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Do you have a Back Up Plan if your PRI/T-1 Fails?

Many of you may have a PRI or a T-1 circuit connected to your business telephone system as your main source of dial tone. A T-1 has 24 channels (trunks) and a PRI has 23 channels for voice communications. Each channel serves as a single telephone trunk/line and can conduct a call with the outside world; it is the same as having 23 or 24 separate phone lines. Unlike traditional analog (copper) lines, telephone numbers are not assigned to each channel. Going forward we will refer to both types of circuits as a PRI.

PRO TIP: Contact Comtex for your Bergen County business telephone systems services.

What happens if this PRI circuit goes down?

What happens if this PRI circuit goes down? You lose your ability to make and receive calls. This can be disastrous to your bottom line because you have the potential to lose money and customers. There are several points of failure; the carrier’s central office, the cabling from the central office to your location, carrier provided equipment and your telephone system. If any of these points fail, callers will hear a ring with no answer or a fast busy. Even worse, they will not reach your office. The worst possible outcome is that the caller is impatient or thinks you are out of business and calls another vendor.

There are some ways to minimize this potential business nightmare.

First, you can install back up telephone lines from a different carrier that are different in form (technology); i.e. copper, FIOS, cable or SIP phone lines. This way if the PRI goes down, you still have alternative dial tone connected and working in your phone system. Once they are connected to your system, you have your PRI carrier program your PRI with direct trunk overflow (DTO). In the event of a PRI failure, all calls made to your main telephone number will automatically be forwarded to the backup lines in the phone system. In this scenario, the number of back up lines connected to the system will limit the number of incoming simultaneous calls.

With DTO, there should be minimal disruption in service. Keep in mind that you may only receive as many calls as the number of backup lines in the system. If the number of incoming calls forwarded exceed the number of backup lines, the callers will hear a busy signal because there are no open lines to reach your telephone system. For example, if you have 4 backup lines in the system, the fifth incoming call cannot reach you phone system and you will not get that call. Typically, we suggest 4 backup lines because circuits are usually not down more than 1 hour. Please keep in mind that some carriers charge a monthly fee for DTO but it is well worth the cost if you want to ensure the continuity of your business.

Another strategy to maximize the number of incoming calls received during a PRI outage is to have Direct Inward Dial (DID) numbers configured on your PRI. In addition to a company’s published main telephone number, a PRI circuit can provide a block of telephone numbers for calling a company. Much like assigning an email address to each employee, each DID serves as a dedicated telephone number assigned to an individual employee. It allows an outside caller to directly reach the employee’s extension without the assistance of an automated attendant or operator. For more information on DIDs, please see this blog. Once employees have assigned DIDs, the PRI carrier can program DTO for all of the DIDs. Upon a PRI failure, each DID is forwarded to the employee’s cell phone. While these calls will not be routed to the phone system, at least they will be answered by the intended recipient or the employee’s cell phone voice mail.

Take note that not all carriers will provide DTO to multiple alternative telephone numbers. If they do, you should find out if there is an additional charge and whether it is automatically effectuated upon a PRI failure. Some carriers that offer this option may provide the service but it will not be automatic; the carrier may require the customer to visit a portal to initiate the call forward for each telephone number (DID).

If you choose not to pay the monthly fee for DTO, you have the option to call the carrier when you realize the PRI is down. However, keep in mind that it may take a bit of time for you to realize the outage and then to reach the carrier to effectuate the call forward (DTO). Some carriers will not commit to implementing the call forward immediately, claiming it takes some time to process the request.

If you already have DTO service on your PRI, we highly recommend a call to your PRI carrier to confirm the telephone number assigned for the DTO upon failure. We know of at least one client that was paying the monthly fee for DTO but the carrier failed to program the call forward telephone number in the DTO service. Unfortunately, this came to light when the PRI failed and they were not receiving the calls on the backup lines installed in the system. It is also imperative to confirm they have the correct telephone number for DTO.

Take into consideration that there are carrier charges for DIDs and in most cases, DTO. In addition, there may also be equipment and/or labor charges from your telecom vendor to connect back up trunks in the system.  Please contact your carrier and telecom vendor to discuss these business continuity considerations.

 

Call us at 201-935-2000 to discuss your redundancy needs for your phone system if your PRI or T-1 fails. Take a look at Comtex Inc on the map below. Comtex is here for you to answer any questions you have.

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Read This Before You Invest in a New Telephone System

There are many things to consider before investing in a new telephone system. While the equipment is extremely important, there are other factors that must be a part of the process; dial tone, system features and the vendor.

Your vendor is truly the most important part of this process. They will guide you through the process and you will rely on them to make this a smooth transition. After all, if your system does not work, you have no connection to your clients.

Most phone systems are the same with a few exceptions in features offered; the biggest decision is whether to use a hosted solution or invest in an on premise system. The more important decision is the vendor you choose to implement your communication platform. You should align your business with a vendor, like Comtex, who has the ability, experience and product knowledge to get the best out of your investment, through effective programming, repair and ongoing support.

Comtex has evidenced its business longevity in the telecom field with over 56 years of customer support and satisfaction.

Questions to ask your on premise vendor:

  • How long have you been in business? (evidences experience)
  • How many years have you been a certified dealer for the systems you sell? (evidences experience with programming and service)
  • When did the system come to market?
  • How many technicians do you employ?
  • How many programmers do you employ?
  • Do you offer 24/7 emergency service?
  • Is there a live person during working hours to take my calls?
  • Do you hire subcontractors?
  • Did you offer references?
  • What is your warranty?

Our industry has “trunkers’. A one man shop, with a professional website, with pictures of “employees”. In reality they have no office (they use the home address), no warehouse to stock replacement equipment, hire subcontractors to assist them when they need more manpower and send all incoming calls to a cell phone. This may impact your future service needs.

You want a vendor who has a reputation in the industry; one who will be there for you before, during and after the installation. The true test if after the installation when you need changes, upgrades or support.

DIAL TONE AND INTERNET

You should compile a list of your dial tone carrier(s) and internet provider and a copy of your most recent bills.

The first piece of information you should know is when the carrier contracts expire. You may want or need to switch carriers. Please call your dial tone and internet carriers to confirm the date your contract expires and have them put it in writing. Mark your calendar 2 months prior to that date to investigate other carriers. Also find out when you must give notice in writing to the carrier. (usually 30 days prior to contract expiration).

Your dial tone may impact the features you want to use in your new system. For example, you need a PRI or SIP trunks for DIDs (direct inward dialing), an out of state phone number to ring into your office or to send calls to a cell phone. You should contact your current dial tone carrier(s) if you are under any contract term. You do not want to buy a system and not be able to connect to the type of dial tone that you will need for certain features.

Your will need to contact your internet provider to find out if you have a static IP address and confirm your current bandwidth at your office. The new phone systems require a static IP address to allow the phone vendor to remotely access your phone system for programming and diagnostics. You will also need sufficient bandwidth if you are using IP phone and SIP trunks. Your phone vendor will help you with these things.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

The configuration and features of a system and the cabling in your office, will help your vendor determine which type of system, hosted or on premise, would work best for your company.

  • What type of cabling do you currently have going to your phones? CAT3 voice or CAT5 data?
  • How many telephones do you want in the office?
  • Do you need any analog phones/devices in the system (cordless phone, fax or conference phone)?
  • Do you have more than one office location? If so, do you want the locations connected?
  • Are there any remote (off site) workers that you want connected to the system?
  • Do you want any enterprise features? ACD, voice mail to email, calls to a cell phone, contact center solutions, etc.
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Movie Park Amusement park Upgrades to Mitel Communications Solution

Movie Park, the popular amusement park in Germany, has upgraded it communications system to a Mitel solution. They have enhanced its contact center services, simplified maintenance and lower its annual costs by $17,000 a year. Since opening in 1996, the Park relies heavily on its communications technology to offer superior customer services. The decision to upgrade was guided by implementing future proof technology and integrating its computer telephony integration (CTI) system with Outlook, thereby improving collaboration. Using a single telephone number, along with other new features, the Mitel system will enable representatives to provide customers and travel agencies information faster than before. This will provide a higher level of customer support; a priority to the theme park. They can handle 12% more calls than before.

If you have an interest in  Mitel system, please call us at 201-935-2000 or visit us at https://comtex-nj.com/.

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Hyatt Hotels Prefer Mitel Telephone Systems

Did you know that 70% of Hyatt hotels in North America are using Mitel solutions; 155,500+ rooms. 97,000+ associates. 565+ Hotels and resorts. 50 countries. One communication standard—Mitel.

Mitel’s reputation as a leading provider of hospitality communication solutions has been achieved through a long-term commitment to improve guest experience and increase operational efficiency. Our customers enjoy flexible, scalable and secure communications designed to meet the needs of small and economy hotels through to some of the world’s most famous luxury hotels.

If you have an interest in Mitel’s hospitality solution, please call us at 201-935-2000 or visit our website at comtexinc.com.

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Mitel Partners with Horizon Network Partners!

best 5360e newMitel has officially partnered with Horizon Network Partners, a provider of Ethernet based fiber optic solutions for companies who need broadband technology and telecommunication services to power their businesses. The collaboration adds Mitel’s IP phone system to Horizon Network Partners’ customized suite of technology business solutions. Horizon Network Partners provide IP telephone solutions over a fiber optic network designed to address business communication needs, regardless of size. They also strive to deliver it in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
“Adding this upgraded service option to our portfolio allows us to offer our clients the latest technology, providing extensive communication features, robust call control and support for a wide range of innovative applications,” said Steve Steele, president and chief operating officer of Horizon Network Partners. “We are excited to be partnering with an industry leader like Mitel.”

Comtex has been a Mitel dealer for over 30 years. Please call us for a quote for a Mitel IP telephone system solution.

201-935-2000 or go to our website at comtex-nj.com

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Comtex has a New Website

Comtex has a new website! Please come view it and give us any feedback or comments.

Comtex is a Telephone, CCTV and Access Control vendor. We have been servicing clients for over 55 years.

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Samsung SMT i5230 IP Telephone

The Samsung SMT-i5230 IP Phone has the features to help any office worker get the most out of their working day. It includes a 3.2″ monochrome backlit display and 15 feature keys to make sure that every feature is just one click away.

The Samsung SMT-i5230 IP Phone would look great on any office professional’s desk. It’s features back up it’s design and can make anyones day more efficient. With 15 feature keys, everything is just one click away to make phone calls quicker and easier. The Samsung SMT-i5230 IP Phone is ideal for anyone wanting to have the best features available including executives and managers.

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Samsung SMT i5243 IP Business Telephone

The Samsung SMT i5243 IP Phone is a fully featured executive handset that would be ideal for users who handle a large volume of calls, it is well suited for executives, management, admin staff and contact centre supervisors.

The Samsung SMT i5243 IP Phone has a vibrant graphical colour TFT LCD display. The Samsung SMT i5243 IP Phone has a UC dial in the phone that allows the user to easily change their status to one of three modes; in office, out of office or uc mode. This feature automatically indicates the presence or availability to other users, pre-set call routing options can be set up to forward calls to voicemail or a mobile phone.

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Comtex NJ review on Google Places

Cant get any better service than this! Comtex is seriously awesome. They hooked us up with an awesome phone system for probably half of what the other companies wanted. Fast and friendly service. I conveniently email Cheryl and Anne when I have a question, and they get back to me right away. It’s like they work 24/7!! If you need a phone system or cameras installed, this is the place to go. They are excellent!

Thank you Daniel from Guardian Fence. We apprecaite the wonderful review you left us on Google and have reprinted it on our blog.

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Samsung OS7100 Business Telephone System

The Samsung 7100 business telephone system offers performance right out of the box: A compact hardworking system that expands with your business. An economical business communications solution with converged VoIP capabilities and performance built right into the system.