What is DECT?

If you’ve been looking at any kind of wireless product, chances are you’ve seen the acronym DECT at some point.

DECT stands for “Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications” or “Digital EUROPEAN Cordless Telecommunications”. The standard originated in Europe, which is why the two variations on the meaning of the acronym.

DECT is a wireless technology used in consumer and commercial wireless products. In North America, you’ll see DECT 6.0, which is the US (and therefore Canadian and Mexican) standard. It is different from the European standard due to US radio frequency regulations.

A wireless phone using DECT is going to give you a range of up to 100 meters (330 feet). Keep in mind that range is affected by the environment the phone is operating in. This “up to” range is important for all wireless products as there are many physical and electronic barriers to a product achieving its maximum potential range.

A challenge in an office that has a large number of wireless devices is interference. The DECT 6.0 standard supports up to 60 channels on a base station, which means if you have more than that number of devices within range of each other, you could have significant interference between units. Careful planning is required to minimize interference. If the majority of your workers don’t need to be wandering too far from their desks, you can also turn down the maximum wireless range to help minimize interference.

Is DECT Secure?

Yep. DECT uses 64-bit encryption. When a wireless headset or handset is paired with its base station, the encryption makes it very, very difficult to intercept and listen in on a conversation.

DECT or Bluetooth?

If you’re using only one device like a desk phone or a computer’s softphone, a DECT wireless device may be all you need. If you’re a multi-device user, you may want to consider a Bluetooth device as they can connect to smartphones, deskphones, tablets, laptops and PCs. Many Unified Communications software systems allow for automatic hand-offs between mobile and computer-based softphones, so if that’s something you’re looking for, a Bluetooth device might be a better solution for you.

If you’re looking for a wireless headset supporting DECT or Bluetooth standards, check out our Wireless Headset page for options available.

EnGenius DuraFon SIP Long Range Cordless for IP-PBX Systems

EnGenius DuraFon SIP Long Range Cordless Phone SystemIf you’ve been looking for a long range cordless phone that will work with your IP-based PBX, look no further than the EnGenius DuraFon SIP system.

EnGenius is one of the most trusted names in the North American long range cordless phone market. Their DuraFon multi-line long range cordless phone system has been satisfying customers for years. Now, you can add the DuraFon-SIP long range cordless phone to your existing IP-PBX system.

It’s a pretty cool system, supporting up to four concurrent conversations (either 4 SIP calls or 3 SIP calls + 1 PSTN) and a range of up to 12 floors in-building coverage, up to 250,000 sq. ft. in warehouse settings or up to 3000 sq. acres in open range settings.

The DuraFon-SIP system supports up to 10 long range cordless handsets, each of which feature 2-Way Intercom and Broadcast features. More than one DuraFon-SIP base station can be added to your IP-PBX, but there are some limitations on phone conversations between handsets registered to different base stations. Most notably, the 2-Way Intercom and Push-to-Talk features won’t work, but you can still make handset to handset calls by using PBX extension-to-extension calls.

If you have questions about the DuraFon-SIP, check out our extensive DuraFon-SIP FAQ section or call one of our sales reps at 1-855-929-9199 and they’ll be happy to find the answers to your questions.

NEC Adds 9.5″ SV9100 Chassis For Small Business Clients

NEC recently added the smaller 9.5″ SV9100 phone system chassis, matching it’s predecessor, the 9.5″ SV8100 cabinet for small business customers.

NEC SV9100 9.5 inch chassis

Compact NEC SV9100 9.5″ Chassis for Small Business

Telephone Magic Inc. has been installing these smaller chassis SV9100 systems for a few months now and the verdict is in… WE LOVE IT! The 9.5″ chassis offers small businesses a cost-effective way to get the high end features of the award winning NEC SV9100 platform.

While the SV9100 is based on the solid foundation of the SV8100 platform, it has a much more powerful processor. It does away with the need for the PZ-VM21 Voice Mail card holder and the PZ-ME50-US Expanded Memory card, The InMail voice mail packake is now stored on a micro SD card which clicks right into a slot on the main control card (GCD-CP10). Like the SV8100, this system is hybrid in nature. It handles both digital and IP phones, has the capability to network between sites and add SIP trunks as bandwidth grows and QoS become more stable.

NEC UT880 tablet tepehone

The UT880 combines the ease of a touchscreen tablet and a familiar telephone keypad!

Customers are RAVING about the new UT880 Tablet Phone which combines the look and feel of a tablet with a standard telephone handset interface. This phone terminal combines touchscreen capabilities with a familiar phone keypad and video options – it is simply breathtaking!

NEC’s UT880 Universal Client is a multiline telephone application that emulates an NEC 32-line DESI-less telephone, comes standard in the SV9100’s user licensing packages. The interface of the UT880 Universal Client is designed to improve the overall user experience, while remaining intuitive—with no extensive training needed. You can see at-a-glance if you have new voice or instant message notifications, missed calls, meetings and new emails plus it provides access to all of the standard system features.

The UT880 and NEC's SV9100 create a powerful combination of innovation and user features!

The UT880 and NEC’s SV9100 create a powerful combination of innovation and user features!

Additionally, the UT880 enables access to the UC Suite Client – corporate directory, presence, instant messaging, unified messaging and call control – right on your desktop phone.

When NEC first release the SV9100 they created the UNIVERGE SV9100S and SV9100E Communications Servers. While they are both robust, feature-rich, Unified Communications enabled systems that are ideal for small and medium-sized businesses, the added introduction of the 9.5″ chassis offers the smallest of business clients to take advantage of the powerful SV9100 platform. Each server is designed to help solve today’s communications challenges and is built with your migration path in mind, so you can scale your communications as your business grows.

Because it is so future friendly and upgraded by frequent software improvements, NEC's SV9100 is likely the LAST communication system your business will ever purchase!

Because it is so future friendly and upgraded by frequent software improvements, NEC’s SV9100 is likely the LAST communication system your business will ever purchase!

The one thing we love about NEC’s SV9100 is that it is likely the last communication system your business will purchase. Unlike previous “in the box” phone systems that had a certain amount of set features that became antiquated and redundant over time, the SV9100 is future friendly – it’s a server that will regularly be improved going forward via software updates. As new features are invented and brought to market they will become available to your business team as you keep your SV9100 current with the latest Software Assurance,

The SV9100 also comes with a simplified user-licensing structure, which allows you to only pay for what your business needs, as you need it. Gone are the days of paying for 40 voice mail boxes when all you needed was six! Gone are the days of having to buy voice mail ports to be able to handle more calls. This system is provisioned for sixteen ports that will handle as many or as few calls as necessary. The SV9100 also easily integrates with your existing NEC technology.

In short, we are VERY impressed with the SV9100 communication system, and our initial experience with it tells us you will never regret a move to this platform. It is built on a solid foundation and will grow in just about any way you wish as your business changes and expands.

NEC SV9100 phone system

Telecom News from NEC ~ The SV9100 is Here!

They’re here! NEC has announced the release of their new line of PBX systems, including the SV9100, which was designed as an upgrade path for the current SV8100 phone platform. The SV9100 supports up to 1,360 ports but a scaled down version supprts up to 48 ports for small businesses.

The SV9000 phone systems also have two new phone series. The new IP telephones are the DT800 series, replacing the DT700 sets, while the look-alike digital models are now called DT400 sets, replacing the DT300 phone series. The IP models now boast Gigabit models that sell for little more than 10/100 models, a big change from the Gigabit adapters NEC formerly required. Also, the digital models will sell at the same price points as the 10/100 IP models, and both product lines include 12, 24, and 32-button models with a choice of black and white or color displays.

nec-dt-400-dt-800-phones

The new NEC DT400 digital phones and DT800 IP telephone sets make the SV9100 even more powerful!

Also announced was the touch-screen Android-based UT880. This is a video-capable desk set (the tablet component is not removable) whose screen presents a typical DT-Series interface. One interesting feature, addressing the concern that hackers could potentially take control of the camera, is a manual switch that buries the camera’s lens behind a physical shroud when not in use.

The new NEC UT880 is an awesome communication tool for the busy executive!

The new NEC UT880 is an awesome communication tool for the busy executive!

NEC plans to open its own app store for the UT880, which will offer enterprise-oriented vetted apps to protect against malware, which seem like a prudent idea. Partnering with a mainline Android supplier like Samsung may have been a wise choice, as Samsung is years ahead of all of the UC suppliers when it comes to delivering what enterprises need in mobile devices.

Clearly malware is an issue with Android devices. In a 2014 report, Cisco Systems indicates that, “Ninety-nine percent of all mobile malware in 2013 targeted Android devices. Android users also have the highest encounter rate (71%) with all forms of web-delivered malware.”

Unfortunately, Apple’s tightly controlled developer environment leaves Android as the only available platform for mobile O/S-based desk sets. To address the malware threat, Samsung has come up with its own enhanced security mechanisms with its KNOX offering. Samsung will also be offering its own enterprise app store. I’d prefer to be tied into that Samsung ecosystem, rather than trying to crack the Android nut on my own.

NEC has also developed the DT770G iPad cradle with talk of potentially significant enhancements. The DT770G includes an app that emulates a PBX station, and the cradle connects the iPad via Bluetooth and provides a handset and speakerphone.

The DT770G operates over the customer’s in-house Wi-Fi network. That means that the Wi-Fi infrastructure will need to be voice-capable, but as the device is stationary, at least it will not face the problems we have seen with access point-to-access point handoffs. As the docks use the iPad’s Wi-Fi interface, they operate on 2×2 802.11n radio interface. NEC was talking about an enhancement that would allow the iPad to operate over an Ethernet connection when docked, and over Wi-Fi when mobile, but no date for this feature has been announced.

NEC also has a range of DECT-based wireless devices, including a communication badge, that would be capable of dialing a single pre-programmed number with the push of a button. They have also created a prototype of an Android-based smartphone-like device that would support voice over DECT and data over Wi-Fi.

NEC has demonstrated its’ WFAZ wireless adapter. The WFAZ can attach to any of NEC’s IP desk sets and allows it to operate over a Wi-Fi network. This could be a handy way to install stations in areas where it is difficult or expensive to install cable drops, assuming there is adequate Wi-Fi coverage. A PC can be connected to the data port on the IP desk set, allowing for voice and data support over the Wi-Fi connection.

NEC’s dealers like Telephone Magic Inc. love all the new developments from our primary phone system supplier. Business has been strong and we are very enthusiastic about all of the new developements in the product pipeline. However, mobility continues to confound the UC market, so it may be some time before we see tangible benefits and significant revenues coming out of the mobile side of UC.

Denial of Service Attacks Continue in North America

We have all heard of computer virus’s that take over unsuspecting victims PC’s and start overwhelming websites as part of a massive campaign utilizing thousands of these virus driven “drone” or “bot” systems. These “attacks” are hard to combat and have done their fair share of damage on the Internet.

A lesser known but very similar type of attack occurs with great regularity with business phone systems that has become known as a “Denial of Service Attack”. These attacks involve either automated or actual callers overwhelming an organization’s ability to take inbound calls, often resulting in legitimate calls not being able to reach a caller in a timely manner when they need assistance, service, or, in extreme cases, report a real emergency.

A couple of days ago, at approximately 5:25 pm, the Tuscaloosa Police Department was the target of a Telephone Denial of Service Attack. The perpetrators (Foreign Hackers) of the attack launched numerous phone calls against the police department’s phone systems, tying up the system. Again in this case the objective of the attacks was to prevent the agency from receiving legitimate calls and disrupt public safety operations.

Attacks of this nature are ongoing throughout the US and Canada, with over 200 cases documented to this point. Some people muse this may be yet another way for terrorists to attack the United States, potentially weakening businesses or, more importantly, emergency response teams.

The Tuscaloosa Police Department has had to take further steps to protect its’ phone systems. Blocked phone numbers and international numbers trying to call the administrative lines at the police department are being screened in the short term and likely will not go through as a precaution from further attacks. The police department confirms these precautionary changes will not affect the 911 emergency lines. You might think twice though about calling any of their administrative lines from a blocked number. In the event of an emergency the department asks that callers always dial 911. TPD is currently working with Federal Agencies on the incident.

Interestingly, another business in the same Tuscaloosa area experienced a similar incident Friday morning. The complainant stated they received over 180 calls before they took the phone of the hook because it was disrupting the business. The caller, who had a foreign accent, stated they were trying to collect money that an employee owned them.

Law enforcement agencies agree that Telephone Denial of Service Attacks are no laughing matter and should be reported immediately when they occur.

Everyone Seems to be “Hung up on VoIP”

It is AMAZING how many of our clients are all about “Don’t we need VoIP phones?” and “Don’t we need to get cheap VoIP truncks?” and “Aren’t SIP trunks cheaper?”.
Well, to answer ALL these questions… “YES”… under the right circumstances. Not everyone NEEDS more expensive IP phones. That’s right, I said it. I would LOVE to sell you more expensive endpoints and, WOW, I would REALLY LOVE to invoice you to rewire your entire building for Ethernet phone extensions, but, to be honest, YOU DON’T NEED THEM! (darn)…

You heard me. MOST small to medium sized businesses do NOT require IP phones. More importantly, their site Internet access will not SUPPORT loads of VoIP traffic with SIP trunks or phones either!

Most small businesses, EVEN WITH MULTIPLE BRANCHES, can take advantage of less expensive digital terminals and STILL utilize SIP trunks to save money by connecting their hybrid phone systems, such as the NEC SV8100 telephone system via IP daughter boards, such as the IPLB32 – opening a VPN tunnel between the sites where phone calls can be transferred back and forth. Again, this can be done with DIGITAL phones because the SYSTEMS are tied together with VoIP technology!

Before YOU make the mistake of spending an arm load of dough to buy fancy IP phones and swithces that, OMG, don’t work with your limited Internet bandwidth (ouch! YES, there’s the site limitation!) – call someone who REALLY knows their stuff that takes ALL of the environmental and carrier service capabilities into consideration before selling you what you THINK You need. It’s that simple.

Hey, don’t get us wrong – we LOVE the BUZZ words – they sell a TON of new equipment. But don’t sell yourself short and get a huge disappointment when you find out your new phones do not even work. Listen to a professional that can save you loads of money and aggravation by not only listening to what you want, but telling you EXACTLY what you NEED based on your requirements and local site capabilities.

Your Business May Not Be Ready for VoIP

Although VoIP or Voice over IP (as it is also known) – basically phone calls over the Internet – is starting to become a popular solution for business telecommunications, your business might not be ready for it. Business networks come in all shapes and sizes, and a deficiency in one area of your network can prevent you from adopting a VoIP service solution. Fortunately, each of these factors can be addressed to ascertain whether your business is ready for VoIP

Your LAN

A LAN (Local Area Network) supplies the networking capability for the group of computers that your business operates from your office site. Your LAN must have the ability to both protect and prioritize data packets of information. The LAN’s switching fabric must also support prioritization of traffic through differentiated services (a form of computer networking architecture) and network segmentation via VLANs (Virtual Local Area Network, usually 802.1Q). In order to make troubleshooting easier and support high-quality service, your LAN should also have the ability to isolate real-time media and switch in real time.

Your Router

Your choice of router is also an important component of your network, and should also separate real time media from other traffic. The router should actually route real time media at a separate IP address, which will also help with analysis and optimization of performance.

Your Network Connection Speed

Possibly the most discussed factor in determining whether a particular business network can support VoIP is the actual quality of your Internet connection. Fortunately the discussion has inspired many resources such as “Pingtest” that enables business to evaluate their connection speed.

Your Equipment

Finally, the actual end user equipment will have a substantial impact on perceived VoIP service quality. Cheap handsets and headsets make for poor fidelity, and extra IT time spent diagnosing the problem. Although your choice of equipment may seem like a minor concern, the result of the choice will affect your both your productivity and your image. You can purchase VoIP phones from most VoIP PBX providers.

Be Sure You Are Ready

Make sure you are ready before causing a disastrous loss of phone service in your business. Once you find out about your ability (or lack thereof) to carry multiple voice calls simultaneously over your network and Internet service, you may reconsider cutting the cord to your traditional phone company’s reliable lines.

Redundancy and Resiliency with Avaya IP Office

IP Office has no moving parts and is a solid state phone system. No Hard disk drive or fans and so less points of failure with consequent increased resilency. In networked sites IPO provides IP Phone and vmail resiliency with preferred and advanced editions.

IP Office can have full redundancy by running multiple copies running at alternate locations or offices. You can have the IP phones from a primary IP Office cabinet fail over to a redundant alternate cabinet, and vice versa. This redundancy can be either local (LAN), or wide area (WAN)

For example, say you have a primary IP Office in Birmingham with 100 users, and alternate IP Offices in various offices with 30 users each. The handsets from London can re-authenticate to an alternate switche in one of the other locations if the system in London fails, and vice versa with London providing the back-up for the other system. Add SIP trunks, and you can have the dial tone fail over as well. With IP Office, you have the choice to set up your network as a mesh or star configuration. A mesh offers more failover choices than a star, by preventing overloads on any one particular server.

IP Office Voicemail Failover

Not only can the Avaya IP Office operating with release 6.1 support IP Office cabinet failover, it can also support an extremely elegant voicemail failover unprecedented in the SMB market. Various levels are available:

Centralized Voicemail

Centralized Voicemail Pro uses a single Voicemail Pro server to provide voicemail services for all IP Offices in the Small Community Network. Except for use of ContactStore, only the central IP Office hosting the voicemail server requires licensing for Voicemail Pro operation and features. The central IP Office is licensed as normal for Voicemail Pro operation and the voicemail features required. The other IP Offices only require licenses.

Centralized Voicemail with Fallback IP Office

Control of the voicemail server can be assumed by another IP Office if the central IP Office becomes unavailable. This is a feature of IP Office Release 5.0+ with Voicemail Pro 5.0+. The fallback IP Office that assumes control of the voicemail server requires licenses for Voicemail Pro operation and the features required during fallback.

Centralized Voicemail with a Backup Voicemail Server

The central IP Office hosting the voicemail server can be configured with the IP address of a backup voicemail server. During normal operation, call flows and other settings on the backup server are kept synchronized with those of the primary voicemail server. If the primary voicemail server becomes unavailable to the network, voicemail services are provided by the backup voicemail server. This is part of IP Office Release 6.0+ with Voicemail Pro 6.0+. IIS SMTP is used to exchange information between the servers, using only existing licenses.

Centralized Voicemail with Distributed Voicemail Servers

Other IP Offices in the Small Community Network can host their own Voicemail Pro server. That server is then used for the IP Office’s voicemail functions except message storage. This is a feature of IP Office Release 6.0+ with Voicemail Pro 6.0+; IIS SMTP is used to exchange information between the servers. The distributed voicemail server provides all voicemail services except voicemail collection for its associated IP Office. Each IP Office using a distributed voicemail server must have licenses for Voicemail Pro operation and the voicemail features required.

In all the cases above, the central voicemail server remains the store for messages and recordings (except for Exchange UMS users). The central voicemail server does message waiting indication and is the voicemail server used for message collection. Only when the central server is temporarily unavailable will the backup or any distributed server do message storage and collection. In those scenarios, when the central server is restored, messages collected by the backup or distributed servers are forwarded to the central server.

For more information on Avaya IP Office on the IP500 phone system, contact Ryan Altseimer toll-free at 1-855-929-9199.

New Year, New Phone System Gear!

Is YOUR business phone system 5-10 years old? God forbid it is not OLDER than that as it simply qualifies for display at the Smithsonian in that case.

The biggest improvements in telecom systems in the past 5+ years are things like #BYOD, Mobile Extension, Voice Mail to Email, improvements to integrated #UC (Unified Communications), SIP trunking, etc. If your business telephone system is older than that, there is a good chance it does NOT include capabilities for these advanced but necessary features in the age of improved accessibility from clients, suppliers, and co-workers.

In the spirit of New Years Resolutions, it’s time to propose a new telephony platform for YOUR business!

Here’s some choices in a varied range of features and pricing:

Avaya IP Office – After purchasing the SMB platforms from Nortel, Avaya captured an “Upgrade with us” capability and have been porting clients over to the Avaya IP 500 phone system by allowing Nortel users to keep their existing phones. This prevented the Nortel ICS line from eventually becoming a dead end for users. Expansion is a snap as well, with IP 500 Expansion cards and modules. Users can eventually add to and/or replace phones with a wide range of choices of new Avaya IP Office phones.

NEC SV8100 phone system – This system has all of the features mentioned below. We love Voice Mail to Email and Mobile Extension to keep in touch with your clients, even when you are not in the office.

Avaya / Nortel BCM – When Avaya took over the Nortel SMB lines, one of the exciting acquisitions was the Business Communication Manager – or BCM. The BCM starts with the small business BCM 50, a compact but powerful IP capable telephone system. The other currect BCM brought over initially to Avaya was the BCM 450 for enterprise clients. Both of these platforms are easily expandable with a variety of optional hardware, referred to as BCM Media Bay Modules, and software, often called BCM Key Code Licenses.

Regardless of which phone system you choose to upgrade to, think about all the things you wish to do with your business telephones and then call Ryan Altseimer toll-free at 1.855.929.9199, extension 3007, to match your requirements and budget to an appropriate system. Happy New Year from all of us at Telephone Magic – we hope to assist you with YOUR New Year’s Telecom Resolution!

Merry Christmas from all of us at Telephone Magic!

What a year it has been! Many changes and tons of improvements that directly benefit our customers. We would just like to take the time to reach out to our clients, friends, and family to wish everyone the very best of the holiday season and a Happy New Year.

christmas-tree

 

Some of the improvements we have made this year include full overhauls of our websites, including our main US / International Website, our Canadian Web Portal, and our Hotel Room Phones site.

New features include our “Express Quote” option and we now offer on-site Live Chat to answer any questions you may have. We also have improved site navigation with a “Mega-Menu” and easy to find and use site Search.

Our blog has moved on site and we now have a complete suite of social media sites to allow our clients to stay in touch with us. We have a lot of content on our new YouTube channel, almost 1300 Followers on our Twitter feed, and a ton of great telecom photos on our Pinterest account.

Again, all the best for the holidays and we look forward to serving you in the 2014!

Jeff Jackson

President, Telephone Magic Inc.