Phone.com University

Phone.com University – How to Set Up Your Call Forwarding for Unlimited Minutes

by Derrick Lewis

When setting up your call forwarding, it’s important understand how your incoming calls are counted against your monthly minute pool. There are two possible scenarios:

  • Incoming calls are counted against a monthly shared minute pool amongst all regular extensions on your account.
  • Incoming calls are considered unlimited minutes when forwarded to an unlimited extension and are not counted against your shared minute pool.

To dispel how this whole process works, and to also provide a template for taking advantage of your unlimited minute extensions, I have included the steps below which will show you how to forward your calls to your unlimited extension.

Please keep in mind, your calls will not be unlimited unless you specifically forward your Phone.com number to your unlimited extension, and then forward your unlimited extension to your intended destination. If this sounds confusing, here is a simple flow of how your forwarding should be set up:

  1. Forward your Phone.com number to your unlimited minutes extension.
  2. Forward your unlimited extension to your intended destination, whether that’s an external cell phone number, menu, or just the extension itself with a phone device attached to it.

Let’s walk through both of these steps to understand the process.

Forwarding to Your Unlimited Extension

  1. Mouse over Configure and select Manage Numbers.
  2. Select Edit for the number you want to forward.
  3. Select Edit for Number Action.
  4. Create a Forward Call action as your first forwarding step.
  5. In the Forward Call settings, enter your unlimited minutes extension in the white box.
  6. Select Save Rule Settings.

numberforwarding

If the unlimited extension you chose was a phone device or our Communicator softphone, then there are no additional steps to take. Your minutes will now be tracked as unlimited.

However, If you want to forward to an outside line such as a cell phone or land line number, then please follow the steps below.

Forwarding from Your Unlimited Extension

  1. Mouse over Configure and select Manage Users & Extensions.
  2. Select Edit for the unlimited extension you forwarded to in the steps above.
  3. Select Call Handling Rules on the left-side navigation bar under Settings.
  4. Create a Forward Call action as your first forwarding step.
  5. In the Forward Call settings, enter your cell phone or land line number in the white box.
  6. Select Save Rule Settings.

extensionforwarding

The above setup will forward your calls to an outside line. You can set up additional actions after your Forward Call such as Leave Voicemail as shown in the example above if you want to send callers to your Phone.com voicemail.

That’s it for today, enjoy your unlimited minutes and we’ll see you next Monday!

Stevens Institute of Technology, A Hidden Tech Gem

by Ari Rabban


Logo for Stevens Institute of TechnologyLast Friday, I was privileged to spend the morning on a private tour of the Stevens Institute of Technology, hosted by the institute’s President Nariman Farvardin. With me were three CEOs of other New Jersey-based tech companies, all of us board members of the New Jersey Technology Council. Our goal? Learning how to increase cooperation between the corporate world and academia.

As a sponsor and supporter of the NJ Tech Meetup, which is hosted at Stevens, I am a frequent visitor to the institute. I know how beautiful the campus is and the amazing view it has of the New York City skyline. What I wasn’t aware of, is the institution’s rich history. Alumnae include Samuel Bush, patriarch of the Bush family, and Henry Gantt, inventor of the Gantt Chart, along with Eugene McDermott and Charles Stewart Mott, founders of Texas Instruments and General Motors respectively. I was also unaware of the pioneering research done at Stevens, its innovative approach to tech education, and how it prepares students for the emerging tech-oriented job market.

Visiting Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens has a student body of 2,900 undergrads, 3,200 in graduate programs, and a real-world focused curriculum that boasts partnerships with leading corporations from finance giants to Broadway entertainment.

As President Farvardin explained, after the 2008 financial crisis, higher education, especially at the undergrad level, began adjusting to meet market demands. I am no expert but can’t imagine many traditional universities teaching music the way they do it at Stevens — with a focus on technology that leads to many graduates landing jobs on Broadway and the like.

During our tour, we visited the Hanlon Financial Systems Labs for computational finance. The freshman class we observed were all computer-science, mechanical-engineering and chemical-engineering students, all gaining solid, real-world training. We also visited the amazing Cybersecurity Lab, a program that works closely with corporations and government to address the growing risks of cybercrime. Students work with companies to solve existing problems, and many students go on to intern and eventually land full-time jobs with the university’s corporate partners and supporters.

Now before I upset friends at CMU, my alma mater, I’m not saying Stevens is the only leading tech-focused university. But institutions like Stevens and Newark-based New Jersey Institute of Technology, where Phone.com is based, are prime examples of a shift to technology-oriented education. And if high-school graduates have the opportunity to get a tech-based college education in any of the engineering disciplines, and certainly in computer programing, I would highly recommend it!

Another lab we toured during our visit, was the Immersion Lab, another amazing example of how academic research can partner in a very practical way with the corporate world and government. The lab’s main conference room is more like a command center, with wall-sized interactive monitors. Yet their research is what’s key. The Immersion Lab partners with the State of New Jersey to evaluate the risk of another catastrophe like super storm Sandy, using visualization techniques and simulations.

Finally, since I am sharing lab stories, in my opinion the crown jewel of what we saw at Stevens was the Davidson Lab. Located in a World War II-era building, you will find a 350-foot-long concrete pool that is used to model and assess marine craft designs. From navy torpedoes to America’s Cup racing vessels, the Davidson Lab at Stevens is one of only a couple such labs in the United States. The pool allows scientists to simulate high-wave conditions, and it was certainly the highlight of my visit to see a simulation in action!

Davidson Lab at Stevens Institute of Technology

Phone.com University

Phone.com University – How to Place and Receive VoIP Calls with the iPhone App

by Derrick Lewis

We are excited to share the newest update to our iPhone app, which will now allow you to place and receive calls using VoIP instead of your cell phone minutes. This will transmit all calls using your cellular data or WiFi connection.

Let’s walk through how to set this up on your app and Phone.com account.

Receiving VoIP Calls

In order to receive VoIP calls on your iPhone app, you will need to add a mobile extension to your account and forward your calls to this extension. To add the extension:

  1. Mouse over Configure and select Add a User/Extension.
  2. Select Mobile Extension.

This will add the mobile extension to your account. You will now need to forward your calls to your mobile extension. Please see the guide on how to forward your number for detailed instructions.

Placing VoIP Calls

These instructions assume that you are already signed into your iPhone app. If this is your first time setting it up, please see our iPhone app setup guide for detailed instructions.

  1. Tap the gear icon in the top left corner of the app to access the settings menu.
  2. Tap Cell/VoIP.
  3. Tap the toggle next to Allow VoIP Calls so it is in the green ready state.

IMG_0143

This process will activate the VoIP feature of the app. You can now tap the Place a Call option on the main screen of the app.

You will notice a VoIP icon in the top right corner as pictured below. This indicates that the call  you make will be placed over VoIP.

IMG_0142

You are now all set to place and receive VoIP calls on your iPhone app! See you next Monday for some more Phone.com knowledge.

How Much Bandwidth Do I Need for VOIP?

by Joel Maloff

iStock_000005944404SmallAs businesses and home users set aside traditional analog phone services, replacing them with Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), one of the challenges becomes allocating the right amount of bandwidth to your Internet phone service.

How much of your current bandwidth is needed for high-quality voice calls? This is a question we are asked every day by our customers.

Start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • What is the actual data upload and download speed that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) delivers?
  • What other services and applications on your network consume a portion of that available bandwidth?
  • Are there Quality of Service (QoS) settings that you can tweak to optimize your network for VoIP?

Minimum and Recommended Bandwidth for VOIP Service

The bandwidth that our VOIP phone service requires depends on the number of concurrent calls you want to make. The table below shows the minimum bandwidth required to make calls from a Phone.com account, as well as recommended speeds for optimal performance.

Number of Concurrent Calls Minimum Required Bandwidth Recommended speed
1 100 Kbps Up and Down 3 MBps Up and Down
3 300 Kbps Up and Down 3 MBps Up and Down
5 500 Kbps Up and Down 5 MBps Up and Down
10 1 MBps Up and Down 5-10 MBps Up and Down

How Does VOIP Use My Bandwidth?

The answer is simple and complex. VoIP services use a variety of codecs to compress and decompress voice data, allowing it to travel over the Internet efficiently. Phone.com uses codecs that require approximately 100 kilobits per second (kbps) traveling up from your phone line and down to your phone line per second for each call. So if you have three people, all on calls at the same time, the minimum requirement is 300 kbps up and 300 kbps down.

In addition, since the Internet “pipe” into your home or business is being used for other functions too—web browsing, sending and receiving email, file transfers, web-based office services, point-of-sale systems, and so on—there are numerous candidates contending for bandwidth.

How to Determine Your Functional Bandwidth

It helps to know how much bandwidth you really have. However, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will probably only confirm what you signed up for, also known as the advertised “up to” value, as in “up to 50 Mbps” or “up to 150 Mbps.”

The best way to determine your bandwidth, is to run a throughput test using a site like www.speedtest.net. This will give you a snapshot of your current functional bandwidth, but it is important to note that this metric can vary depending on how much bandwidth all of the different applications you are using require at any given point in time. This test also provides variable results depending on the location used for testing.

Keep in mind that your upload speed is usually slower than your download speed, so you need to make sure that the lower number of the upload speed matches what you need. Since most service providers do not guarantee sustained bandwidth besides the up-to value, we recommend adding a 5x to 10x safety margin when estimating bandwidth.

Calculating the Bandwidth You Need

If you know that your ISP can sustain a certain speed, simply multiply the number of expected concurrent calls by 100 kbps. If you deal with an “up to” ISP, a good solution would be to add the safety margin mentioned above so that you can sustain the required bandwidth, even when your Internet service falters.

For example, 10 concurrent users would require 1 Mbps (10 X 100 kbps x safety margin), which means you would be smart to allow for 5 to 10 Mbps both up and down. Depending on the other services and applications using your Internet connection and on the capabilities of your router, 3 to 5 Mbps may be sufficient, or you may need to increase your bandwidth. This must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, as each organization is different.

Optimizing Your Quality of Service

High-quality voice calls are the norm today but consistent quality does require some effort. One way to evaluate your VoIP capacity is using the Phone.com VOIP test (works best on Safari and Firefox). This tool lets you evaluate your network performance by simulating one, three, five or ten concurrent calls from your office to the Phone.com system.

Also, some but not all routers have the ability to prioritize voice services so that the impact of other applications doesn’t degrade voice quality. To prevent audio issues caused by voice and data competing for the same bandwidth, make sure your network router’s Quality of Service (QoS) settings are set as follows, so that they prioritize the transmission of voice packets to your WAN connection (ISP).

  • UDP/5060 – Priority: High
  • UDP/6060 – Priority: High
  • UDP/16384 to 32768 – Priority: High

Finally, if your router has an Application Layer Gateway (ALG) function, that should be disabled. We also recommend disabling the Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) function—in some cases, the router cannot handle the high rate of inbound voice packets when the SPI feature is enabled. In all cases, though, check with your security expert before changing configuration settings.

We hope these guidelines help you determine how much bandwidth you need to support high-quality VOIP phone service. If you have specific questions, please leave them in the comments below or contact us directly!