Posts on Dec 2020

Updating Your Business Phone Systems In 2021

Best Business Phone Systems Westchester NY

2020 is finally at a close. This year has seen changes to many aspects of our daily lives at home and the workplace. Companies and employees saw how working from home was possible but required some new technology and planning. Safety standards for personal hygiene and public places did a complete 180. We conducted family gatherings, social events, and work meetings through Zoom and many of us taught Grandma and Granpa how to use facetime. Despite the chaos, we’ve gotten through it and look forwards to 2021 with positivity on what is to come next for our great nation. 

2020: Businesses Adjusted Communications to Meet Pandemic

Best Business Phone Systems Westchester NY

Best Business Phone Systems Westchester NY

When lockdowns hit back in March, there was uncertainty as to what that meant for many American businesses and their employees. Offices were closed, layoffs and furloughs were abundant, and the stock market lost almost a 1/3 of its value. But we adjusted and so did businesses (and so did the market hitting record highs at year-end). It didn’t take long for companies to set up their employees with work from home systems like VoIP for business and cloud connectivity. 

Companies began conducting daily and weekly calls virtually from the safety of each person’s home. Businesses who already set up work from home or who adjusted quickly gained an advantage over their competitors in the early days of the pandemic. Now that some people have begun returning to the office and others have made a temporary work from home solution permanent, businesses have seen what worked and what didn’t in the adjustments of 2020. So, companies are more prepared than they were last year and some of those changes will be maintained in 2021. 

2021: Businesses Know What Changes to Maintain

Even with many folks returning to the office, we are still not back to the “normal” we were in 2019 and likely won’t be in the coming year. So, what sort of changes did businesses make they will be keeping this year? Well, the big winner of this year is VoIP for business and cloud connectivity. Let’s see what VOIP offers to businesses that made it a must use this year:

  • Cost reduction for local & international calls (compared to traditional phone services)
  • Conference calling
  • Video calling + video conferencing
  • Working from home availability
  • Screen share & screen image capture & File Sharing
  • Voicemail
  • Multiple Lines (users)
  • Scalability (adding users, not physical lines)
  • Call forwarding
  • Call recording
  • Local, national, and international calling
  • Cost-effective rates (far cheaper than traditional phones)
  • and more

In short, VoIP saves you money on your communications systems (quite a lot actually) and improves connectivity + productivity across the board. The user-friendly features and ability to add new users in moments also allow VoIP to be ideal for growing businesses. 

Considering the number of features that are offered using a Voice Over Internet Protocol system, it’s no mystery why businesses are changing to entirely cloud-based communications. It’s faster, more reliable, more secure, cheaper, and better for users. All of these add up to a better business tool that should be maintained in 2021. 

2021: Updates your Business Needs to Stay Relevant

Many people lost their jobs and many businesses have closed permanently since the pandemic has hit. In order to stay relevant in 2021, your business needs to be sure it is getting the most out of your monthly operating budget. If you were paying $700 a month for communications because you have yourself and 5 employees (for example), that cost could be consolidated to less than $100 a month using proprietary business communications here in Westchester County NY. That is because it costs little to nothing to add users or lines. 

With traditional outdated copper wiring phone systems and internet communications sytems, you have major limitations on speed and cost. Let’s face it these systems are old and expensive. If you need a repair it could cost a lot, not to mention waiting for the technician to come to your location to see what is wrong, to then create a work order to fix it. You could be down for days and be expected to fit the bill, not to mention the business lost. 

So, if you’re not set up yet or have been due to change your phone systems for years, 2021 is the year to make that change happen. Let’s get slim on our spending and cut waste everywhere possible this year, and that includes looking at your business’s communications. Internet and phone costs have been increasing over the years with little option for people to go elsewhere due to regional contracts (think Optimum or Xfinity), until recently. Cloud software protocols and VOIP aren’t just good for working from home. The beauty is that the systems function the same way at the office or on the go, and they are seamless (plus much cheaper!) 

Best Business Phone Systems Westchester NY

Unfortunately, many businesses think the big box stores can offer them the best costs on phone and internet services. But that is far from the truth. Think about advertising, marketing, and retail costs to large companies like Verizon. You are just a number and they have so many operating costs which they throw onto their customers. When working with a more dedicated local business phone contractor you can ensure you’re getting the best possible value. 

Top Line Communications has been a leading telecommunication and business phone system provider to municipalities, hospitals, school districts, transit authorities, and businesses of all shapes and sizes here in Westchester County for over 30 years. We specialize in modernizing your businesses and reducing your costs. 

When the pandemic hit we went into high gear and got all of our customers and their employees set up working from home in no time. Our fleet of technicians made quick work of getting everyone set up online and to work from home if they had not already done so. The point is, we are here for you and we do it better than the big guys. 

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Should You Upgrade Your Business to a Fiber Internet Connection?

Fiber Internet Provider Westchester County NY

Different businesses will have different connectivity needs. However, it is a pretty safe assumption to say that the faster your internet connection speeds are the better that will be for conducting all your day to day business operations. When we start to consider the different web connected technologies that businesses and organizations are utilizing today, the better your connection speed the more prepared you’ll be to utilize these systems as well. That is why a fiber-optic installation or upgrade can make a huge different for your company both now and moving into the future.

What is a Fiber Internet?

Fiber Internet Provider Westchester County NY

Fiber Internet Provider Westchester County NY

Fiber internet utilizes fiber-optic cable lines which are made of tightly bundled stands of glass (yes glass). Each strand is a conduit for light signals which relay digital data from one end of the connection to another, all at the speed of light. The tech allows for internet connection speeds that vastly exceed the speed of traditional cable or DSL for a few reasons. Firstly, each fiber-optic line is able to carry more than one signal at light speed at the same time. Secondly, fiber internet is able to work around latency, signal degradation, and congestion unlike older DSL and cable networks.

Pros of Fiber Internet

  • Faster Speeds – fiber-optic lines are able to carry far more data than cable or DSL which uses copper wires. On your end that simply means far faster download and upload speeds. This is especially beneficial when using VoIP and Cloud based services.
  • Less Latency – Fiber-optics light signals (traveling at the speed of light) are of course far faster than standard electrical signals used in DSL and cable through copper wiring. This means that with fiber the time it takes for data to travel from point a to point b is far shorter. Henceforth low latency (lower lag).
  • Improved Reliability – where as copper wiring can degrade over time or distance away from the main connection port/room/server. Also the fiber infrastructure supports far more bandwidth which means there won’t be a connection issue if everyone in the office is uploading to the server at once.

Cons of Fiber Internet

  • Limited Availability – this is newer technology and will require a suitable installation infrastructure. Meaning that some rural areas may not have the ability to use fiber as it’s is mostly available in more populated metro areas. For us here in Westchester County NY this is not a problem.

How Fast is Fiber Internet?

Here is where you can really see the benefit of fiber internet. Most providers will offer connection speeds up to 2GB, that is 2,000mbs. Streaming services like Netflix which stream in 4K high definition use only 20-25mbs for the clearest video images. Fiber is also capable of much greater speeds and there have been tests and studies done where fiber has been used to transfer data up to 160 Tbps which makes it 10,000x faster than modern day residential high speeds. This means those speeds available to the public will increase in coming years.

To put it in simple terms, fiber is capable of keeping up with even the heaviest of internet consumption. Connecting computers, smart phones, gaming consoles, streaming services, tablets, smart watches, connected home devices, servers, Alexa and other AI’s; and any other device that been internet connected. Fiber upload speeds are also one of the major differences between traditional copper cabling connections. Cable and DSL are asymmetrical speeds, meaning that download speeds are far faster than upload speeds.

Because most people are using their internet to download information as opposed to upload those differences in speed don’t really hurt day to day life. But for businesses (especially when working from home) having higher upload speeds is also important. For things like VoIP, video conferencing, cloud computing, database management, server maintenance and more fiber will be far faster because the upload speeds which are required for these activities are far superior.

Fiber Internet vs. DSL and Cable

All of these connections transmit data (internet signals) in similar ways. They use the computer language known as binary (a series of numbers consisting only of zero’s and one’s) through the systems cables. The main difference is the fact that fiber internet uses fiber-optic cables which sends light signals and DSL/cable use copper wiring which sends a more traditional electrical signal.

Because fiber uses light signals which travel at or near the speed of light it is far more efficient than standard electrical signals. There is also less degradation over greater distances such as the corner office that is the furthest point away from the central connection hub of your building. With fiber that distance won’t make a difference but with traditional copper cabling the further away from the central point a user is the weaker their connection becomes.

Not only-is the fiber connection more efficient in sending and receiving data but it is also physically smaller than traditional copper wire lines. This means more glass strands which send the fiber signal can be combined which therefore leads to greater connection speeds. This also makes bandwidth greater and prevents network slowdowns.

Who is Fiber Internet Suitable For?

Every business, organization, school district, hospital, and government agency can benefit from the speed and reliability offered by fiber internet. If you’re a small family owned baker you probably won’t need the entire system put in place. Medium to large companies, on the other hand, who are using traditional copper wiring as opposed to fiber will see a difference in the speed at which they conduct business in comparison to some of their competitors. If you do international business, run websites, have internal data bases, store and source records, upload content, upload documents, run high bandwidth programs, and more; you’re ready for a fiber-optic speed upgrade.

Can I Get Fiber Internet Here in Westchester County?

The short answer is yes. Because of the population density, number of businesses, and distance from central connection hubs around the New York metro area, fiber internet is available in Westchester and the surrounding area. But not all fiber internet providers are created equal and many of them will try to sell you services in an a la carte fashion. Through a full service fiber-optic installation company you can get the best of both worlds. The best connection speeds in the businesses at the lowest rates. Then if you combine proprietary VoIP for business and cloud services you get the all-in-one solution that will bring your business into the 21st century.

For the best Fiber Internet Provider Westchester County NY, look no further than 30 years of local expertise right here at Top Line Communications. We live where we operate right here in the lower New York region and are proud members of the WBC (Westchester Business Counsel). Call us today for a consultation and see how we can upgrade your businesses communications and save you money at the same time. Stay safe from all of us here at TopLineCommunications.com 1-888-426-8647

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Best Westchester NY Business Phone Systems for Returning to the Office

Since the start of the pandemic, being prepared for remote working has become more. But now we’re seeing it all over the country, including here in Westchester, NYC, and the Tri-State area; people are heading back to offices. Many folks have resumed their commutes (even if only a few days a week) and are back at the office doing work. This is good news for a few reasons outside of the obvious good sign we’re doing well on the virus, it’s good news for business owners.

Westchester NY Office Work is NOT Dead

Best Westchester Business Phone Systems

Best Westchester  NY Business Phone Systems

What we see around the country as more and more people head back into work is the importance of office collaboration. Yes, working remotely was fun for a while and some companies even excelled, but the fact remains that we are social creatures, and we work better when we are physically together. Many companies are resuming limited in-office work 2 or 3 days a week and that means a return to working with your business phone system.

A huge number of companies who have moved most or all of their staff to remote work for the time being. This means there are incredibly cheap deals for business phones and services right now throughout the market. Smart companies took advantage of these deals and overhauled their in-office phone networking in a few keyways.

  • New fiber installations
  • New VoIP systems
  • New handsets + devices
  • New cloud storage + management
  • And more

Because your business communication tools are so important to getting things done day in and day out, you should seriously be looking at your current setup. Let’s see why.

Reliability & Speed

Working from home many of us have seen how VoIP for business functions with a poor home internet connection. Dropped calls, spotty service, hazy video, lag/delays, failed attachment delivery, and more have caused some major headaches. Using a system like business VoIP is only as good as the infrastructure it is running on. If you’re conducting an important work call and are about to close a new client when your call drops out at the most crucial moment, you could lose a sale. Times this with spotty reliability and that risk is compounded. You shouldn’t be fighting your business phone system to get work done.

Good systems require good infrastructure. This means that if your using VoIP for business on an outdated copper wired internet system, there are some major limitations. Firstly, desks further away from the central server connection point will have slower web speeds than those closer to the hub. This can be a major problem for office spaces that are large with a lot of employees connected at once. A fiber-optic installation eliminates that problem. No matter if you’re sitting at the server room or the furthest possible office location from the server, the speeds do not change.

With older internet systems the more users on the system the slower that system will operate. Also, the further you are from the connection point the slower speeds will be. This is bad news for important calls or video conferences. Fiber-optics speed and reliability are unmatched with the current technology.

Scalability & Growth

A major limitation to traditional business phone systems is the lack of built-in scalability. If we’re talking about adding phones and users to VoIP for business, that is simple stuff. If we’re talking about adding those same users via VoIP onto an already taxed traditional copper internet system, those users will stretch the available bandwidth even thinner. This means a poorer connection for everyone on the system.

Through a fiber-optic installation you ensure that no matter how many users need to be added to the current network it will be able to handle that increase in needed bandwidth. This is how VoIP for business with Fiber-Optics makes growth possible. If you’re a company of 20 now and need to add 20 more lines, you won’t experience a slow-down.

You simply add users through the VoIP system by creating a unique username and password. Because fiber-optic is being used for the connection, no number of users can over tax the internet infrastructure. Growing businesses who were at the limit of their bandwidth capacity have not upgraded to a complete fiber installation.

What are the Best Westchester NY Business Phone Systems?

We’ve seen from above that the fastest, most reliable, and most growth friendly business phone systems are systems which use two things:

So, if you’re company is back at the office (even if just a few days a week) you can take advantage of the phone service deals that are happening around the industry right now. The industry as a whole has taken a hit (like most businesses right now) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But what that means for you as a business owner is huge savings to take advantage of.

Think of it this way, if many companies are going remote and Westchester business phone providers are hurting for clients, you can get a great deal on a new installation or upgrade. Many companies have already taken advantage of this fact as most do not want to keep their employees working remotely anymore than they have to.

If your at the office now, a few days a week, or will go back soon; now is the time to take advantage of industry low prices.

For the Best Westchester Business Phone Systems, look no further than over 30 years of local expertise, right here at Top Line Communications. Call today for a consultation and see how we can reduce your costs, get you set up from home, and bring your businesses phone systems into the 21st century. Stay safe from the entire team and we can get through this if we work together! 1-888-426-8647

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SIP Trunking & Cost Saving Phone Solutions

SIP Trunking Westchester NY

Working from home? Back at the office? No matter how your business is operating right now, the need for high-quality low-cost phone services hasn’t changed. But with the current technology like VoIP, the cloud, traditional cabling, and SIP trunking; knowing what will best fit your requirements and budget may not seem as straightforward as you may think. Let’s take a look at what SIP trunking is and how it can reduce your costs while improving your business phone systems.

What is SIP Trunking?

SIP Trunking Westchester NY

SIP Trunking Westchester NY

SIP Trunking is a mode of sending voice and other communication services through an IP (internet protocol). In other words, through the internet. SIP trunking supersedes traditional phone services because it is more reliable and lower in cost. Because SIP trunking utilizes the internet to make connections, a hard-wired connection between two points is not required to make a call. Where when using traditional phone lines a physical connection must be present. 

SIP trunks operate as virtual phone lines that let users connect to other phone numbers around the globe. As of 2020, nearly 60% of businesses in the United States are using SIP trunking with that number increasing year by year and it’s no mystery why. Improved call quality, reduced costs, and scalability (to name a few). 

SIP Channels (Calls)

Every SIP trunk uses SIP channels which are essentially the same as a single inbound or outbound call. SIP trunks can hold an unlimited number of channels (“calls” or “lines”) at one time. If a company will need to make more calls they will need more channels. It also makes adding channels far easier as it is not done through physical phone line wiring. 

Differences of SIP and VOIP

SIP and VOIP are very similar to one another and can be used interchangeably, but they are different. “VoIP” just means any call placed over the internet which can include many different forms of technology, SIP being one of those forms of technology. SIP is a type of technology that enables VoIP to be possible. See our article on Working from Home with VoIP

SIP Ensures Quality of Service (QoS)

SIP allows for improved Quality of Service (QoS) because it prioritizes voice calls over other forms of data traffic. This is important because phone calls require clear communication on both ends of the call. Delays in signal strength in a network can lead to dropped calls or broken up calls which can be very bad for business. SIP allows you to enable QoS to ensure that audio quality will be high during calls, even when there is a lot of data taxation on the system. Calls will gain the main priority of data which maintains the priority of clarity on calls. 

Why SIP?

There are lots of different reasons why SIP will be good for your business. One of the largest is the reduction in your communications costs. Low monthly costs for unlimited local and international long-distance calls are often bundled together and SIP can be customized to fit your specific requirements. Also, SIP services allow you to pay for channels (lines) on a need basis and you can easily add more channels over time as needed. A quick list of the benefits include:

  • Cost reduction
  • Scalability (Growth)
  • Improved call quality
  • Built-in continuity
  • Network consolidation
  • Unified Communications
  • Video, conferencing, app integration
  • SMS messaging
  • Screen Sharing
  • and so much more

You don’t need to be a business phone specialist to take advantage of SIP. But not all communications companies are created equal and who you hire to set up, install, and maintain your SIP network can make a big difference in your costs and productivity over time. 

For the best in SIP Trunking Westchester NY, look no further than 30 years of local expertise right here at Top Line Communications. We live where we work, right here in Westchester County. Call today for a consultation and see how SIP trunking can improve your business communications today. 

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