VoIP Q&A - Hungerford Technologies

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VoIP Q&A

 

Do you deliver the service – dial tone?

Yes, through a national network of redundant data centers and carriers (we don’t own the cabling structure of the internet backbone).

 

Why would I pay an ongoing charge instead of buying outright?

It’s really a personal/business choice, but we feel that consistent, expected costs spread out over the course of time is a better solution to phone service than massive upfront costs every 3-5 years to move to a new platform or do a huge upgrade.

It’s the direction everything in the technology world is going – everything as a service rather than a buy once and then run it till it dies/you pay again to upgrade.

 

What happens if my internet goes down?

Unless you have some kind of redundant backup, your service will drop. We can temporarily forward your main line or lines to cell phones until service is restored, just would need to get a hold of us.

 

If we lose power, will we lose our phones?

Yes, the phones do require power to operate – either from a PoE switch or the power brick/adapter. As with an internet loss, if you can get a hold of us, we can forward your number(s) to a cell phone, for example, until power is restored.

 

Can I use the phone I have, or buy new phones?

Our system supports a wide variety of VoIP phones, our preference in Polycom, but you’d just have to let us know what kind of phones you have, and we will be happy to check.

We can help you buy phones outright, or include a lease-to-own option as part of your monthly service fees.

 

Who are your competitors?

Anyone and everyone who offers VoIP or even traditional phone service. The major players in West MI (and nationally) are AT&T, Comcast, TDS, and Vonage.

 

What sort of training do you have?

We make sure you get the training you need before your new phone system is installed and active, and we’ve got handouts and other materials to make sure you know how to use the phones and the system.

 

Will the bill fluctuate each month?

It depends – our per user per month plans are a lot more static, but there will be slight fluctuations in the taxes, and maybe overage fees if you use up all your minutes, for example.

For our customer who we customize a plan to fit your exact needs, as those needs evolve and change, the bill changes too. You might have overages as well in that model.

 

Who do I call for help?

Hungerford Technologies! You can reach our Support team by e-mailing support@hungerford.tech or by calling (616) 949-4020 if you are unable to put in a ticket.

 

Will I own these phones after my contract is up?

Yep, all of our lease options are lease to own. Or you can buy the phones at the onset.

 

How long are our phones covered under warranty if we roll them into our plan?

If you outright buy new phones from us, or they are included as part of the monthly plan, the phones are under warranty for as long as you are getting service from us.

 

How much downtime can we expect?

Actual downtime should only be a few minutes per phone as we swap old for new. Realistically, expect some disruption and things to not be 100% for the entire duration of the install appointment. That means some phones might ring while others are still being worked on. That means we may redirect calls to a cell phone for a little while until things are up.

We really can’t tell you exactly how long, as each environment is different, but our process is designed to make sure that if your customers try and call you – you will be able to answer that call in some way or another. We know most companies can’t be without dial tone for a day.

 

How soon can we get this turned up?

How soon do you need us to? We’ve found that planning, coordinating, and communicating are the key to success. As such, there are a few things we have to do to get your service up and running, and a few different approaches to that process:

First – the self-install. For this option, we would just need information from you, some specifics on how you want the system to behave, and then we program the phones and get them delivered. As long as the phone can get out the internet, you’re good to go. If you have internal IT, they can handle all of the configuration necessary to make sure that when we plug in a phone, nothing gets in the way.

If you have a small office without anything to configure on the IT side, you might be able to just plug in and go without having to change any network configuration.

Why is this option good? It’s faster and easier – which means it costs less for setup, and we can get phones in and ringing much faster. You provide the network/internet, we provide the phone service.

Why is this option bad? You have to accept that if anything goes wrong in the network, we won’t know how to fix it. We are just providing the phone service in this case, and can make no guarantees to the quality of that service, as so much of that is dependent upon your internet and internal network.

 

The second option is the full-service approach. This option gives you the full white-glove treatment, meaning the system and how it functions is customized exactly how you want it to work, and we do a deep dive into the configuration of your network and internet to make sure everything goes off without a hitch and works flawlessly. We’ll even help you work with your existing vendors to gather the necessary information, even help you to cancel or shut down your existing service and contracts!

Why is this option good? We take care of everything. Full service, start to finish. In doing so, we make sure your internal network(s) and internet is up to the standards necessary to deliver the service at a truly exceptional level.

The bad side? This level of engagement requires a fair chunk of time and personnel, from our skilled engineers, to our project managers and other administrative personnel to make sure the process is smooth and easy. That time comes with a price, as you’d expect.

 

There is a third option, which is kind of a hybrid of the two. To really make sure your service is as exceptional and reliable as can be, but without having to do a deep dive into your internal network and IT infrastructure, we build a separate network dedicated to VoIP service. Dedicated switches, internet connection, firewall – even cabling in many cases. We put in and control everything end to end, from the phone to the internet to ensure the highest possible level of service and support.

The good? You get both the best-in-class quality of the full-service approach, without having to have us take ownership of your internal network. You know everything is configured exceptionally, and we have fully capabilities to support and administer it.

The bad? You guessed it – cost. New PoE switches, a separate dedicated internet line, a new edge device, and in many cases new network cable runs and jacks. We don’t quote in the most crazy and expensive equipment (because you don’t need it for this) but this isn’t off-the-shelf from the local big-box store gear either.

 

 

No matter how you get VoIP service from Hungerford Technologies, you are going to be getting a great system, with great service, with great value for the money you spend.