Phones – Voip FQA Frequently asked questions


Want to know MORE about IP based Telephony and how it can help your business?

Below are some commonly asked questions around Voip services that Sterling IT often get asked.
If there is anything else you would like to ask, feel free to at the end of this document, and we will get back to you.

1) What is VoIP, and how does it work?

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) lets you access phone service over the internet. Copper lines are no longer needed. The advantages to this are you are not tied to one location, and no, matter where you are located, as long as there is internet, you can make and take business calls.

Calls are no longer dependent on old traditional phone lines.

2) How long does it take to install from order?

We have had many systems live and running (in emergencies) within a few hours.
For more complex systems, along with recordings and IVR, we estimate between 3-10 working days.

3) How is the call quality of a VoIP phone?

The call quality depends on the speed and reliability of your internet. You will hear a vast improvement in call quality compared to traditional landlines. The only time we have seen an issue with our systems, is when the internet is playing up. Sometimes a simple reboot of a router can fix it, however, if you continue to have issues with your internet, Sterling IT can assist with new connections that we know work well. We have even taken over clients connections and then found it was a wiring issue, through our testing and diagnostics which the previous provider was unable to do. So having a good internet connection in the office or 4G, will allow the calls to work well.

4) What should I look for in a good system (VoIP)?

Your requirements depend on how many employees you have and the features you need. Luckily at Sterling IT, we’re able to satisfy the needs of tried-and-true businesses for more than 11 years. Some aspects you want to look for, include:

  • Cost: Calling plans can be on a month-to-month basis – NO CONTRACTS!
  • Service: Will you need to be able to contact support during your business hours? (or even after hours in an emergency?)
  • Coverage Area: Does the VoIP provider offer calling capabilities where you operate?
  • Users: Does your VoIP provider give you the ability to manage service for multiple users?
  • Functionality: What requirements does your business have that VoIP can fulfill?
  • Mobility: Do you have the ability to make calls from mobile devices FREE* of charge?  (no app costs)

5) How much does VoIP phone service typically cost?

Sterling IT provides two main cloud communications plans:

  • UC Business Communication Suite starts at $17.50 per month.
  • UC Express SIP starts at $15.00 per month
  • DID Lines $0.50 per number

6) Do I need to sign a contract?

Sterling IT have NO contracts. Just provide notice and 30 day EOM, will be the last invoice. (incl any call costs and outstandings)

7) Do I need to have an existing VoIP phone?

No, you do not need to have an existing VoIP phone. We can even help setup new businesses with new phone numbers incl 1300 and 1800 numbers as well.

8) How many calls can I make at a time?

UC Business allows unlimited calls at a time across the enterprise.
UC Express will depend on how many simultaneous lines have been purchased.

9) Is internet service included with your VoIP phone service?

No, we do not provide internet service as a part of our phone plans, however Sterling IT do sell business grade internet services as well.
Some or month to month contract, whilst the higher Enterprise Ethernet are generally 12-36months.

10) Are there any limitations to using a VoIP phone system?

No, with the exception of having a good internet connection.

11) If I lose power, will I still be able to make phone calls with VoIP?

Absolutely. There is no need to divert phone like old PABX. As long as you have the phone app on your mobiles or computers (running 4G), this will continue to call just like normal.
We always recommend that there is some users with mobile apps running.

12) What is a virtual number?

A virtual number is a telephone number that isn’t directly associated with a person or business. Virtual phone numbers can also be used to track response rates from specific marketing campaigns. For example, this is great for long-distance callers because they can dial a local virtual number to them and still reach your team.

13) Will I lose any business features from landlines if I switch to VoIP?

No, your business will be able to access more new features that you were not able to have on the old copper based systems.

14) Does faxing work over VoIP?

Traditional fax machines may be unable to transmit faxes over VoIP lines, so you will want to use an online faxing solution. Sterling IT offers unlimited online faxing with its VoIP plans. This feature alone is worth $17.50 per month. However on some plans, it is included FREE.

15) If my business is growing, can I adjust my VoIP phone system?

Yes, scalability is one of the advantages of using a VoIP phone system. Because a VoIP phone system is hosted in the cloud, upgrading is easy. There’s no need for pricey infrastructure upgrades. In essence, you can scale your company’s phone system to an almost unlimited number of users or locations.

VoIP FAQ: Features

19) What is Voicemail-to-Email?

Whenever you get a voicemail recording, this will be converted digitally into a .WAV file and sent to your email address automatically. Getting voicemails delivered in your inbox serves as a reminder and a convenient digital format that you can save for later. You can directly listen to voicemail messages from your computer instead of dialing with your phone.

20) What is a cloud PBX?

A cloud PBX allows you to use all of your company’s phone service that is hosted using a service over the internet. All the features of a PBX can be delivered seamlessly through the internet instead of hardware located on-site. A cloud PBX can save your company thousands in expenses.  Even if you move offices or are overseas, you’ll be able to access your communications systems as well as make and receive calls, just like you are sitting at your desk.

21) What is meant by number porting?

We will migrate your numbers from your current provider over to Sterling IT allowing us to control the phone numbers and call plans. YOU will always own the numbers and we will release them if you need to move on, not that we believe this will happen.

22) How many minutes do I get with VoIP plans?

The Voip plans come on a PAYG plan and all inclusive (mobile, local and national) calls. International and 1300 are not included even in the all-inclusive plans.
Included calls also include NZ national & mobile calls too.

23) What is the Shared Call Appearance feature?

Shared Call Appearance is a feature that allows multiple phones to have a phone line assigned to it. If a user has many phones, they can all use the same line. You can take calls from a specific number over multiple phones or locations. Shared Call Appearance is better for people with more than one place where they regularly conduct business.

24) What is the “Music on Hold” feature?

Music on Hold is a VoIP feature that allows you to play music when your call is on hold or sitting in the call queue. This feature also allows you to play recorded marketing messages. Instead of playing background music, you can broadcast special discounts or promotions. You can also record information that would be of value to your customers and hold while they’re waiting on the line (and discourage them from hanging up).
We can also provide additional features on request suggest as Comfort messages, so when people dial-in, they get a pre-recording, as well as transferring calls. There is also “whisper messages” so someone can talk to someone on a call without other party hearing. (for example, “your visitor is here”)

25) What is the Barge-In feature?

The Barge-In feature allows supervisors to listen in as a call is happening. Supervisors can also choose to interject into the conversation or take over the call. The Barge-In feature is one of the favorites of many business owners as it can provide live training for new employees.

26) Can I record calls?

Sterling IT includes basic call recording UC Business Communication Suite. Select plans may also include it for a nominal fee since the recordings are stored offsite securely. Recorded calls exist in a digital format for both inbound and outbound calls. These are handy to have on record for both training and legal purposes.

27) Does Sterling IT support conference calls?

Yes, Sterling IT provides conference calling capabilities.

28) What is an Auto Attendant?

You can view an auto attendant as a virtual receptionist that directs callers to the correct people or departments. You have probably experienced it before. When a customer calls, they will be greeted by a recorded greeting, which then directs the caller to press a key, depending on what they need. For example, your auto attendant could tell callers to “Press 1 for accounts, press 2 for Customer Service, or press 3 for technical help.” It saves time by directing users to the right department without unwanted transfers throughout the day. Sterling’s multi-level auto attendant functions 24/7 and can adjust the options depending on the time of day, too.

29) Can you help me record my Auto Attendant greetings?

Yes, we provide professionally recorded greetings for your callers when you join Sterling IT. Each greeting should be 50 words or less. You can also buy greeting add-ons for more words, background music, and more by talking to your account manager or executive.

30) What does the Selective Call Acceptance feature do?

Sterling IT Selective Call Acceptance is a feature that can be useful for filtering inbound calls when you or a manager is extremely busy. You can configure specific conditions for phone numbers or particular times of the day to permit calls.

31) What other features does Sterling IT offer?

There is a multitude of business features that will improve the quality of life and productivity of your business.

  • Advanced Call Forwarding allows you to set conditions to forward calls to another phone number.
  • Anonymous Call Rejection empowers you to reject calls from people who restrict their identities.
  • Directed Call Pickup enables you to answer a call that is ringing on someone else’s line.


VoIP FAQ: The Technology

32) How fast does my broadband speed need to be for high-quality calls?

For regular quality calls (landline quality), it requires 90 Kbps download and upload — with more importance on the upload speed. For HD call quality, it requires 200 Kbps download and upload. Is your internet fast enough to support VoIP calls? Test your internet speed. Based on the download and upload speeds, you can divide these by the required bandwidth numbers mentioned above. For example, the image below shows a download speed of 28.7 Mbps (megabits per second) and 22.3 Mbps upload. This network would be able to host up to 100 HD Voice calls if you dedicate the internet for VoIP phones exclusively.

33) Can I keep my current phone number?

Yes, Sterling IT offers number porting, which allows you to transfer all of your current business numbers over. It’s a good idea to maintain your existing service until porting has been completed.

34) Do I need an existing phone number?

No, you do not need an existing phone number to use VoIP. We have thousands of local numbers that you can choose for your business. You can select any VoIP phone number you want, including ones in a different area code.

35) Can I set up VoIP phone service on my own, or do I need a tech?

You don’t need a technician to install your business phone system in most cases. For most business users, they can set up their VoIP phone system on their own. No technicians or installers to worry about. Sterling IT provides a plug-and-play functionality and makes it very easy to enjoy using a cloud-based phone system. Once you’ve plugged your phone devices in, you can manage its settings online from your browser. If you have special requirements that require further assistance, we’re available to help you along every step of the way. All systems are pre tested and configured inhouse prior delivery.

36) Do I have to maintain my VoIP business phone system?

No, because your business phone system is hosted in the cloud, Sterling IT performs all the maintenance for you. Plug your phones in and enjoy reliable, ultra-clear phone service! A virtual phone service is managed exclusively by the VoIP service provider. All you need to focus on is maintaining a fast and internet connection.

37) What is QoS (Quality of Service), and why is it important?

Quality of Service (QoS) is a service that allows you to prioritize your internet to your VoIP devices. For example, other employees may browse the internet, stream videos, and listen to music. All these services take up bandwidth, which all compete for your internet’s phone service. QoS ensures that enough bandwidth is available for your VoIP phone system.

38) Can I take my phone number with me when I travel?

Yes, of course. As long as you have access to the internet, your VoIP phone system can follow you. Two of the top advantages of having a hosted VoIP service is the portability and cost. You can continue to take calls via smartphone, laptop, or even an analog phone if you have the right adapter/router. Some countries may restrict SIP-based internet traffic, so check before you fly. Additionally, E911 address information should be updated so you can reach emergency services.

39) Are calls on VoIP secure?

Yes, we make sure that our systems are always secure on our end. In general, your VoIP phone system offers more security features than traditional landlines. It’s good practice to secure your data networks on your end. Choose a secure password that you don’t use elsewhere, memorize your security PIN, and you will enjoy a strong phone system.

40) Will my VoIP phones continue to work even if I move offices?

Yes, as long as you have fast and reliable internet at your new location, your VoIP phones will work. Since your new phone system operates in the cloud, it’s not tethered to a physical location.

41) How can I avoid two phone bills when I switch to Sterling IT?

You can cancel your old phone service in most cases once Sterling IT has ported your phone number. You can confidently give your old provider one last call to terminate service. Be sure to confirm you’re ready to go with your new VoIP provider, so you don’t have any issues.

42) Can I keep our toll-free number if I switch to VoIP?

Yes, you can keep it and have it forward all calls to your new cloud communication numbers. This way, your callers will be able to call your toll-free number, while you will be able to receive calls via the internet.

43) How fast does my mobile internet need to be to handle VoIP calls on my smartphone?

With a strong wireless 4G LTE connection, your smartphone can handle calls with HD call quality. It’s less about the speed, but the variance in network latency—often called jitter. In most cases, a 3G signal is sufficient for a satisfactory VoIP call. In cases of weak cellular signal, you may opt for a stable Wi-Fi connection instead.

44) Can the VoIP function over a wireless internet connection?

Yes, your VoIP service can work well over wireless internet connections. However, you will need to ensure that you are getting a strong Wi-Fi signal. Wi-Fi itself tends to be susceptible to interference resulting in a momentary drop of a signal. You can use Wi-Fi successfully, but you need a strong signal.

45) How can I guarantee call quality?

The first step to improve call quality is to use an Ethernet connection (CAT5e or CAT6). Using Quality of Service (QoS) ensures superior call quality. It can help minimize latency and prioritize bandwidth to your calls. Without getting into the technical details, latency can cause interrupted calls. However, with VoIP QoS, you will have sufficient bandwidth allocated to your voice calls. If you are a small business owner, you probably won’t need to use QoS. It’s more likely to be used by organizations that handle high concurrent call volumes.

46) What happens if the Sterling IT network goes down?

Sterling IT maintains a 99.999% uptime, which is equivalent to less than six minutes of downtime per year. We have several data centers across Australia to maintain this high degree of availability. This redundancy protects against fraud and natural disasters that impact business continuity. Sterling IT along with our provider has network engineers that monitor the entire network 24/7.

47) What does SIP mean?

SIP is an acronym for Session Initiation Protocol. It’s used to describe the technology that allows communication and is one of the building blocks required to connect calls via the internet. SIP ensures that calls are connected and reliably disconnects them once the call is complete. It also enables voice and video data to be transmitted during the call.

48) What is a SIP-enabled phone? And do I need one?

A SIP-enabled phone uses the Session Initiation Protocol to connect calls. It’s the highest standard for the VoIP protocol.

49) What is a SIP Server, and what does it do?

A SIP server plays a vital role in establishing calls over the internet. This protocol ensures that calls reach their destination reliably. Essentially, a SIP server maintains the “registration” for the phone and its availability.

50) What’s the difference between SIP and VoIP?

In short, VoIP is a subset of SIP technology. SIP is used for more than just phone systems and relates to all digital media. It’s able to handle messaging, video, and other multimedia content.

51) What is a Hosted PBX?

Sterling IT operates as a hosted PBX using cloud-based communication technology. Traditionally, a PBX is a private telephone network in a building. Through the development of VoIP, you can have a private phone network using the internet. The great thing about a hosted PBX is that you won’t need to invest in expensive physical infrastructure. In most cases, our system is plug-and-play and works right out of the box.

52) What is a PBX phone system?

PBX is an acronym for Private Branch Exchange. A PBX is a private phone system that allows phones in a building to dial other phones and optionally dial outside.

53) What is a softphone?

A softphone refers to software that can make calls through your VoIP service. It’s a phone app that can place and accept phone calls over the internet. In contrast, a desk phone refers to the physical phone that sits at your desk. Either method can be used to make calls through your cloud-based system.
Sterling IT provide our clients the softphones license FREE with our systems.

54) What is a codec?

A codec is a compression format to encode and decode multimedia. When it comes to VoIP, a codec encodes and decodes audio over the internet. VoIP codecs are utilized to transmit and receive sound (or video) efficiently. VoIP calls typically feature HD Voice, which is made possible with the G.722 codec. VoIP codecs balance the bandwidth consumption, call quality, and latency automatically.

55) Can I use a cordless phone with my VoIP phone service?

Yes, there are SIP-based cordless phones that can be rented or purchased. In most cases, you would connect the base station to an Ethernet line. The handset operates on a secure 6 GHz band to keep conversations private. Otherwise, if you already have an analog cordless phone, you can enable it to use your cloud communication system by using a special adapter.

56) What kind of mobile phone can I use with VoIP?

The App is available on iOS and Android smartphones.

57) How much does a VoIP phone cost?

The prices for a VoIP phone can vary on the features and functions it provides. We use and recommend Yealink.

58) Does Sterling IT offer adapters?

Yes, we have a range of adapters to retrofit any telephone device.

59) How do I set up a VoIP network? 

A high-performance Voice over IP network sits on top of an existing network. To set it up, you provide a simple and clear path to the internet and everything else will fall right in line. You maintain the robust connectivity and the hosted phone system will do the rest. Here are some helpful pointers:

  • Use wired connections (Ethernet) for desk phones.
  • Connect computers to the IP phone. The VoIP phone provides passthrough connectivity to the computer.
  • Select a high-speed broadband provider with low latency.
  • Segment your VoIP network architecture with a Virtual LAN.
  • Implement Quality of Service (QoS) on larger installations for peak performance.

60) How do I secure my VoIP phone system? 

Securing your phone system from attackers is a must to avoid data breaches or other catastrophes.  When you implement proper security measures, you enhance your phone system’s security. Systems administrators should follow these tips:

  • Use complex passwords for user accounts.
  • Activate call encryption (TLS/SRTP).
  • Deactivate unused user accounts.
  • Educate staff on social engineering risks.

Sterling It are more than happy to demonstrate the systems with no obligation.
Reach out and contact us for more information.


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