These are Frequently Asked Questions that our support and sales departments hear from customers. When we receive a new question that we don’t know the answer to, we’ll research it and post the answer here for others to learn about NocTel’s Hosted VoIP services.
What is VoIP and how does it work?
VoIP works over data networks, eliminating the need for separate phone and data connections at every workstation. Phone calls routed through the Public Switched Telephone Network usually travel through wires and switches until they arrive at traditional business phone systems for handling. VoIP providers have IP gateways that convert regular phone calls into data packets that travel over data networks to your place of business.
Some VoIP services may only allow you to call other people using the same service, but others (like NocTel) allow you to call anyone who has a telephone number – including local, long distance, mobile, and international numbers. VoIP service users can choose to make and receive phone calls on their computer, using a VoIP phone or you can use a traditional analog phone connected to a VoIP adapter.
Small business owners, managers, and technicians can log into their NocTel control panel using a web browser to configure extensions, voice mail, and a variety of other business-related features.
Why should I switch to VoIP?
There are a number of great reasons to switch your business to VoIP and select NocTel as your VoIP provider. One of the big reasons is savings! For most companies with more than one line, we can usually save you on your monthly phone bill. Other reasons include a flexible system that you can manage yourself using our web-based control panel interface, great customer support where you don’t have to wait on hold for hours, and the many features our system can offer you and your business. Additionally, all implemented features and future features are available standard to all customers – no feature tiers wrangled into paywalls!
What is a Codec?
What are some of the features NocTel offers?
NocTel offers a number of features. Here are just a few: web-based control panel, customized greetings, call forwarding, free extension to extension dialing, auto attendant menus, voicemail, and HD Fax. The full feature list can be viewed here.
Can I keep my old Telephone Number?
Yes, you can! In most cases your old numbers are portable to the NocTel system, and we offer free porting for our customers.
What is porting and how long does it take?
Porting is the process of having your old phone provider release your phone numbers so they can be added to your NocTel account.
Porting times vary from case to case, and by provider. Some providers offer automated porting features, while others still use a manual paper process which will take longer. To ensure a smooth porting process, it is important to get NocTel all the requested information for the porting quickly, and to ensure that it is correct and doesn’t need to be changed after submitting.
For instance, if NocTel submits a port request for all numbers on your account, but then you decide you need to keep a land line for an alarm system, analog faxing, back up line, etc. the porting process has to be cancelled and then restarted from the beginning.
What type of equipment will I need in order to use NocTel?
When deciding to switch to NocTel, one of our Customer Experience Engineers will come to your site and do a survey to help you decide what type of equipment is ideal for your location. Your installation may include Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches, phone handset types, fax adaptors, and equipment to integrate with an internal paging system.
At a minimum, most installations will require a PoE switch and one or more VoIP phones.
My fire/security alarm currently works via a telephone line. Can I still switch to NocTel?
Yes, you can still switch! NocTel can share your Internet connection with Internet-enabled alarm systems. We encourage you to contact your alarm company and go over which options they have available for running an alarm without a POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) landline. Alternatively, you may wish to keep one land line for data services such as fax, alarm, etc..
My credit card machine works via a phone lines, what do I need to do to be able to use my machine with NocTel?
Most newer credit card processing machines have the ability to work over an Internet/Ethernet connection, rather than a telephone line. It is simply a matter of contacting your bank/machine provider and having them walk you through setting up card processing over Ethernet. Most machines have a contact label on the side or bottom of the base with the bank’s support number.
What type of security does your system use? Is the phone line encrypted?
Just like analog phone lines the audio is not encrypted. We have plans to add a feature to encrypt VoIP phone to VoIP phone calls, but calls to PSTN can never be encrypted as the analog phones wouldn’t know how to decrypt the audio information.
How does the NocTel equipment integrate with my current network?
We use a Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch to power the phones we install at your site. We install the PoE Switch in your server room/closet, and connect it to the Internet and your current network. We then use your existing network cables to connect the phones to the PoE switch. The phone is connected directly to the PoE switch, and then using the extra (pass-thru) connection port on the phone, you can connect a computer or other Ethernet device.
What happens if we lose power or Internet connection on site?
While most Internet connections today are fairly stable, power and Internet outages do still happen. However, NocTel does have various options for customers during these times!
Forwarding Service: One option is to have your calls forwarded to a line outside the outage area. This could be to an offsite answering service, a cell phone, or if to a site not affected by outage if your organization has multiple sites of operation. Because NocTel’s data centers are in hardened facilities, they will be online, available and routing phone calls – even if your building is not.
Physical Relocation of the Phone: Because VoIP does not use physical phone lines, you can move your phone to any location with a functioning and reliable Internet connection and still receive calls. Simply plug the phone in to an active Internet connection and provide it power through a PoE injector adaptor, and you can work from anywhere, including home.
Our office places calls on hold on distinct lines for other department to pick up. Does the NocTel system have this feature?
VoIP does not use physical lines like analog telephone systems, so calls are not handled or linked to a physical line. Instead, a call arrives at an extension and is linked to the extension that answers the call. However, transfers can be done to send the call to a new extension. NocTel listens to our customers and therefore, we are currently researching a Call Parking feature that will work similarly to the way analog systems handle holding a call on a line. This new feature will allow you to “park” a call on the system which can then be picked up by another extension without using transfer.
What do I need to do to prepare for a smooth Installation?
In order to ensure a successful installation, we ask on-boarding customers to have the following items taken care of before the install date:
1. A supported fiber Internet connection with speeds of at least 50 Mbps for most offices. Consult with your NocTel Customer Experience Engineer for analysis of your existing Internet utilization.
2. Certified Cat5e or Cat6, 8-conductor network cables installed from a central location containing a network switch to within 6’ of the location that each telephone device will be located. If during installation, wires are found to be faulty it will be the customer’s responsibility to replace them. Also, if more than 6’ of cable are required to connect the phone, the customer may be charged for the extra cables.
3. Router and switches at each site that are capable of having the Quality of Service (QoS) feature enabled in order to prioritize voice traffic over any best-effort data traffic.
4. Technical staff that have access and can configure the customer’s routers, switches, VLANs, QoS and Internet Providers per NocTel’s specifications for optimal VoIP Performance.
5. If there is an alarm system, you will need to withhold those line(s) from the NocTel porting process or convert them to use an Ethernet or cellular connection.
6. Any other device that works over standard landlines such as credit card machines, must be switched to work over Ethernet.
7. A signed Letter of Authorization and most recent copy of current phone bill.
8. A list of current extensions including number, name and location (i.e. room number or