Hosted telephony is where your phone system is housed in the cloud, rather than in your office. It is ideal for small and large businesses, call centres and customer support departments.
Hosted telephony uses cloud technology which removes the need for costly physical hardware on-site and analogue or ISDN telephone lines from phone providers; instead, a business phone system is hosted remotely and connected to via the Internet. Essentially, the phone system becomes a piece of software rather than hardware.
The remote location is known as a Hosted PBX (Private Branch Exchange) and can be accessed through leased lines (lines dedicated to your business with no other, external traffic) or other high quality internet connections. It provides a flexible, reliable and efficient way to manage your communications and once it is installed, can be easily managed and additional features can easily be added to suit your needs.
With this set-up, the provider (SCG) will house the Hosted PBX and handle the technology and maintenance of the system.
In comparison, a traditional phone system involves the system being based on your premises and connecting directly to an ISDN line from a provider. For all incoming calls, each member of staff typically requires a desk phone. With hosted telephony, the call can be received on a desk phone, softphone or mobile application.
It is important to be aware that BT have stated all ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) services related to PBX systems will be switched off in 2025. Hosted telephony is a natural alternative as it uses Data Connections to deliver calls.
Hosted telephony uses the same LAN network as office Internet and automatically connects to the IP network.
Using the same methods to pass information as the Internet, hosted telephony utilises a router to communicate actions with your associated IP network. This connection is made securely over the Internet or through a dedicated connection specifically for your business.
For incoming calls, the phone will connect to the IP network, then through to the remote host. Here, the dialed number will get connected and sent through to the right department or individual.
To work as expected, hosted telephony requires a private connection and an appropriate bandwidth. In telecoms and computing, bandwidth is the rate or speed at which data can be sent across a network. When installing hosted telephony, or any Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution, bandwidth can be measured and upgraded to obtain the best performance for the system.
Such systems are best accessed through dedicated handsets connected to the Internet that offers a range of enhanced features. These IP handsets or virtual phones are recommended and chosen before installation, at which point complete training can be arranged.
Once operational, a business can manage international communications across multiple sites through a simple interface.
FTTC is a superfast fibre broadband, with the term standing for Fibre to the Cabinet. It is known as a reliable, high quality connection with superfast speeds up to 80 Mbps for downloads and 20 Mbps for uploads. It is mainly used by small and medium businesses, including start-ups looking to expand.
FTTC broadband has great availability in the UK and also benefits from fast installation and setup times, meaning your business can get fast internet access quickly. As it uses the existing copper line infrastructure, it’s efficient, convenient and cost effective.
It is the ideal choice for small and medium sized workplaces who have staff using the internet for browsing, accessing applications and making calls. With it’s high speeds, it is likely to meet all the needs of a smaller business, which don’t require an SLA (Service Level Agreement). An SLA ensures a fix within a set timeframe – essential if you have business critical applications. If this is the case, please view our Ethernet and Leased Lines offering.
As a shared bandwidth (also known as contended) – as opposed to dedicated – performance can vary throughout the day especially at peak usage times when many users and devices, across your local area not just your office, are online. In this event the bandwidth is split which causes the slower upload and download rates.
An FTTC broadband connection is setup using the existing copper infrastructure and your BT line.
An FTTC broadband connection uses fibre optics to link the cabinet to the exchange and the core network. At the point of the cabinet, the broadband is split between users into multiple premises. This is the shared (contended) broadband model.
The ‘last mile’ (although not always literally a mile) is the final stage between the cabinet and the premise, delivered using copper wire. As with ADSL broadband, speeds are affected by the distance between the copper wire and the fibre optics cabinet; the further away your premises are from the cabinet, the slower the download and upload speeds you will experience day to day.
Before installation, you can discover your distance from the cabinet and likely performance, to understand if this is the right solution for your business.
Hosted Telephony offers an incredible range of benefits compared to a PBX system with enhanced options for all of your voice and communication services.
The main benefits of hosted telephony include:
One of the biggest advantages of hosted telephony is that your business incurs no upfront costs for equipment as it’s delivered on an Opex expenditure system, rather than Capex. Generally, this better suits finance planning for small, medium and large businesses.
Once installed, monthly payments are at a set rate and can be amended depending on your usage in the future. For example, if you reduce the number of handsets, you may be able to reduce your costs.
Further ongoing savings are achieved through having no PBX maintenance costs as your system is hosted in the cloud and not in your office, whilst all office to office calls across multiple sites are free of charge.
Hosted Telephony offers an unprecedented range of functionality that allows your business to thrive, all whilst projecting a professional brand experience with high definition voice quality.
All of these features are managed via an intuitive dashboard and staff can be fully trained on the handsets chosen to suit the requirements of your business.
With better-recorded data, statistics logged by the system can be reviewed to provide productivity insight. This includes automated and ad-hoc reports on ring group statistics, agent logins, extension statistics and call costs, sent directly to your inbox. Analysis of such data can lead to improvements in staff performance within months.
Your hosted telephony system is not fixed and can easily be scaled depending on your usage and growth as a company. These means new staff can easily be added and your bandwidth can be upgraded to cope with increased users and incoming calls.
Should your business relocate, you won’t have to manage the move of complex hardware as with a PBX system; as it’s all in the cloud it can simply be reprogrammed for your new site with no extra work or hassle for your team.
In short, there is no limit to the growth of your company from a voice and communications perspective once you are using hosted telephony; it is specifically bespoke and scalable to you.
The communications for your business are future proofed whilst hosted in the cloud and can be remotely upgraded at any time, in line with your business growth.
You’ll also benefit from the insight of a proactive 24/7 maintenance and support service which safeguards against downtime and disruption to your communications, both internal and external.
This improves staff productivity and client relations, aiding client retention and brand perception, particularly in relation to customer services.
‘Hosted’ and ‘cloud-based’ phone systems are not the same but this can get confused as sometimes these terms are used interchangeably and therefore, misleadingly.
With a hosted telephony system a business utilises software and hardware that’s set-up and reserved for their use only. This means no external call traffic will disrupt performance and the bandwidth can be altered for that company’s needs. It’s a bespoke system solely for them.
As part of this, a business pays for the software and hardware. If the resource reaches capacity there may be extra charges and if not all the resource is used, it cannot be carried over into the next month.
Typically with hosted systems, they are managed by the provider but you can also get non-managed hosted systems.
Alternatively, cloud phone systems utilise shared resources that multiple businesses may be able to access. Software on a server will run for several businesses and excess capacity can be shared across all tenants when usage peaks. Businesses can also easily scale up or down by adding and deleting users and applications.
In this system, businesses rent the cloud system, meaning all maintenance and management costs and responsibilities fall with the provider. This can often provide great peace of mind for companies as they’re provided with 24/7 support.
When you’re deciding which option best suits your own infrastructure and finance plans, it’s important to understand the differences between hosted and cloud-based phone systems and to discuss this with your provider.
The hosted system was implemented before the popularity of cloud-based systems and for many is still the most appropriate option because of its ease of use, capabilities and the ongoing service and support available from the provider.
FTTC broadband is a popular choice for UK businesses as it’s a cost effective way to easily access a superfast and reliable connection. It allows you to benefit from fibre optics, whilst utilising existing copper lines for fast and convenient installation.
The main benefits of FTTC broadband include:
A huge benefit of FTTC is that the connection is installed using existing copper lines, reducing the costs passed on to you, the user. With rental fees agreed at fixed rates in advance, you can budget accordingly.
Fibre broadband in the form of FTTC is widespread in the UK, more so than the alternative FTTP. This means that you’re almost guaranteed to have access to the technology for your business. As it’s easy for your internet provider to check availability, you can quickly know if it is an option for you.
Upgrading from a standard ADSL broadband to FTTC brings about a significant improvement; you benefit from faster speeds for both uploads and downloads, and don’t need to sign up to a Service with SLAs you don’t need.
Faster speeds, resilient service and the bandwidth to backup your data off site, improves productivity and gives you and your staff peace of mind.
FTTC is available to roughly 95% of the UK and is a technology that will be readily available in both the short and the long term. Once you have migrated, your business can grow and add users.
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking enables communications using an internet connection, instead of a traditional phone line.
SIP Trunking uses VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to connect a private branch exchange (PBX) or hosted telephony system to the internet. Via SIP trunks, a business is directly connected to the internet using a standard internet connection or private circuit for high performance voice communications.
SIP Trunks themselves enable voice traffic to be carried over a data connection. They allow a direct connection to the internet and enable VoIP to function beyond a company’s own firewall without the need for an IP-PSTN gateway. This allows greater flexibility in how and where phone numbers with geographic indicators can be used, as well as offering free calls between sites and savings on line rentals costs.
The number of lines a business utilises can be easily increased or decreased, based on usage. This incredible level of control makes it an appealing choice for businesses that have seasonal peaks in calls or are rapidly expanding.
It is important to note that BT has stated they will switch off the old ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) network by 2025, meaning all businesses will need to upgrade to use SIP to deliver their calls over an IP network.
Most usually targeted at larger companies; an individual with a gripe will attempt to hack into the telephone system and create large call costs for the company with no personal gain. Please read through the Tips to Avoid System Hacking and Fraud Indication Alerting section of this document to help pick up possible fraud when it happens, not when your invoice is produced.
This type of fraud is usually committed by staff outside of working hours, who are using your company’s phones for expensive calls such as premium rate numbers and international destinations. This fraud involves no hacking or complexity, and is largely opportunistic; however it can be just as costly. In this instance it is vital that you have indicators to raise any “out of the ordinary calls” to your attention. For example, if your business runs from 09:00 to 17:00, you should be alerted to any calls made between 17:00 and 09:00 that could possibly not be business related calls.
Unfortunately, this type of fraud is rife in the UK and is worth twice that of Credit Card Fraud, at approximately £1.2 Billion per annum. This is similar to the geek hack, however is committed for personal gain by the Fraudster. There are several reasons for this; the principle one being to make money.
Once hacked into your telephone system, the Fraudster will re-sell phone cards for international destinations at a much lower rate than it would cost to call the destination from a landline. When the phone card is used, the destination is called via your telephone system, giving the Fraudster a huge profit from the sale of the phone cards and leaving you to foot the bill.
If you have been a victim, you need to report it at: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/.
ADSL broadband is compatible with WiFi. As it is a contended service shared with other users, the best WiFi performance will be during off-peak hours and for basic tasks such as checking email and loading web pages.
To use WiFi with your ADSL broadband connection, you require a modem or router, such as the common ones found in most homes and offices. Once this has been setup and configured, you should be able to use WiFi by connecting your chosen device or devices.
*Devices must have WiFi functionality.
Essentially, while WiFi is available to use, the signal will be weaker than if you were connected to a high-speed, uncontended broadband service. It may only work well on one device at a time, depending on how you are using it. For example, the more one device is downloading, the slower another connected device may perform.