One hour of downtime equals -$12,500 for the average small business, according to Megapath. For larger businesses, the average jumps to -$212,000. Both numbers reflect losses in profits, resources and productivity across all major telecommunications services.
Power complications are responsible for approximately 40% of downtime. Hardware, network and human failures comprise the remaining 60%. To protect against such things, you should establish a VoIP business continuity plan. Such a plan should encompass measures of resilience, recovery and contingency.
- Resilience: Buffers that allow a VoIP system to operate uninterruptedly in abnormal circumstances.
- Recovery: Tools to restore a VoIP system in cases of emergency or disaster.
- Contingency: Defenses for handling problems when measures of resilience and recovery fail.
Regarding resilience, this article focuses on preventing service and network-level disruptions.
Rig your office with an Uninterruptible Power Source (UPS) to avoid unexpected power loss. A backup power supply should juice all critical network components (i.e. the router). Phones without power-over-Ethernet (POE) might need a UPS to connect with, too. Choose an adequate supply, one that can handle the drain and duration of a moderate outage.
TMCnet recommends hotspotting should the provider itself go down. In most cases, cellular networks remain open and unaffected by local interruptions. Most data plans support hotspotting; VoIP is lightweight anyway.
Note that without power or internet, a hosted VoIP system still functions. Call-flows pointed at regular landline and mobile phone destinations will continue as normal. For this reason, you should configure your system with intelligent forwarding. Ring both VOIP phones and smartphones in a sequence for optimal availability and reachability.
Our proactive efforts are futile without the backing of a reliable VoIP/Internet provider. Reputable providers advertise uptime guarantees. They do so confidently because of failover. Failover refers to the act of switching to a secondary facility should issues arise in the first.
Cheap providers often lack the resources needed for consistent service delivery. Cheap internet plans, for instance, sometimes throttle bandwidth (dampen speeds to reduce usage). Upload/download speed variations is also a common complaint.
The infrastructure used to provide the service may also affect quality. Depending on your confidence in the provider, you may also wish to invest in a failover solution.
Issues like registration failures and call droppings count as downtime. In many cases, these issues reside on the user’s side. In other words, your network interrupts the service due to misconfigurations and/or inadequate resources.
To avoid internet problems, pick up a sound router with QoS (data prioritization). Such routers will allow you to allocate bandwidth and prevent congestion. In complex networks, Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) effectively segment voice data. Doing so might make networking monitoring easier.
Checking the usage and health of your network is a good precautionary step. Collecting metrics on jitter, packet loss and delay can alert you of potential problems. Running regular diagnostics and updates also prevents against performance degradations over time. Plenty of tools exist for automating such processes.