[Select the question to see the answer below …]
If there’s a [missing!] question you’d like answered, regarding 3CX and/or VoIP in general, please use our ‘contact us‘ page and we’ll get an answer back to you as fast as we can …
1: Do we need new telephone numbers with a VoIP phone system?
A: In almost every case, you can port existing BT [& other carriers] numbers from analogue or ISDN lines, to a VoIP system. In other words, you can take your business numbers with you, no matter where you go! This porting process also ceases those old lines. We can also provide new [or port existing] Direct Dial Inward (DDI) numbers based on any UK area codes, and can provide non-geographic e.g. 0843 numbers for your system.
This process can get complicated when the number you want to port, is the line that also carries the ADSL service that you want to use for VoIP! In these cases, we have to arrange the install of a new line and move your ADSL broadband to it, as the porting process will de-commission your existing line. Sounds messy, but leave it to us …
2: What happens to my phone numbers if I move my VoIP phone system?
A: When your calls are delivered via SIP Trunk channels across Internet (see below), then your numbers go with you, no matter where you want to move your business to (even another country!). This removes all ‘hassles’ about moving to a different exchange, and about mail-shooting new contact details to your client base, etc. – as all you need is a DSL service to plug your VoIP-PBX system into at your new offices and your calls will immediately arrive on the same numbers and extensions as they did before …
3: I’m moving my office. Should I consider VoIP for my new telephone system?
A: YES – business relocation is an ideal time to consider VoIP! – and not just because you’ll probably need a new phone system anyway! Implementing VoIP at this time has business and cost advantages that are very significant; for example:
Broadband internet services can be arranged at your new premises, to go-live when you move in, and these will provide for all your business needs including Internet and telecom’s.
Number porting can be arranged to coincide with your move, so that your business numbers move with you. This means that there is no need for a campaign to notify your client base that you have new phone numbers. The porting also ceases your old lines – so no need to arrange for service cancellations.
Data cabling is simplified, because computers and telephones use the same cat.5e or cat.6 data cabling and have the same type of [RJ-45] network connection plugs and sockets. In places where cabling is ‘minimal’, the phone and a PC can even share the same data connection. With planning, VoIP phones can even use Wireless network if necessary.
VoIP uses the same Local Area Network (LAN), and Internet access structure as your IT system, and therefore, planning and building a VoIP network will provide you with a high-quality IT network too.
4: Is this VoIP system like Skype?
A: Well, it is and it isn’t … Skype is a point-to-point VoIP service that uses its subscriber’s own PC’s to create a telephone network across the Internet. It’s great for individuals calling each other, but it’s not a ‘one-to-many’ type of system that you need to guide customers through to the best resources in your business. Our 3CX and IPPBX v2820 are fully featured business telephone systems connecting to one or more Carriers who use well maintained, powerful and protected Media Servers on the Internet. These servers are used to onward-connect your calls to local, national, international and mobile services. Since it is a true business IP-PBX with routes to and from Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN), our platforms can provide many call-handling features that it is difficult or impossible for Skype to emulate.
Interestingly enough however, 3CX can terminate ‘Skype Connect‘ trunk lines so that Skype business accounts can be set up and used to enable direct calls into your 3CX extensions from Skype buttons on your website. This means that Skype users out on the Internet, can call into your business (f.o.c.), and you can answer, transfer and/or conference that call just like any other.
If you are new to VoIP, and you have time to invest (grab your coffee & sandwich) – this YouTube video is an excellent ‘Introduction to VoIP‘ tutorial done by ‘Eli the Computer Guy’ (warning – it’s about an hour long, and mildly technical!). Corporate lawyers; please note that opinions expressed about competitors in this video are those of the Producer of this video, and not of Foxhall Solutions Ltd. – OK.
5: Do you recommend using just one broadband line into a business for everything?
A: For a small business – we usually don’t (i.e. we don’t combine web browsing, e-mail and phone calls all on the same Internet connection). Our standard practice is to install a dual-WAN router to ensure that a second line and broadband can be installed into your business to be used exclusively by the VoIP phone system. This – along with correct choice of network components – ensures call quality and clarity (known as ‘Quality of Service’ or QoS).
In a large business however, a single high-bandwidth DSL Ethernet (EFM), Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) or Leased Line DSL Internet service could be used to carry all voice and data traffic, with a Managed router ensuring priority and separation of voice & data on the available bandwidth. In this type of install, a single ‘pipe’ into the world-wide-web covers all your comm’s needs – and significantly reduces costs and on-going monthly service rentals.
Use this Superfast Broadband checker site to get some idea of when high-speed broadband is coming to your [UK] area.
Update … See our blog about our ‘ViBE Enabled‘ SIP Trunks, and getting more VoIP capacity out of ADSL broadband. With products like ViBE in place, we can use one or two standard Broadband connections to carry all voice and data into a business.
6: Do we have to make changes to our existing ICT to accommodate VoIP?
A: YES – we do have to ensure that your Local Area Network (LAN), is capable of carrying both voice and data, and that the voice [VoIP] traffic is given priority on your LAN to ensure call Quality of Service [QoS]. This usually means that we need to upgrade your network hubs & switches. The upgraded switches will also power the phones over the network cabling (known as ‘Power over Ethernet’ or ‘PoE’). Where possible, we do prefer to keep the phones on the same network as the PC workstations, because we can then show 3CX to its full advantage with integrated Microsoft Outlook and dialing from 3CX MyPhone. The alternative would be to isolate the phones using smart-switch VLAN technology, or put them on a totally different network altogether.
In cases where there is only a single data outlet at a desk, it is possible to use the 2-port network switch in the VoIP phone to connect both the user’s PC and phone to the Local network. We can supply phones with Gigabit switching too, so that the phone does not decrease network connection speed in situations where you have both a restricted number of data sockets, and a need for high-speed data transfer (e.g. Graphic Design studios).
If a single high-speed DSL broadband service is being used for voice and data [see 5: above], we also need to ensure that the router is carefully chosen and configured to ensure that the voice services have priority onto and off of the Internet.
See our blog regarding how to set-up your network for VoIP …
See our blog about our ‘ViBE Enabled‘ SIP Trunks, and getting more VoIP capacity out of ADSL broadband.
7: Is a VoIP system still an advantage to us when we have poor broadband speeds in our area?
A: Yes it is … Our 3CX uses ‘Gateways’ – and VigorBX 2000 has in-built analogue line ports – which allow us to terminate ‘traditional’ analogue and digital ISDN2 – and in the case of 3CX, ISDN30 Primary Rate lines, if you are in an area with poor broadband speeds. Unfortunately these services cost more than SIP Trunks delivered on a broadband service – but, the full suite of features offered by 3CX & VigorBX 2000 is still; available, comprehensive, competitive and cost-effective, when compared to other digital PBX systems, which – by the way – would also need to use those same analogue & digital line types. The ability to use the same in-house network to provide your staff with computers and phones, will bring you measurable business benefits.
See our blog about our ‘ViBE Enabled‘ SIP Trunks, and getting more VoIP capacity out of ADSL broadband.
8: How much bandwidth does a telephone call use in a Broadband service?
A: Warning – technical stuff ahead (but you’d only ask this if you were technical!):
We have a choice of codec’s [coding and decoding speech to & from data], that can be used when configuring groups of SIP Trunks on the 3CX IP-PBX. Typically, we have the choice of G.711 (PCM), or G.729 codec’s.
G.711 PCM codec’s carry out very little voice compression, and require around 106Kbps bandwidth to carry each call. G.711 generally provides high-quality calls, but uses more bandwidth than codec’s that use voice compression.
G.729 codec’s compress the voice stream, and require around 43Kbps bandwidth to carry a call. Call quality is generally good and bandwidth usage is very low, but the compression process can introduce some delay and distortion effects – especially if the line and/or DSL quality is not good.
Note that ADSL broadband services are Asymmetrical – i.e. download speeds are much faster than upload speeds – but VoIP needs the same bandwidth in either direction. Therefore, when calculating how many calls a broadband service will carry, we discount the faster download, and must base the calculation on the slower ‘upload’ speed of the service.
Update … See our blog about our ‘ViBE Enabled‘ SIP Trunks, and getting more VoIP capacity out of ADSL broadband.
9: What are SIP Trunks?
A: Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a standard protocol for the control of VoIP telephone calls – and ‘trunks’ have nothing to do with our friend from the order Proboscidea here …
‘SIP Trunks’ are virtual telephone [trunk] lines or channels (provided by an Internet based ‘Carrier’), which use SIP to set-up, clear-down, and generally control calls. These channels are accessed through a DSL service in much the same way as your PC accesses e-mail. They may be provided in groups to enable multiple simultaneous calls to and from your business, and they all use the SIP protocol ‘stack’ to; set-up, divert, transfer and terminate calls.
SIP Trunk channels are used to onward-connect your VoIP telephone system to a telecom’s carrier, in the same way that analogue or digital lines connect you to e.g. a BT PSTN Exchange.
Depending on the quality of broadband delivery in your area, it is possible to support between eight and ten SIP Trunk channels in an average UK ADSL broadband service [i.e. up to 8Mbps down and around 800 Kbps upstream] – allowing up to ten simultaneous calls in or out on those channels. On the other hand, a modern FTTC superfast broadband service could support more that 100 simultaneous calls! A big advantage of SIP Trunks is that they provide all of the functionality of digital ISDN lines (including support of Direct Dial Inward [DDI] numbers, and presenting Caller ID), at a fraction of the cost!
This is an interesting ‘Cisco’ produced YouTube video explaining the fundamentals of SIP … A bit technical – but very well done!
10: How much can SIP Trunks reduce my business costs?
A: Once the DSL service(s) is installed at your office, SIP Trunk channel groups may be assigned as accounts into the 3CX or IPPBX v2820 system, and channels may be added, or even removed from the system as required. You can even get SIP Trunk groups from different suppliers, to take advantage of preferential rates (e.g. if your company does business with China, then you may use trunk channels from a supplier who gives a good call tariff into China). Since the channels are ‘virtual lines’ they can typically be assigned within 24 hours, at zero install cost, and adding only a few £’s per month to your phone bill.
As an example, adding a BT ISDN2e (2 channel) line to a traditional PBX, would take a lead time in excess of 14 days, would cost £249 to connect, and would cost £14.28 per channel, per month (assuming BT’s ‘Start up’ package and 12 month contract).
In comparison – adding two equivalent SIP Trunk channels can be done within 24 hours of order, with a connection cost of £0.00 and would cost just £2.00 per channel, per month! Spot the difference!!!
Installs of 3 or 4 ISDN2 lines (6 or 8 channels), can be as much as seven times more expensive to install, and three times more expensive in regard to monthly rental (even taking the VoIP line and broadband rental into account!). See these comparison graphs … In addition, while ISDN number ranges are determined by the location of the PSTN Exchange, SIP Trunk DDI numbers can be set up with any UK area code, making it possible for your business to present itself to its advantage, and react quickly to change.
In situations where a business is running several branch-offices, it is possible to have one central 3CX IP-PBX system supporting remote extensions at those branches – connecting between offices via Internet. This brings significant cost savings; because you don’t need separate PBX systems at each branch office – and – through consolidation of trunk-lines. A central ‘pool’ of lines can be used by the whole company, rather than having to install ISDN or analogue lines at each office. In general, when this approach is taken, you will find that less line/channels are required overall – and of course, SIP Trunk lines are a fraction of the cost of ISDN and analogue. Incoming calls can be routed out to extensions at the branches using DDI numbers with appropriate area codes.
Read a Case Study about Honda’s use of SIP Trunks …
11: If SIP Trunks rely on broadband, will we still be able to make calls if broadband fails?
A: Yes – We supply [and recommend] optional analogue and cellphone gateways for 3CX systems. Therefore – with these in place, and with network fallback also in place – we can configure automatic fail-over to the analogue line numbers delivering broadband to your systems (and/or the cellphone network too) – for calls both into and out of your company. This effectively gives three different paths for your calls … therefore, VoIP systems can be much more reliable than ‘traditional’ telephone lines!
The Draytek VigorBX 2000 has two analogue line ports, and therefore, one or both lines being used to deliver broadband for VoIP and Internet services, can be terminated and used as a fall-back line[s] for both incoming and outgoing calls.
Our carrier partner can configure fall-back numbers against all of the DDI numbers carried by your SIP Trunk group. This means that if a call cannot get to you through the Internet, it will automatically drop to your alternate number, which can be the line delivering your broadband, or a mobile. You may elect to have a chain of up to four alternate numbers. Unlike e.g. BT PSTN lines, this process is automatic, so you do not have to ‘arrange‘ a call divert during the fault period – and service automatically restores when your DSL service comes back on line.
12: What do I need to set up a phone as a Home-Office extension for my staff?
A: In most cases, as long as the person has broadband at their home, it is possible for us to just pre-configure a VoIP phone, courier it to them, and have them plug it into their broadband router. The phone then ‘finds’ the 3CX system through the Internet and they are ready to make and take calls within minutes.
Status LED’s and/or display icons indicate successful registration, and the phone will then operate as part of the company 3CX extension group. Calls between home and office 3CX extensions [‘internal’ calls] are free of charge, and calls to outside numbers will go via the trunk channels at the head-office, and be billed centrally. Remote phones may even be members of 3CX call queues and call groups – and can be ‘clones’ of extensions at the office i.e. a call to your extension will ring at home and at the office.
13: Can I use my Microsoft Outlook or SAGE ACT! contacts database as a phone directory?
A: Yes you can. 3CX has a CRM Integration application that allows you to make calls directly from your Microsoft Outlook or Sage ACT! contacts database, so that these shared databases can be used as telephone directories by all of your staff.
Optional 3CX integration modules may be purchased for; Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and SugarCRM. It is also possible to make incoming calls ‘screen-pop’ contact data matching the caller ID of the incoming call.
3CX integrates with Google Contacts to pop contact data for incoming calls. This 3CX ‘CRM Integration’ plugin retrieves contact information from Google Contacts, shows the contact details in a screen pop-up, opens the contact record in Google Contacts, creates a new contact if the inbound caller is not found, and saves the call information in the contact’s notes.
If you have a bespoke requirement to make calls from another type of CRM application or database, Foxhall will introduce you to Qton – our Development partners – who can make it possible to integrate your business data with 3CX.
14: Will we keep contact with our customers while you are installing our new IPPBX?
A: Yes – in most cases you will – This is because a new VoIP system can be installed along-side your existing phone system. When your numbers ‘port’ across to the SIP Trunk circuits, incoming calls will then ring your VoIP extensions – and your old phones can be de-installed. Typically we arrange the use of a temporary divert number, so that calls going to your existing company number, will divert onto the new system, while the porting process is progressing. That means that your new phone system is available for use from the day we install it.
15: What ‘Disaster Recovery’ (DR) mechanisms can be put in place around 3CX?
A: 3CX systems lend themselves to many DR strategies:
The 3CX server, network switches, phones & router can be run from a central Uninterrupted Power Supply [UPS] unit, keeping your phones & system operational during short-term mains power failures.
Foxhall’s Carrier partners are capable of setting automatic fail-over strategies so that if calls cannot reach you due to e.g. broadband failure, then alternative numbers such as land-line and mobiles will be used to get the calls to you.
Foxhall install USB memory on all 3CX servers, and back-up 3CX system and configuration changes to that memory. This means that it is quick and easy to create a ‘clone’ of the 3CX server on any other PC, to re-create the telephone system in the case of hardware fail of the 3CX server machine. Automatic back-up’s may also be scheduled out-of-hours to ensure that you have the latest system configuration to restore in case of an emergency.
SIP Trunks are location independent, and therefore if a company needs to set up a temporary office at another location, the 3CX system can be moved & plugged into any DSL service – and it will then receive all its calls – on all the company numbers – as it did before the move.
16: What software licensing, hardware and Operating Systems are required for 3CX?
A: A 3CX system may be configured to support from one to thousands of extension phones, and may use SIP compliant phones from a multitude of vendors. Therefore, 3CX gets its revenue from sales of 3CX software licenses & leaves hardware choice and integration to Certified resellers like Foxhall Solutions. However, 3CX Systems are not licensed on a per-user basis. Instead, each 3CX VoIP server must be licensed to support a number of Simultaneous Calls (SC). 3CX systems can be licensed for; 4SC, 8SC, 16SC, 32SC, 64SC, 128SC, 256SC, 512SC & 1024SC – with capability to ‘bridge’ several 3CX systems together to reach higher capacities when needed. This means that in planning a 3CX system for you, it is important that we determine the peak call traffic to, from & within your business. Further software options are available to provide Call Centre and Hotel modules for the 3CX systems in each of the license bands.
Note that 3CX allow download and install of an unlicensed ‘3CX demo’ version [see 18: below], but this will only allow 2 Simultaneous Calls, and has a reduced feature set. You can view a feature list and comparison here …
License purchase for a new 3CX system, includes 12 months Software Maintenance (SM), renewable on the anniversary of the system installation. 3CX SM enables the system to be upgraded with the latest feature additions and enhancements as they are rolled-out by 3CX. Foxhall recommend that Software Maintenance subscriptions are kept current, as 3CX pay attention to product development requests from customers & resellers and make these available regularly & automatically for download to licensed systems with current SM subscriptions. 3CX Generally produce one major system update per year, which is available to all 3CX systems with current software maintenance.
Use this link to see a list of Operating Systems supported by 3CX.
Use this document as a guide to select hardware to use as a 3CX Server.
17: Is it possible to voice-record 3CX calls?
A: Yes – it is possible to voice-record 3CX calls. Call recording is a standard feature included with the 3CX feature set, and may be implemented at no additional cost – except that you may have to provide for additional data storage on your network (depending on how long you need to keep the recordings). Recording may be implemented for 3CX users on an extension-by-extension basis. A global setting then assigns local hard disk (or network storage), resources, as the target for the recorded files. Each recording is date/time stamped and identified with the caller ID number (if not withheld), and the number of the ring-group or extension that took the call. Calls are then stored in folders identified with the extension number of the user that took or made the call.
Record-on-demand may be initiated from 3CXPhone for Windows [soft] phones, and from programmed keys on Yealink desk-phones.
Specific calls may be retrieved using their file name which includes; date, time, caller ID, dialled number and group or extension ID – using standard Microsoft file-search tools. Call recordings may also be found and played using the comprehensive search filter of the call logging facility that is a standard feature of 3CX. If you have a compliance requirement and wish to delete calls older than ‘x’ months, we can schedule clean-up applications that will purge ‘aged’ recording files on a daily basis.
Note that if you are considering voice-recording your calls, you must be aware of and comply with any statutory regulations regarding recording of telephone conversations in your country or region … For example, UK Telecomm’s regulations place an obligation on the system owner to ensure that both your own users, and the people who call, or are called by your company, are aware that recording is taking place. Also note that planning will be required to determine the amount of local or network storage that will be required to hold the recorded files for the compliance period your business requires.
18: Can I try 3CX before I buy?
A: Yes – you can download 3CX and run it in its limited ‘demo’ form without a license. You can download the latest 3CX software free-of-charge, and then contact us for advice about how it will work best for you. When you have completed your evaluation, contact us to purchase the appropriate 3CX system license [see 16. above] and you are ready to go!
3CX version 11:
Download link: 3CXversion11
Copy & paste this V11 Demo Key to activate 3CX enterprise features (note however, that this key will only allow two simultaneous calls):
You can download a 3CX version 11 manual, from here …
… and you can download the v.11 Windows Client (3CXPhone for Windows), from here.
the following video shows the features available in 3CX version 11:
3CX version 12:
Download link: 3CXversion12
3CX version 12.5:
Download link: 3CXversion12.5
Copy & paste this V12 Demo Key to activate 3CX enterprise features (note however, that this key will only allow two simultaneous calls):
You can download a 3CX version 12 manual, from here …
… and you can download the v.12 Windows Client (3CXPhone for Windows), from here.
The following video shows the features available in 3CX version 12:
3CX version 14:
Download link: 3CXversion14
Copy & paste this V14 Demo Key to activate 3CX enterprise features (note however, that this key will only allow two simultaneous calls):
You can access a 3CX version 14 manual, from here …
… and you can download the v.14 Windows Client (3CXPhone for Windows), from here.
Download 3CXPhone for Android from Google Play
Download 3CXPhone for iPhone from the Apple App Store.
The following video shows what’s new in 3CX version 14:
19: Does 3CX have a central phone-book or directory?
A: Yes – 3CX can use 3rd party contacts or CRM databases as a phone-book (see 13: above). But in addition, 3CX includes an on-screen PC application called ‘3CXPhone‘, which (along with lots of other goodies), provides access to a name & number ‘Company Phonebook’ set up on 3CX via the Management Console. Users simply search and select in 3CXPhone’s phonebook page, select the person they want to call, right-click then select ‘Call number’. A ‘CTI’ process then places the call using your desk-phone. Users can place new names and numbers in the company phone-book, and if ‘Public’ they will be available to all instantly.
This video shows how 3CXPhone adds features & value to your telephone system solution:
20: Can 3CX extensions show me the status of other users?
A: Yes – 3CX ‘MyPhone‘, can display the status [also known as ‘Presence’] of all system extensions using a ‘traffic-light’ system (red = unavailable/Away, green = available/idle, amber = ringing or dialing, blue = in use). Extensions can be grouped so that you expand and view only those relevant, and users can indicate availability using a pull-down menu – to not only show they have left their office, but to also invoke an alternate call plan. Click here, to access the 3CX MyPhone on-line manual and to see how this application can help you.
In addition, button modules can be attached to Yealink desk-phones and configured as Busy Lamp Field (BLF) keys, to show the status of all company phones, as well as to give that user one-touch access to call or transfer calls to any extension. These modules are ideal where you have a person acting as an operator or receptionist answering all incoming calls.
21: What phone-sets can I use with Foxhall’s IP-PBX’s?
A: 3CX and VigorBX 2000 are SIP compliant IP-PBX platforms, and therefore, any manufactured phone-set, or software-based [soft] phone that is SIP compliant, could be used with these systems.
While this opens many possibilities in regard to price, features and quality – as an installer, we have found that it’s really not practical for us to become experts in how all phone types are configured, and how to tie their feature-sets into 3CX or VigorBX 2000. For that reason, we at Foxhall Solutions have installed the Cisco SPA504G and Yealink T22P & T26P phones. Recently, we have adopted the Yealink T41P and T46G phones as our preferred sets. These allow us to meet everyday business needs, as well as the exceptional & unusual needs that we have come across in deploying VoIP platforms into UK businesses.
If you have a need for a ‘Receptionist console’ where calls are answered on behalf of your company, and transferred off to appropriate staff or business divisions – you’ll want to equip the T46G phone with Yealink’s LCD Expansion module. The Yealink EXP40 LCD Expansion Module has been designed to improve the power and flexibility of the T46G Yealink VoIP phones. It features a 160×320 graphic LCD and 20 physical keys, each with a dual-color LED. These LED’s clearly show which function has been selected and the buttons make ‘one-touch’ calls and transfers quick and easy. Each key is dual-level, making 40 programmable keys per module. Each key supports functions that include speed dialing, Direct Station Select with Busy Lamp Field (showing extension status), intercom, call forward/transfer/hold/park/pickup/return. Up to six EXP40 units may be daisy-chained together – if you need that capacity! The Yealink EXP40 is ideal for; receptionists, administrative assistants, Call Center agents, power-users, and executives who need to monitor and manage a large volume of calls on a regular basis.
Some of our customers have needed cordless handsets in situations where it’s not possible to use the 3CX iPhone and Android app’s (see 24 below). The Yealink W52P cordless DECT handset & Base fits this need. The W52H handset is connected to a base station using wireless DECT signalling, and the base-station uses VoIP across the Local Area Network to the IPPBX. Each base station will support up to five separate VoIP extension accounts for five W52H DECT handsets, and will support 4 simultaneous calls. A W52H handset will provide 100 hours standby and 10 hours talk-time between charging (with an open-air range of around 100 metres).
Where extended coverage is needed, an array of RT10 repeater units may be installed around a W52P base station, to maintain call connections across a large area, even while users are on the move.
22: Can VoIP phones be fitted with headsets?
A: Yes – VoIP phones installed by Foxhall Solutions can be fitted with traditional cabled headsets – or DECT wireless headsets using electronic or mechanical ‘Handset Lifters’. Handset lifters allow the call to be answered from up-to 100 metres away, by just pressing a button on the side of the headset! These are perfect for staff who need to be up and about while answering a call (looking through a filing cabinet for example), or for Reception staff – giving them mobility to assist guests. Examples of wireless headsets used with the Cisco and Yealink phones, are the Plantronics CS70N, and the Jabra GN9300 series. The Yealink T46G phone can be fitted with an optional USB Bluetooth module, to support connection of Bluetooth mobile headsets.
23: Can 3CX be used to create a Call Centre?
A: Yes – 3CX licenses may be purchased as ‘standard’ or ‘professional’ editions. The ‘professional’ edition includes Call Centre facilities, and may be applied to systems as small as 4 Simultaneous Calls [4SC]. 3CX Professional edition enables comprehensive Call Centre features, facilities and reporting – including innovative call queue strategies and Unified Communications facilities. Play the following video to see and hear how this works.
24: How well do mobiles integrate with 3CX?
A: Very well! – 3CX has many features that enable a productive partnership between the phone on your desk, and the phone in your pocket! When a user extension is set up in 3CX, the ‘profile’ includes that user’s mobile phone number (and their e-mail address). This makes it possible to put various call routing scenarios in place by just selecting a feature that says – ‘Ring my extension and my mobile at the same time’. Call Forwarding configurations set and accessed via 3CXPhone, make it quick & simple to implement changes that include mobiles. Call forward scenarios may even include simultaneous ringing of your desk and mobile phones … ideal for those who just can’t seem to stay around their desk.
3CX app’s are free to download ( from iTunes & Google Play) for Apple iPhone and Google Android mobiles. These apps enable the configuration of a 3CX extension on the mobile, which can then be used to make VoIP calls using data connections to WiFi or mobile networks – while you are either at or away from your office. You may have a new extension assigned to the 3CX app’, or clone your existing desk-phone, so that calls to your extension or DDI number, will ring at both. This is a quick, easy and low-cost way to provide a member of staff with a home office extension, a way to connect with the office when mobile, or to have the equivalent of a cordless DECT phone for the office.
3CX can also accommodate GSM Gateways configured to route calls to mobile numbers, via mobile SIM cards and wireless GSM networks. This means that calls to mobiles from desk-phones, can be made as mobile-to-mobile calls, without incurring the heavy tariffs usually associated with calling a mobile from a landline.
25: Can 3CX guide incoming calls to groups of users?
A: Yes – Licensed 3CX includes as standard, the ability to configure ‘ring-groups’ and ‘call queues’.
Ring-groups enable an incoming call on a line or DDI number, to be presented to a group of users e.g. the accounts department, or the sales team. 3CX allows you to set up hunt-groups where a list of phone extensions are presented with the call for a pre-set time, in a prioritised sequence – or – may be configured as a simultaneous-ring group, where all extensions ring at the same time, and whoever picks the call first gets connected to it. Ring-group configurations also include overflow strategies to deal with calls that – for whatever reason – can’t be answered, both inside & outside of business hours.
3CX ring-groups can also be configured in a ‘paging’ mode to enable system-wide broadcasts to all or groups of phones – acting as a ‘public address’ system.
Call queues operate like ring-groups in that incoming calls are presented to a group of extensions. However, a queue holds the caller until they can be presented to a free extension in the group and therefore, overflow strategies only apply when pre-set queuing times are exceeded. Queues give you the opportunity to ‘greet’ your caller with a friendly prompt confirming the type of service or department that has been reached – and to even provide a statutory warning if you are recording their calls. Once the caller has heard the greeting, they are presented to the queue where they will hear on-hold music, or a custom message about your company’s products and services. 3CX can also be configured to provide the caller with a regular prompt telling them their position in the call queue.
The call-group and queue facilities described above, are included as standard within licensed 3CX. However – 3CX offers further advanced call queue facilities when its ‘Professional’ edition is installed. Follow this link to see a YouTube video about 3CX Call Centre.
26: How do you configure remote 3CX extensions?
A: Remote extensions are useful to support home-workers and may even be used to provide comm’s for a branch office. The following 3CX VoIP Nugget covers the configuration of remote 3CX extensions, either as stand-alone extensions using STUN to provide routing info back to the 3CX system, or alternatively, using the ‘3CX SIP Proxy Manager’ to connect via a bespoke Tunnel.
27: Is it possible to connect multiple 3CX systems together?
A: While it is possible to have a single [large] strategically located 3CX server supporting all offices and home users in your VoIP phone system, it is also possible to run a network of ‘small’ 3CX IP-PBX’s ‘bridged‘ together, so that although they operate as stand-alone systems, they can route your intra-company internal calls between themselves – and will do so across Internet at zero call cost! – and using your three or four digit extension plan. This type of install is resilient to Internet problems (i.e. no single DSL fault can take out the entire system), and also allows for local install of alternate gateways, such as analogue and GSM mobile trunks.
3CX Bridges can be configured to allow ‘presence‘ information (i.e. extension status) to cross, so that users at the different sites can see if the person they want to call at any of the 3CX systems in their network, is available, busy or away from their phone.
28: What is 3CX WebMeeting?
A: 3CX’s integrated video conferencing solution, 3Cx WebMeeting enables businesses to save time and money by hosting virtual meetings, whilst enjoying the benefits of face-to-face communication. Web conferences can easily be launched through the 3CXPhone client with a few mouse-clicks. 3CX WebMeeting can be used for a wide variety of everyday communication needs to boost productivity and efficiency while at the same time slashing travel costs.