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Buyers Guide to Conference Phones


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Buyers Guide to Conference Phones

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Buyers Guide to Conference Phones

  1. 1. Phone Conferencing Buyers’ Guide Choosing the right conference phone for your business can be tricky – making the right choice depends on having the right information at your disposal. Here is Best4systems’ guide for customers to help them choose the ideal conference phone system and equipment. Best4Sytems has also produced a glossary to help demystify industry jargon. We have split this guide into a number of sections to make it easier to digest: Audio conferencing Audio conference systems using VoIP/IP Audio conference systems using analogue PABX Video conferencing Video conferencing with ISDN Video conferencing with IP For more information please feel free to make the most of our expertise by either contacting us, or get us on the phone on 0844 824 6664. Audio Conferencing There are many advantages for a business to use audio conferencing – saving the time, money and inconvenience of trying to get a lot of busy people into a physical meeting, but some basic information is needed to inform a purchase. Network The type of phone network available will influence your choice of system. Your business will most probably have a VOIP/IP based phone system or an analogue PABX. In general, VoIP/IP systems will deliver a better solution, with the right equipment. See our Telephone System’s buyers guide for more information about these two kinds of network and how they will influence your decision to buy. Conference systems for VoIP/IP A VoIP/IP system is basically a phone system using internet protocols to carry the phone call signal. If your business uses a VOIP or IP network, then an IP
  2. 2. Conferencing Unit such as the Polycom SoundStation IP6000 will be ideal for most situations. Conference systems for analogue PABX Alternatively you may operate over a normal Analogue PABX system, in which case there is a great variety of 'plug and play' conference phones available from Polycom,Mitel, Jabra, Konftel and Avaya. Need further help, or ready to buy? Confused by any terminology used above? Skip to our glossary Options based on room size Once you know the network you’ll be using, a good way of choosing a telephone conferencing system is to base your decision on the size of room you will be making conference calls in. Small Meeting Room For a small meeting room, Best4Systems suggests taking a look at the Polycom VoiceStation 500 – this model is very keenly priced and is suitable for three or four people, with a range of about two meters. The system can even be set up using Bluetooth. Medium-Sized Meeting Room The Konftel 55 Conference Phone or the Polycom SoundStation 2, are ideal for slightly larger conference rooms – with an increased audio range and with speakers clearly audible up to three meters away. The higher quality microphones and speakers also make these systems ideal for this scale of conference call. Large Conference Rooms
  3. 3. For very large conference calls with 16 people or more involved then you cannot settle for anything less than a a top of the range model. The Konftel 300 IP Phone which combined Wideband sound and a recording function and the option of additional microphones or, for the non VoIP enabled meeting room a Polycom VTX 1000. For more information please feel free to make the most of our expertise by either contacting us, or get us on the phone on 0844 824 6664. Video Conferencing There are three main types of video conference solutions: point-to-point, multipoint and streaming. Point to point Point-to-point is a direct connection between two locations. It’s like a telephone call but with video. Multipoint Multipoint lets more than two locations take part in the same video conference. Both of these video conference solutions for business can take place in a meeting room, your desktop at work, your home computer—or even over your smartphone or tablet when you’re on the road. Streaming A streaming video conference uses software instead of hardware. With software, your mobile device connects over the Internet to any other video conference users, even if the people on the other side of the connection are using hardware. Getting started Most companies start with at least a point-to-point, room-based system that connects their headquarters to one other location. For that, you’ll need a video monitor at each end, a connection to the Internet
  4. 4. and whichever video conferencing system you choose. Need further help, or ready to buy? Confused by any terminology used above? Skip to our glossary Types of network There are two general network types that video conferencing works over: an ISDN or circuit switched network, and an IP network. ISDN network ISDN, or Integrated Services Digital Network, has been around since the early 1990s, and is becoming less and less common – it is what’s known as a circuit switched network. In other words, when you make a call over ISDN, the circuit you create is locked for your application. This is a high quality service, but it can be quite costly as you usually pay a fixed fee per month for each ISDN line, and a per-minute usage charge. IP network Most video conferencing systems purchased today include an IP interface with ISDN as a separate option. Cross network conferences There is no need to worry if you need to make video conference calls across these networks, either, as technology can be included in the infrastructure which enables IP and ISDN video conferencing systems to communicate with each other. For more information please feel free to make the most of our expertise by either contacting us, or get us on the phone on 0844 824 6664.