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 What kind of Business Phone system do I need?

A Business Phone System is much more than a group of phones in an office: Business Phone Systems allow a group of people to share incoming phone lines, saving money, and to share or transfer calls as needed, to save client's time, efforts, and business. 

As such, your business phone system makes use of a control unit (also known as a PBX) to send calls to different users, or extensions, and even to put your caller on "Hold" while you get answers to his or her questions or requests. And, with special equipment, your Phone System can have voicemail for each extension, automated answering and information services, music-on-hold, advertising on hold, public announcement services, etc. 

If your are running your business with a simple phone, please consider if this might be costing you clients and sales (or calls).... then, after making this decision, you can consider whether you prefer a digital or an analog system.

Digital technology is the latest development in telecommunications. A digital telephone system converts all telephone signals to a digital signal either at the telephone handset or at the telephone control unit, resulting in a clearer and more precise transmission.

Digital telephone systems usually require less wiring compared to the standard Analog telephone system. The standard Analog telephone system requires as many as 4 pairs of wires to work correctly.

Digital telephone systems also can be connected to a computer for voicemail, call accounting, automated attendant, and other special features. Analog systems basically can only record and transmit messages. Ask the Recolitus representative to help you determine what you need when you plan your phone system.

 What type of wiring do I need in my office?

Most modern offices require both phone and data cabling to get their communications networks working at optimum levels. In general, telephone systems now employ a "Star" wiring configuration, meaning that a separate wire is run from the central control unit to each work area requiring a telephone and or a computer. This way, if a cable is damaged, it only affects that workstation, and can be easily replaced. 

Many voice and data systems are also re-cabled every 5-10 years in order to reduce maintenance costs and install new technology.

 How many phone lines should I get for my office?

You, the business owner, must evaluate your present or anticipated use per employee. The industry average of 2.5 employees per phone line can help you calculate your initial requirements, (yet remember that 50 trial lawyers tend to use the phone more that 50 assembly line workers). 

In all cases, please try to plan for future company growth, too. With all modern systems, you can always expand your capacity, but as ever, it is a lot cheaper to install what you need when the system is first put in.

Recolitus always tries to assure that you get precisely what you need when you install your phone systems.

 What about network cabling?

The best time to address computer network cabling needs is when a phone system is being installed. The reason is very simple: we can install your telephone cable and your network cable at the same time. By having a single vendor you save money and eliminate potential problems and cable damage. 

One word of advice: never let a telephone cable installer install network cable utilizing voice grade cable. Make sure the installation company provides the specifications for the cable installed for your network. At Recolitus it is our policy to use top quality cable for voice and data (network) applications. 

Network cabling is done with special cable: telephone cable is a high quality specially designed for telephone systems. Data cable, on the other hand, requires a completely different specification. Data cable is twisted in pairs to reduce electrical interference from lights and office machines. Data cable is tested at higher data speeds 10Mbs to 100Mbs compared to voice grade cable.

State of the art technology indicates that planned, organized network cabling with is a wise investment in all offices, and one that can help you establish proper data security processes.

 Why I need a service contract?

You need a service contract for your business in order to save money: just as you insure your house or car, a service contract is a type of insurance policy that provides for the prompt repair of your telephone system should it fails. The cost to have a service technician troubleshoot and repair could cost many times what a annual service agreement costs.

Also, service contract clients always receive priority service in case of an emergency, and you will find that Recolitus will also act as the interface with your service provider. To ensure prompt repairs when it is a phone company problem that has affected your service.

 Does the installation of network cabling require specialist knowledge and experience?

Yes, however, some electricians and telephone engineers have had basic training in network cabling but they are few and far between. If you are unsure, discuss the cabling performance or network speeds and cross talk, attenuation and return loss with them. Find out which tester they use and the frequency range it scans at and whether it is Cat5e or Cat6 compliant. Also find out who supplies their cable and components and whether they will support the installation and a manufacturer's 25 year warranty. 

Don't be afraid to ask probing questions, professional data cabling companies will be happy to answer all your questions.

 Can I support telephones and personal computers on the data cabling?

Yes. The latest data cables are designed to work with low frequency voice circuit's right up to Gigabit networks.

 What cable and connectors should I ask for in my cabling network?

Both cables and connectors should be a minimum of Category 5E standard. However, higher standards of data cabling are also available, CAT6 and CAT6a cabling costs are becoming highly competitive.

 What is a Cat5e cable?

Cat5e cable provides 100 MHz of useable bandwidth. Enhanced version of CAT 5 (specifications added for far-end crosstalk). Can be used with 10BASE-T & 100 BASE-T networks.

 What is a Cat6 cable?

Cat6 cable provides 500 MHz of useable bandwidth. CAT6a is compatible with 10BASE-T, 100 BASE-T, 1000BASE-T & 10000BASE-T networks.

 Should I install category 5e or category 6?

As with most so called data cabling companies we are always promised that faster is better. However, category 5e will in the vast majority of cases be perfectly acceptable to most business phone needs. Correctly installed systems will guarantee a throughput of 100Mbps backed by manufacturer's warranties. It is therefore imperative to understand your business requirement before making a decision. 

Category 6, if correctly installed and backed by warranty will guarantee 1000Mbps.

 What does Mbps and Gbps mean?

Mbps and Gbps are units used to measure data transfer rates.
Mbps = Megabits per Second.
Gbps = Gigabits per Second.

 What does MHz mean?

MHz stands for Megahertz and refers to the frequency the cable transmits data on. For example, on a 1000BASE-T (1 Gbps) network a Cat6 cable might transmit data at 1 Gbps on a 200MHz frequency.

 Will Cat6 cables work with Cat5e applications?

Yes. Cat6 cables are backwards compatible and will work with Cat5 & Cat5e applications. This is called backwards compatible because Cat6 is compatible with all previous standards.

 What is an unshielded network cable?

Unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cables are made up of 8 internal wires and are the correct solution for most applications.

 What is a shielded network cable?

Shielded cables are used for increased protection from interference and crosstalk and are typically used in electrically noisy environments. There are two main types of shielded network cables:

FTP (Foiled Twisted Pair) - The UTP cable is surrounded by an outer foil shield.
S-FTP (Shielded and Foiled Twisted Pair) - The FTP cable is surrounded by an outer conductor of braided shielding.

 When do I need a shielded cable & which type do I need?

Shielded network cables are usually used when running cables near any equipment or other cable that might cause interference with your signal. Common sources of interference are radio towers, high-powered electrical conduit, or any other device emitting electro-magnetic or radio frequency signals.

 What is a Stranded cable?

A stranded cable is made of hundreds of thin copper wires within a jacket.

 What is a Solid cable?

A solid cable is one solid piece of copper wire within a jacket.

 Which type do I need, solid or stranded?

Solid and stranded cables both carry the same signal strength. Stranded cables are known for their flexibility and are used for patch cables that are constantly being plugged, unplugged, bent or installed. All of our patch cables are stranded cables. All of our permanent cable is solid because solid cable is more suitable for long cable runs.

 What is the maximum length?

The maximum recommended length for Cat5e and Cat6 cables without a repeater is 90 meters.

 What is a Crossover cable?

A crossover cable is a network cable that is terminated differently on one end (green and orange pairs switched). This cable is used to connect two computers together without a switch. It is also used to directly access some network hardware.

 What is RJ45?

RJ45 (registered jack 45) is the name of the connector used on computer networking cables.

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