Questions and answers

Listed below are some common questions and answers about our company, our products, and business telecommunications in general.

If your question isn't answered here, then click here to email us or call us free on 0800 980 5995 and we'll be happy to help.

Tell me about U.T.S.!

We has been selling high quality refurbished telephone systems in Yorkshire and the surrounding regions for over 20 years. We're telecoms experts, so we know all about phones and all about how people work with phones.

We also sell brand new systems, so we can tailor a package to suit your needs and budget. If your business needs no-nonsense advice on affordable, reliable telecommunications, get in touch with us!

Which telephone systems do you work with?

We supply, install and maintain all brands including Panasonic, BT, Toshiba, Samsung, Siemens, Ascom, Alcatel, Avaya, LG/Goldstar, and Philips.

We have plenty of experience working with popular systems such as the BT Versatility, Panasonic KX-TD KX-TE and ICX ranges, Avaya Index and IP Office, Mitel, Toshiba CT CTX and DK, Goldstar GSX, LG GDK and LDK, Samsung DCS, Siemens Hicom and Hipath.

Whether you need one new extension or a whole new system, we can help.

What is the quality of a used phone system?

All the equipment we sell is of very high quality - many customers can't believe that the phones they're receiving aren't brand new! Refurbishment includes cleaning the telephones to a very high standard, replacing any paper and plastic parts, and replacing any external wires and cords.

For the large price difference compared to new, there really is only one choice - buy used guaranteed!

What guarantee do I get with a used telephone system?

Our standard guarantee is for six months, but with certain lines the guarantee is one year. The fault rate of our installations is very low, as low as with new equipment, but our standard guarantee is shorter to keep the price even lower for you.

Why do I need a phone system?

If you need to transfer calls from one person to another, or need to handle more than one outside line, then a phone system is essential. A standard phone line does not give you the facility to transfer calls, or even place them on hold.

How does a phone system work?

The system itself sits between your outside lines, and your internal phones. It handles all the connections between the lines and phones, enabling you to transfer calls, make internal calls, place customers on hold, etc.

Does having a phone system mean I can make more than one outgoing call at once?

The number of outside lines determines the number of calls that can be made at any one time. Therefore, if you have three lines, then three outside calls can be made or received at any one time.

The number of outside lines has no bearing on the number of internal phones.

Do I need a receptionist?

Modern telephone systems are extremely flexible, and can be programmed for a receptionist setup, or for more than one phone to ring so that anyone can answer a call. So, it's not always necessary to have a dedicated receptionist to answer calls.

What's the difference between a keyphone and a standard phone?

A keyphone is a telephone which will only work on a telephone system, and usually has a hold button, and lights to indicate line status and other special features.

A standard phone will connect to any normal phone line, and doesn't have any status indicators. However, calls can still be transferred using a standard phone.

What's the difference between standard lines, ISDN lines and VOIP lines?

Standard lines use analogue transmission and signalling, exactly as your phone at home does. An ISDN line is fully digital, and offers additional features such as direct phone numbers (DDI), and external transferring of calls. VOIP works by routing your calls over the Internet.

What is structured cabling?

Structured cabling is a wiring system that uses low cost cable of small diameter, which is easily maintained and installed, capable of serving many applications, and will facilitate necessary shifts and moves of user terminals and equipment. It also needs to conform to the appropriate industry standards, support multiple vendors, product ranges and different protocol options. A structured cabling system will support voice, data and other multimedia applications. However, an outlet can support only one application type at any one time. Structured cabling is usually achieved by “flood wiring” complete floors and connecting these Cat5 Cat6 or Cat7 cables to patch panels which provide the essential flexibility of the cabling system.

What is VoIP?

“Voice over Internet Protocol” is a technology that allows voice calls to be sent over the Internet. Using a broadband Internet connection and subscribing to a VoIP provider allows a person or company to make phone calls over the Internet rather than using dedicated phone lines.

How does VoIP work?

First, voice is converted from an analogue signal to a digital signal. It is then sent via the Internet where it will be converted back to an analogue signal for the remaining distance over a traditional circuit switch (PSTN).

What kind of Internet connection do I need for VoIP?

You will need a broadband Internet connection such as DSL or Cable or others (T1, wireless, etc.). Generally, depending on variables such as the audio codec in use, a connection should have at least 100kbps on both the upload and download.

Can I use my computer when I am on the VoIP phone?

Yes, you can work on the computer while on the VoIP phone. They should not conflict with each other.

What are the advantages of VoIP?

There are several advantages to VoIP over a traditional phone service, such as price, portability, and extra features. Many VoIP providers allow unlimited calls for a low monthly fee. Any phone number can be chosen, rather than being locked into certain area codes and prefixes.

My ISP limits my bandwidth consumption – how much bandwidth does a VoIP conversation use?

Using a non-compressed audio codec (which would require the most bandwidth) would use at about 1.5GB per 1000 minutes.

I have decided I want to try VoIP, what should I be aware of?

There are several things you should consider for a small business. Some of these would include integration of non-voice services such as fax, alarm services, and credit card machines. You may also need to consider how much bandwidth you have available from your Internet provider if you are looking for multiple lines. Then you will also want to pick a provider that offers not only the features that you may need, but especially excellent customer service and technical support.

What is a hosted PBX?

A hosted PBX or an Internet Business Phone System is a VoIP business phone system where virtual PBX hardware resides at the provider. Usually rich in features, a hosted PBX can save significant upfront hardware charges because the PBX software/hardware sits remotely at the provider's facility and connection is made through the Internet.

What is an IP-PBX?

IP-PBX is a PBX (Private Branch Exchange, usually called a telephone system) that switches calls between a traditional telephone user or between two traditional telephone users in the same way that a conventional PBX does, but has the capabilities to switch calls over IP or VoIP, and in most cases use Ethernet IP connections throughout the organisation much in the same way that PCs connect to a LAN.

How can I get the benefits of VoIP/hosted VoIP or Internet Calling without changing all of my equipment?

In many cases, regardless of whether you currently have an IP-PBX or not, you can still use SIP (VoIP) Trunks to connect to an ITSP (Internet Telephone Service Provider) as one trunk (one line) or more lines, to save money on long distance and international calls and/or heavy call volume by adding a device, called an ATA, which sits between the current phone system and the Internet, converting the VoIP signal into that of a standard phone line, and thereby connecting your standard phone system to a VoIP line.

Are there disadvantages to hosted VoIP over other IP voice solutions?

Although hosted VoIP can be a great solution, it may not be the best solution for all businesses. Hosted VoIP, where the PBX resides with the VoIP provider, can be problematic due to several factors, one of which is the quality of the Internet connection from the business to the hosted VoIP provider’s servers. If this connection is not of good enough quality, the voice quality of your VoIP calls will be poor. Latent signalling could cause features to work erratically, and poor network conditions, including latency, jitter, and insufficient bandwidth can all add up to make for poor performance.

Hosted VoIP is an excellent choice for small companies looking for a low initial cost business phone solution. If fewer than 8 to 10 phones are required at a single location then hosted VoIP can be an excellent viable choice. The ideal number of users for a hosted VoIP solution would be between two and seven phones.

What is an on-premises business VoIP phone system?

This is like a traditional phone system, where the system equipment is installed in the business premises, but the telephone system is set up to use VoIP lines (i.e. routing calls over the Internet, rather than using traditional phone lines).

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a hosted PBX?

The advantages of a provider-hosted PBX are the lower upfront costs, usually associated with lower hardware costs. The usual hardware need would be IP phones which would connect to the Internet through a router. The provider maintains the software and servers and should provide technical support. By connecting to the "PBX server" through the Internet, a user is dependent upon their Internet connection’s stability, as well as the quality of that connection. As many hosted PBX companies are smaller, relatively younger companies and the technology is new, some issues can occur which can affect the stability of the service. In addition, the contract may have "back end" costs, such as cancellations fees which would increase the overall cost of the service.

If, at a later time, I decide to change VoIP providers, will the hardware device I purchased work with another provider?

In most cases, you will probably need to get another ATA or VoIP hardware device, one that is supplied by the new VoIP provider themselves. Even though some providers use similar devices, they may have proprietary software or configuration files on them which cannot easily be changed. Some providers allow a “bring your own device” service which will enable a range of devices to be used.

What is a softphone?

A softphone is the general term used to describe software installed on a computer to provide voice calls via a headset connected to that computer, rather than via a dedicated telephone device. The PC acts as the phone, with a virtual phone displayed on the screen. Although softphones are popular in some environments, they have not as of yet taken off in the business environment, which still prefer more traditional phones.

Once I install VoIP can I disconnect from my current telecom provider?

Yes, a VoIP service can be integrated throughout your premises by connecting to the existing phone wiring, already in place. We can help set this up for you.

How is the quality of sound and speech on a VoIP call?

Usually better, but the quality can depend on many factors like bandwidth, Internet connections over the routed call, and the codec being used by the VoIP provider.

If our building loses power, will can phone calls still be made with VoIP?

Losing power would cause your Internet router to go down, so all Internet connectivity would be lost. If this happened you would not be able to make calls, unless your are equipped with a back-up power supply (also known as a UPS), which could power the connection for some time. Ask us for prices and information on UPS systems suitable for your phone system.

What is “automatic call forwarding on non-registration” and how will it affect my VoIP connection?

Call forwarding on non-registration is a feature that allows incoming calls to automatically be forwarded to a predetermined number when your VoIP equipment is not communicating with your VoIP line provider. For example, should your Internet connection go down, either from loss of power or someone working locally on the line, and your VoIP connection is lost, incoming calls could immediately be redirected to a mobile phone. When the Internet connection is restored, then calls would come through to your VoIP phones as normal.

What is a virtual number?

A virtual number is a second or third phone number that will be seamlessly forwarded to your main number. This can benefit callers, who by dialling a local number to them, connect with your primary number without having to incur long distance charges.

How much bandwidth do I need to have a VoIP connection?

Depending on variables such as the audio codec in use, a connection should have at least 100kbps on both the upload and download. Compressed audio codecs, use approximately 38kbps per connection, but even in these cases a good broadband connection is needed for useable service, and sufficient bandwidth would need to be available for both the voice and other data applications on both the upload and download.