturers and is used by GlobalPhone.

Can I use my cell phone as an extension on the network?

Yes. We call this an off-network extension which allows you to dial an extension to reach the user’s cell phone. The employee is included in the auto-attendant dial by name directory. The cell phone user can also transfer calls back to the PBX. If the user has a VoIP desk phone, the calls can ring at both the cell phone and the desk phone.

What is the installation process?

  • Quote is signed by customer and accepted
  • Customer completes a site survey questionnaire and internet speed test
  • Customer provides a list of extensions, names, emails and auto-attendant script
  • Customer signs Letter of Agency to port numbers (can occur after install as well)
  • Globalphone customizes the PBX to meet customers requirements.
  • Phones are drop shipped from the warehouse
  • Edgemarc router is pre-programmed for the customer network and shipped.
  • Install time is scheduled with tech support
  • Customer installs router with remote tech support help and un-boxes and installs phones.
  • GlobalPhone provides admin and end-user training via web conference at customer’s convenience

How much internet bandwidth do I need?

We allocate approximately 80KBPS for each concurrent phone call, using the highest voice quality codec G711. So if you need five concurrent phone calls, you will need around 400KBPS (80×5). DSL is typically 1.5MBPS down and 768KBPS up and thus can easily handle five calls.

Phone calls create two-way traffic, so the slower uplink speed (i.e.768KBPS) is the governing factor. If there are bandwidth limitations, we can change the compression to G729 and consume only 30KBPS per call. To guarantee perfect voice quality in all traffic conditions, GlobalPhone installs an Edgemarc call quality router which prioritizes voice traffic over data and prevents the data traffic from degrading the voice.

How do you compare with residential VoIP services like Vonage?

Residential providers do not offer the advanced business PBX features such hunt groups, call transfer, music on-hold and auto-attendant and do not customize to meet your business needs. They provide calling connectivity typically through the use of locked analog telephone adapters (ATAs) instead of business grade IP phones.

Is installation free?

Installation is free, with the exception of phone number setup charges which are $10 for each number.

How are minutes used, and how much do they cost?

Seats are offered with various free minute plans including 0, 500, 1000 and unlimited. All inbound and outbound calls to toll and toll free numbers within the US and Canada are included in the free minute plans, except for calls to Alaska and Yukon.

The minutes are pooled, so you don’t need to worry about which seat is using the minutes. Plans may be mixed and matched to obtain the optimal amount of free minutes. The unlimited plans are not offered to call centers or companies using autodialers. For the purpose of defining a call center, we allocate 2,500 minutes per seat on “unlimited” plans. Minutes exceeding the plan are billed at $0.03 per minute.

How do I cancel my service with Globalphone?

Call or send an email to support@gphone.com letting us know you are cancelling or moving service to another provider. We will work to ensure a smooth transition. The full charges during the month of cancellation are payable. We do not prorate partial months on cancellation.

Do I have to buy the phones from GlobalPhone?

No. You can buy phones from other distributors. However, our pricing is equal or better than most internet web-sites. We recommend that you purchase phones from GlobalPhone to ensure the correct models are ordered and to guarantee timely delivery and implementation.

Can I use a cordless phone?

Yes, we offer analog phone adapters (e.g. Linksys PAP2T) that allow you to connect any analog or cordless phone to the PBX. We also support portable wi-fi phones, however the cost, battery life and range are inferior to traditional DECT cordless phones.

I have a firewall. How would it work with Hosted PBX?

Our service does Network Address Translation (NAT) and can deliver calls to private IP addresses behind firewalls. We operate with existing firewalls and can configure the Edgemarc router to co-exist with your firewall. The Edgemarc router is also a certified firewall and can replace most firewalls if so desired. Consult with our network engineers to determine the best configuration.

Do you provide fax service?

GlobalPhone provides fax-to-email service (online faxing). This allows faxes to be delivered to your email account as PDF attachments. It is advantageous because it makes it easy to save a fax disk, forward it, print it, or create an automatic distribution list. For sending outbound faxes, the fax document must be in your computer, otherwise you will need to scan it first.

VoIP protocol is incompatible with fax protocol and traditional fax machines cannot operate reliably with a VoIP using an analog telephone adapter (ATA). If you send a lot of outbound faxes and require a traditional machine, we recommend you retain a copper phone line from your traditional telephone company.

Can I use my existing VoIP phones?

Yes, we often switch customers from other service providers or PBX systems and re-use the existing phones, as long as they are the supported VoIP phones, i.e. Polycom, Cisco, Linksys, Aastra or Counterpath.

How does GlobalPhone differ from its competition?

GlobalPhone has provided services since 1995 and is a profitable, privately held company not dependant on venture capital. Our Hosted PBX quality and reliability begins with the implementation of the Broadsoft switching platform. It is a carrier grade switching system used by major carriers like ATT and Verizon and it is professionally supported. Our Hosted PBX system is built with redundant network servers and redundant internet and power in professional computer co-location facilities.

We then increased our redundancy by creating two separate switching centers that are fully redundant and mirrored, so that any natural disaster at one site will not bring our hosted PBX system down. The hosted PBX phone network runs on Level3, a multi-billion dollar backbone carrier. Our technicians test and engineer the last mile of your VOIP network and install QOS routers to ensure perfect voice quality.

Can I keep my existing phone numbers?

Yes, we can port any existing phone number or 800 number to our network when you sign a letter of Agency (LOA) that authorizes the move. It takes, on average, five to ten business days to move a number. There is a $10 porting fee per number.

We can port numbers in all lower 48 states, except for certain rural areas. Use the Service Availability tool on our website to determine if your number is available to port. Customers can call forward the number to our service while the port is pending.

What are the payment options?

GlobalPhone accepts credit card payment or checks for all equipment purchases. Monthly recurring fees may be paid by credit card or by invoice if the customer has a good credit history.

Can I have a test account or a trial period?

We offer an unconditional money back guarantee during the first 30 days of service and will waive all charges and refund equipment expenditures.

Do you deliver Voicemail to Email?

Yes. In addition to retrieving voicemail from your phone, or by dialing into a voicemail number, voicemail messages are delivered as .WAV audio file attachments to your email, at no additional charge. By clicking on the file, you can listen to the message with your computer speakers. There is also an option to automatically transcribe voicemail to text and deliver it via email.

How do you guarantee high voice quality?

GlobalPhone guarantees your voice quality will be equal or better than a traditional network. Prior to installation, GlobalPhone performs VoIP traffic engineering on a per-customer basis. After the analysis, we may require you to upgrade your bandwidth, resolve a problem on your local network or install a router that prioritizes voice before data.

GlobalPhone transmits over a managed IP network using the Level3 backbone. This network is engineered for voice traffic and prioritizes voice over data, so that your voice quality never degrades. In addition, we install an Edgemarc router which prioritizes voice over data so data traffic cannot degrade the voice quality.

Are your phones locked or unlocked?

Our phones are unlocked, commercially available VoIP phones that can be moved to any other service provider. Certain providers (e.g. Vonage, Packet8) lock their phones so you cannot switch to a competitor without buying new phones.

What commitment contract terms does GlobalPhone require?

GlobalPhone contracts are month to month. You may cancel during any month. We offer an unconditional money back guarantee during the first 30 days of service and will waive all charges and refund equipment expenditures. There are no restrictions on increasing or decreasing seats and it does not extend the contract term.

Can I record my own music-on-hold or auto-attendant greetings?

Yes, you can upload any recorded greeting or music on hold, or you can call in to the voice portal to record new auto-attendant greetings on an ad-hoc basis. If you have audio file from your old PBX, you can transfer it. GlobalPhone will record your custom auto-attendant greeting during the installation free of charge and will install a generic, royalty free music-on-hold.

How long will it take my company to get up and running on Hosted PBX?

VoIP Phones can be shipped overnight and PBX service established in one day in emergency circumstances. However, the typical installation takes around a week, which is the time necessary to deliver phones via Fedex-Express ground, schedule an install, configure and train.

What kind of savings can my company expect with Hosted PBX?

Savings can be as high as 50% over your existing services. These savings are achieved by:

  • Low capital expenditure – purchase only commodity phones, not a PBX system.
  • Lower circuit costs – your voice and data can share your broadband internet connection
  • Lower monthly fees and free minutes compared to traditional telcos.
  • Lower management costs – moves, adds changes are free.

Can I use your service with my existing PBX?

Yes, GlobalPhone can add VoIP SIP trunks to your existing PBX and mix and match hosted phones with your PBX. This is often the case where a company owns a perfectly good PBX at their headquarters but has expanded to remote offices and remote workers.

The remote sites will receive hosted phones. This will permit extension dialing between the traditional PBX and the hosted phones, and combine all extensions under a single, hosted auto-attendant.

Does GlobalPhone provide local phone numbers in my town or city?

Yes, we provide phone numbers in all lower 48 states and toll free 8XX numbers. Certain rural areas may be unavailable. There is a link on the Gphone.com website to check Service Availability. Just enter your phone number and it will confirm if the area is serviced.

Do you provide press conference calling?

Every extension comes with 3-way calling included. We offer a variety of separately priced, metered and unmetered conference calling bridges that allow up to 2,000 callers.

Will my existing phone service be interrupted during the set-up of Hosted PBX?

No interruption will occur. We first establish the hosted PBX service and then you forward your number to our service while the port is pending. When the port occurs, it will be transparent to you.

Do you provide E-911 emergency services?

GlobalPhone provides offers E911 with all of its numbers. VoIP phones are easily moved, so it is the customer’s responsibility to register a new 911 address by contacting our call center. Each phone with a unique telephone number may have a different 911 address. For additional terms and conditions, please read our contract.

Do you offer hunt groups or call center software?

Yes, we offer hunt groups at no additional charge. A hunt group can ring a group of phones on a sequential or simultaneous basis. We also have a Call Center option which does sophisticated call queuing and statistical reporting on call center agents.

What customer support services does GlobalPhone offer?

GlobalPhone offers customer service from 6am to 12PM EST Monday-Sunday. Advanced technical support for Hosted PBX troubleshooting is available Monday-Friday 8am to 7PM. All support personnel are based in the US and Canada. All moves, adds and changes to your system and remote training are provided free of charge.

Certain professional services like re-recording auto-attendant greetings may incur charges. Customers prefer our hosted PBX service over traditional PBX systems because they don’t need to retain a technical expert to manage the phone system.

Do you provide on-site installation of the phones?

For typical installations, the person that manages your computer network will install the phones. This admin person will first install a pre-programmed Edgemarc router with the assistance of our remote technical support personnel. Then he unboxes and plugs in the phones to the LAN and assigns an extension using the phone keypad.

Configuration files are automatically downloaded. There is an Ethernet switch in each phone so it can share the same cable drop with a computer. GlobalPhone can provide on-site personnel but will charge an additional hourly installation fee.

Can I have a vanity number that spells my company name or service?

You can buy or lease a number from a specialized vanity number company and port it to GlobalPhone. GlobalPhone does not provide vanity numbers that spell names.

Can I switch my toll free number to GlobalPhone?

Yes. We can port your toll free number.

Do you support calling name (CNAM) and 411 directory listing services?

Yes. GlobalPhone delivers caller ID and caller name on each call, as well as 411 directory information listings for no additional charge.