Digital Phones in the Internet Age

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IP, VoIP, Hosted, and Cloud have become the interchangeable buzz words for the future of SMB & Enterprise phone systems. But this system simply isn’t viable for all business (See Prepping for the Cloud for more information regarding infrastructure requirements). If you own your building or have an existing system running off old 66 Blocks & Digital Phones, you often do not have the budget to replace both the system and the wiring. Fear not! Digital phone systems are still available, and they are the tried-and-true work horses of the commercial world.

First, consider a new digital phone system. With NEC Phone Systems, our most popular system, you are sure to receive a long lasting, extremely reliable, easy-to-use system. These systems can work off traditional 66 blocks if needed, or our experienced ethernet cabling technicians can move that wiring onto patch panels for low cost. This move will help alleviate costs in the future, if your business ever decides to move to an internet-based phone system.

Second, consider a certified refurbished digital phone system. The exciting news with NEC Digital Systems is that often you can replace the whole or just the part. Need to replace or upgrade your 20-year old system, but don’t have the money for all new? Replace the guts & keep the phones! Our loyal NEC customers often find this offers an extreme upgrade (often required when upgrading to new voice/internet services from your local carriers Spectrum, Grande, CenturyLink, etc) in functionality, while also allowing you to reuse those phones & wiring. Refurbished systems can also be fully swapped for much lower costs than new systems, while also utilizing your existing infrastructure.

Last, consider the unique traits of digital phone systems, which easily become inconvenience if not prepped.

  1. Digital systems require a dedicated wire at all locations, unlike VoIP phones which can allow computers to piggy-back off their connection
  2. Each user/phone requires a hardware port on the physical phone system. This means adding users requires hardware both at the PBX Chassis (the box in your server room) and the workstation (the phone itself). Typically, we recommend prepping your system for maximum office capacity if budget allows.
  3. Ports must be activated. A port is the voice/ethernet connection at the wall. This port must be tied to the phone system in order to allow a digital phone to connect. Unlike VoIP, this port actually holds the programming of the phone. This means if a user would like to move their EXT, one of two things must happen: the new location must be activated/cross connected to the correct EXT on the phone system; the EXT must be “swapped” with the programming at the new location. Telco Data recommends activating all ports during the initial installation. This allows admin users comfortable with the NEC WebPro web-based programming software to move the EXT without assistance from a technician. If you don’t have such a user, Telco Data can walk someone thru the relocation over the phone for reduced remote programming rates. Ports can only be fully activated, if the system was built to hold the max number of users (see point #2)

Digital systems may seem outdated or irrelevant, but when it comes to reliability and lower retrofitting costs, they can often be the brilliant new system your business needs to stay connected. Contact Telco Data today to discuss if a Digital Phone System is right for you. For more information on VoIP or Hosted Business Phone Systems see Systems Tailored to You: A Guide to the Business Phone Systems of Telco Data.

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