In the olden days, data and telephone lines were complicated. Lots of technology was required to make it work and to keep disparate systems connected. The result was that a lot of labour, equipment and funds needed to be allocated to communications. Today though, systems have become a lot more integrated, common standards are in place and we truly are living in a plug and play world.
The first thing for businesses to consider when it comes to telephony is infrastructure. What infrastructure does the business have? What is it connecting to? Which environments do you want to play in?
The most common scenario is to still have cabling around, especially for voice communication. The old CAT3 installations were subsequently replaced by CAT5 cabling, and this eventually progressed to the use of CAT6. This enables a gigabit-speed network, meaning that the network can operate at a speed of 10 000 gigabits.
For the business that is setting up a new office, the baseline system to consider would be a CAT6. The beauty about installing CAT6 equipment, especially on the data network side, is that most of this equipment comes with a lifetime warranty. This is not something we’re used to in this world, where we are seldom covered when equipment breaks.
From a data point of view, if the infrastructure is created professionally, a Wi-Fi scenario is also an option. In certain buildings however Wi-Fi routers seem to struggle to communicate with devices in different sections of the building, so it’s still better to look at cabling in many instances.
The security aspect is vital, in view of the fact that hacking is common. Proper equipment, passwords and firewalls need to be in place from the outset.
Implementing data and phone systems has become simpler in the sense that one no longer has to wait for a telephone or internet line to be installed. The Wi-Fi scenario also simplifies things, enabling one simply to plug and play onto the existing network. This is particularly relevant when installations are done in shopping centres. Connecting devices is no longer a case of climbing into the roof and physically pulling kilometres of cabling through from one side of the building to the other.
Now that phones use IP addresses to talk to each other, we no longer have a proprietary scenario, where only a Samsung phone can be used when a Samsung PABX is installed; any phone with an IP address can use any PABX system with that capability, which simplifies the entire process.
At the end of the day, consulting with an expert team will keep things simple for your business.