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Affordable IT: VoIP for SMBs
In a hosted IP PBX environment, a subscriber uses the broadband IP network as a telephone as well as a data service, without the management and overhead of owning a telephone switch. CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) for VoIP services only requires IP phones or analog-to-digital converters for analog phones.
With new VoIP premise-based and hosted services on the rise, the TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association) predicts a reduction in Centrex, KTS and conventional TDM-based PBX lines through the year 2008 (see chart below).
Shift Toward VoIP
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To assess this prediction, we created CollectIT, a fictitious debt-collection service based in Metropolis. The small business currently uses a Metropolis Monopoly KTS with 25 dedicated phones. CollectIT also has a broadband cable network supplied by Metropolis Media with business-class service--3 Mbps downstream and 512 Kbps upstream. It only uses the broadband connection for Internet searches to find delinquent debtors. CollectIT has been hearing all the vendor hype about how VoIP over broadband for residential services can drastically reduce phone bills, and it's wondering about the availability of a business-class VoIP service over broadband using cable or DSL technology.
To help CollectIT explore its options, we invited 10 vendors that supply VoIP services for SMBs using a hosted IP PBX solution--one not tied to their own broadband networks, such as a regional carrier or a local cable company--to participate in tests at our Real-World Labs® at Syracuse University.
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