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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Voice over IP communication (VoIP) has revolutionized the business world. Features that once belonged only to large companies who could afford Private Branch Exchanges (PBX) now can serve small businesses. Flexible call handling capabilities, including features for hunt groups and ACD groups, help small businesses manage their communications in ways previously thought impossible.

VoIP works over data networks, eliminating the need for separate phone and data connections at every workstation. Phone calls routed through the Public Switched Telephone Network usually travel through wires and switches until they arrive at traditional business phone systems for handling. VoIP providers have IP gateways that convert regular phone calls into data packets that travel over data networks to your place of business.

Some VoIP services may only allow you to call other people using the same service, but others (like NocTel) allow you to call anyone who has a telephone number – including local, long distance, mobile, and international numbers. VoIP service users can choose to make and receive phone calls on their computer, using a VoIP phone or you can use a traditional analog phone connected to a VoIP adapter.

Small business owners, managers, and technicians can log into their NocTel control panel using a web browser to configure extensions, voice mail, and a variety of other business-related features.

There are a number of great reasons to switch your business to VoIP and select NocTel Talk as your VoIP provider. One of the big reasons is savings! For most companies with more than one line, we can usually save you on your monthly phone bill. Other reasons include a flexible system that you can manage yourself using our web-based control panel interface, great customer support where you don’t have to wait on hold for hours, and the many features our system can offer you and your business. Additionally, all implemented features and future features are available standard to all customers – no feature tiers wrangled into paywalls!

Yes, you can! In most cases, your old numbers are portable to NocTel Talk, and we offer free porting for new customers.

NocTel Talk offers a number of features. Here are just a few: web-based control panel, easy account management, flexible user accounts, free extension to extension dialing, auto-attendant menus, voicemail, HD Fax.

NocTel offers a number of products with powerful features. Beyond NocTel Talk our best-in-class VoIP service NocTel also offers the following products:

- NocTel Flow - Our contact center solution.
- NocTel Insight
- Web-based reporting for NocTel products.
-
NocTel Go - Our mobile softphone app that can be used with Talk to help untethered you from a desk.
- NocTel Alert - A modernized and flexible paging solution.
- NocTel Fiber - A broadband internet solution (currently limited to the Washougal, WA area).

Porting is the process of having your old phone provider release your phone numbers so they can be added to your NocTel Talk account.

Porting times vary from case to case, and by provider. Some providers offer automated porting features, while others still use a manual paper process which will take longer. To ensure a smooth porting process, it is important to get NocTel all the requested information for the porting quickly and to ensure that it is accurate.

For example, if NocTel submits a port request for all numbers on your account, but then you decide you need to keep a landline for an alarm system, analog faxing, back up line, etc. the porting process has to be canceled and then restarted from the beginning.

Porting requires that NocTel have accurate information that matches your account with the current provider(s). NocTel requires the following documents for porting:

- Complete list of all numbers you wish to port.
-
Complete and current (within 30 days) copy of all provider invoices (including pages left blank intentionally).
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Completed and signed Letter of Authorization (LOA)
- Billing and services addresses for the numbers you wish to port.
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Copy of your Customer Service Record (CSR) from your current provider(s).

Some ports may require additional documentation.

When deciding to switch to NocTel, one of our Customer Experience Engineers will come to your site and do a survey to help you decide what type of equipment is ideal for your location. Your installation may include Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches, phone handset types, fax adaptors, and equipment to integrate with an internal paging system.

At a minimum, most installations will require a PoE switch and one or more VoIP phones.

Yes, you can still switch! NocTel can share your Internet connection with Internet-enabled alarm systems. We encourage you to contact your alarm company and go over which options they have available for running an alarm without a POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) landline. Alternatively, you may wish to keep one land line for data services such as fax, alarm, etc..

Most newer credit card processing machines have the ability to work over an Internet/Ethernet connection, rather than a telephone line. It is simply a matter of contacting your bank/machine provider and having them walk you through setting up card processing over Ethernet. Most machines have a contact label on the side or bottom of the base with the bank’s support number.

Just like analog phone lines the audio is not encrypted. We have plans to add a feature to encrypt VoIP phone to VoIP phone calls, but calls to PSTN can never be encrypted as the analog phones wouldn’t know how to decrypt the audio information.

We use a Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch to power the phones we install at your site. We install the PoE Switch in your server room/closet, and connect it to the Internet and your current network. We then use your existing network cables to connect the phones to the PoE switch. The phone is connected directly to the PoE switch, and then using the extra (pass-thru) connection port on the phone, you can connect a computer or other Ethernet device.

While most Internet connections today are fairly stable, power and Internet outages do still happen. However, NocTel Talk does have various options for customers during these times!

Forwarding Service: One option is to have your calls forwarded to a line outside the outage area. This could be to an off-site answering service, a cell phone, or to a site not affected by outage if your organization has multiple sites of operation. Because NocTel’s data centers are in hardened facilities, they will be online, available and routing phone calls – even if your building is not.

Physical Relocation of the Phone: Because VoIP does not use physical phone lines, you can move your phone to any location with a functioning and reliable Internet connection and still receive calls. Simply plug the phone into an active Internet connection and provide it power through a PoE injector adaptor, and you can work from anywhere, including home.

NocTel Go: With the NocTel Go mobile app you have the ability to take your business communications anywhere you have cell service or Wi-FI. With a Go extension enabled in your Talk account and provision on your mobile device, calls can be routed to the Go app extension via hunt groups or direct routing.

VoIP does not use physical lines like analog telephone systems, so calls are not handled or linked to a physical line. Instead, a call arrives at an extension and is linked to the extension that answers the call. However, transfers can be done to send the call to a new extension. NocTel listens to our customers and therefore, we are currently researching a Call Parking feature that will work similarly to the way analog systems handle holding a call on a line. This new feature will allow you to “park” a call on the system which can then be picked up by another extension without using transfer. Check our product roadmap or sign up for our newsletter to get updates on feature developments.

In order to ensure a successful installation, we ask on-boarding customers to have the following items taken care of before the install date:
1. A supported fiber Internet connection with speeds of at least 50 Mbps for most offices. Consult with your NocTel Customer Experience Engineer for analysis of your existing Internet utilization.
2. Certified Cat5e or Cat6, 8-conductor network cables installed from a central location containing a network switch to within 6’ of the location that each telephone device will be located. If during installation, wires are found to be faulty it will be the customer’s responsibility to replace them. Also, if more than 6’ of cable are required to connect the phone, the customer may be charged for the extra cables.
3. Router and switches at each site that are capable of having the Quality of Service (QoS) feature enabled in order to prioritize voice traffic over any best-effort data traffic.
4. Technical staff that have access and can configure the customer’s routers, switches, VLANs, QoS and Internet Providers per NocTel’s specifications for optimal VoIP Performance.
5. If there is an alarm system, you will need to withhold those line(s) from the NocTel porting process or convert them to use an Ethernet or cellular connection.
6. Any other device that works over standard landlines such as credit card machines, must be switched to work over Ethernet.
7. A signed Letter of Authorization and most recent copy of current phone bill.
8. A list of current extensions including number, name and location (i.e. room number or
description).

The amount of bandwidth can vary depending on the codecs used. We prefer to leverage the quality of G.722 (HD Voice) and G.711 (3.5khz) codecs. Both of these codecs, along with the IP headers, will fit nicely into 100kbps per concurrent call. Therefore, you can fit approximately 10 calls per Megabit of bandwidth.

Latency is the duration it takes for a packet to get from the source to its destination. We generally recommend a latency as low as possible. You can use the “ping” tool to test latency with noctel.com to get an approximate idea what you might expect. Although we have customers that use our service with 250ms latency, we like to see a value less than 100ms for best results.

Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide decent bandwidth these days. The best is what is called “Synchronous Bandwidth” where your upload and download speeds match. This Synchronous Bandwidth is usually delivered via Fiber To The Premise, Ethernet or sometimes even across cable company coax networks. If Synchronous Bandwidth is not an option or is too expensive in your area, other broadband may be acceptable. NocTel can provide Direct Connection services through our partners in a number of cities. Please contact NocTel’s Technical Support for assistance in determining if your existing Internet connection will work with our services.

NocTel’s support is available 24-7 via email and telephone of emergency outage issues. During certain hours you may be asked to leave a message so a technician can be dispatched to handle your ticket. NocTel’s normal support hours for all non-emergency inquiries are from 6 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time, Monday through Friday. Please see our contact page for contact information.

Codec stands for “coder-decoder” and is software that does what its portmanteau suggests: encodes packets into smaller compressed data before it is transmitted and decodes after it is received across a network. In the context of VoIP, these data packets are voice data, but the codec term itself also extends into the realm of video processing. It is typically used to save bandwidth for VoIP calls. Some codecs can cause calls to sound muffled or distorted if network congestion occurs.

Local Number Portability

Follow these easy steps to see if your numbers are portable

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PRODUCT ROADMAP

Feature Tracking

Use the guide below to view recent product updates or submit your own

 
Status: inProgress
Add new customer reports
Top talkers (minutes and cost) by class, Monthly summary (minutes and cost) by class.
 
Status: inProgress
Display invoices
Display full invoice history in NocTel Control Panel
 
Status: requested
Voicemail transcription
Transcribe voicemail recordings into text prior to emailing attachment

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