VoIP Phone Systems

VoIP Phone Systems

Having a VoIP Maintenance Checklist Protects Your Business from Unwanted Downtime

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VoIP is a less expensive way for businesses to manage their phone services. Even for businesses that do not need more than a couple of lines but still want to manage costs and have the ability to expand later, VoIP is a quick and cost-effective solution.

But just because you have a brand new phone system, that does not mean you are done. Maintaining your VoIP system is imperative to getting the most out of your investment. Here are a few tips to help increase the longevity and efficiency of your VoIP system.

Patches and updates

Planning your downtime might be one of the single most important steps in keeping up with your phone system. Not planning regular updates and scheduling downtime for them is a huge mistake. Unlike analogue phone systems (which more or less work until they break and/or are replaced or repaired), VoIP phone systems are digital; this means that installing patches and updates periodically is a must. Not doing so can result in unscheduled maintenance.

It is much better to stay on top of patches and upgrades and schedule the time to implement them during non-peak hours. Depending on your equipment manufacturer's recommendations, quarterly or even monthly updates might be needed.

VoIP Security Threats

Physical layer maintenance

Checking your cabling in your date room (main distribution frame) and supplemental closets (intermediate distribution frame) is a good practice to participate in. Making sure these rooms are clean, with lots of breathing space for switches, routers, and servers is also imperative.

Heat is the enemy with nearly everything electronic. Making sure all your network equipment is running smoothly and coolly in as clean an environment as possible means extending your networks lifespan. Make it a point to check these areas weekly. Often someone will not realize that stuffing storage items behind your network rack can create a heat problem.

Make a map

Make a map depicting where every phone in your facility is located. This map should show the location, extension number and MAC address for every phone in your facility. If you have to replace or troubleshoot a phone, this map will help you correlate the phone's physical location with its virtual one.

For example, if a phone drops off the network in the warehouse, you will save innumerable steps walking out to the warehouse to check the MAC. This might sound a bit over the top, but one day you could be thankful that you did.

Keep backups

Having a few spare phones is not a bad idea. Having a spare or backup VoIP server, or at least a disaster plan in place is even better. Knowing what you will do in the event of a complete meltdown and having the plan and parts at the ready is a part of preventive maintenance that is often overlooked. Test your backup phones and peripherals periodically, and make sure that backup switches, routers and servers are serviced, patched and upgraded every bit as often as the equipment you use every day.

If you establish a preventive maintenance checklist and implement it, you are saving money, time, and increasing productivity through incurring less downtime. It is much better to do the maintenance and wonder if you'd have had a problem than to have one and realize you should have started a preventive program.

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