Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Switching to IP Telephones (For Small Businesses)

We've been in the phone business for nearly ten years and have watched the shift from Plain Old Telephones (POTS), Analogue and Digital Systems to VoIP and IP telephones.  The biggest reason for the change is savings, which is the bottom-line for your small business.   Most VoIP service providers offer unlimited nationwide and Canadian calling or plans that offer severe discounts to many other countries. But there are some important questions you need to ask yourself before making the switch.

1. Is it really cost effective for my business? How much do you typically spend a month on long-distance or international calls? If most your business calls are local, you may not be saving much by switching.

2. Do I have a reliable Internet and enough network capacity? This is huge! If your internet provider has rocky connectivity or your bandwidth is limited, you will have choppy, intermittent phone service. A real headache!! Do yourself a favor and make sure your connection can handle VoIP alongside your current Internet use.  You can test your current internet speed at www.speedtest.net.  Have your network administrators check out your network capacity first. Here's a handy article on network planning

3. Can you make an initial investment for the VoIP equipment? This is the infrastructure needed to support VoIP services. You may need to invest in servers, routers, switches, and phones.  You'll eventually start saving, but you'll need some capitol for the initial investment.

So you've answered YES to the first 3 questions and you're ready to sign up.  What's next!?!

Choose between Premises or Host Phone System
If you need to have several different extensions, call transfers, intercom calls, but don't have a system administrator, you may want to look into having your phone service hosted.  That means you won't need a PBX unit and all the maintenance will be handled by your provider. It costs more, but may be worth it for your business.

Choose your VoIP Provider
There's so many VoIP providers on the market today.  They all offer different packages and quality of service. It's so important to do your research before signing up with any service provider.  It can literally make or break your business (especially if you don't have another reliable source of communication). Know what features you need! Read reviews! One good source is voipreview.org. The 3 top things you'll probably want to pay attention to are:
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Customer Service (How will they help you during installation or problems that arrise?)

Choose your VoIP Telephones and Equipment
Once you've chosen your provider (even before you sign up), you'll want to find out what type of equipment and phones they support.  Many providers offer phones and equipment to buy.  Sometimes they're even programmed to work with your account.  While this is convenient, I offer a word of caution; many times they've blocked them so that they will ONLY work with their service. Which is fine if everything works seamlessly, but if you ever decide you want to switch you'll have to fork over $$ to buy new phones again!! Good news: Most providers allow you to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Which means you can shop around for less expensive ones and if the day ever comes that you want to switch providers...you can take your phones with you. These Polycom's SoundPoint IP Phones will work with most providers that have BYOD lines and will save you $$!!

VoIP is not for every business, but it can save some businesses quite a bit of money. As the trend is heading it may one day become the ONLY option.  But for now, you can weigh the Pros and Cons and decide if the time is right for you and your business.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How to Choose the Right iPod for You

You've decided to get an iPod Touch, but it can be overwhelming with so many options available.
That's why it's important to ask yourself some questions to help you determine which iPod is best for


Of course if price isn't an issue, buy a new 5th Generation iPod Touch from Apple, Walmart, or Best Buy. If, however, you don't want to spend $285-$300 for an iPod, then look into buying used or Refurbished.  There's still good quality used iPods out there that's back by guarantees.

Deciding to buy USED vs REFURBISHED - When buying an item that is not brand new, it is
important to ask yourself:

How much visible wear are you comfortable with?

These iPods have new, securely installed screens. Some of them are not completely flush with
the back and may have a slightly raised appearance. The backs are original and will have varying
degrees of visible imperfections. This may not be important to you as any wear will be covered if you
put your iPod in a protective case.

We restore these iPods as close to the original as possible. It's appearance is close to
new with its new screen and back shell. If there are any signs of imperfections, they will be very

Determining Which Generation-

How important is having a camera?
The 4th and 5th Generation iTouches are the only ones that have a built-in camera for pictures, videos,
and Facetime.

Are you buying the iPod for use of specific apps?
If there are specific apps that you're hoping to use it's best to look those up and check the compatibility.
Sometimes minimum iOS version needed for a particular app is listed directly where you download the
app. Other times you may need to do more searching.
The highest supported iOS versions are:
-2nd Generation & 3rd Generation 8GB – iOS Version 4.2.1
-3rd Generation 32GB & 64GB – iOS Version 5.1.1
-4th Generation – iOS Version 6.1

Determining GB Storage Amount

Will you be storing or downloading videos, movies, or TV shows?
If so, you would want at least a 16GB, but if you plan on storing a lot of videos and photos the 32GB
and 64GB would offer greater flexibility. On the other hand, an 8GB would probably give you plenty
of space if you'll only be watching videos streamed on the internet.

Friday, October 19, 2012

How to Register a KX-TGA400B Wireless Handsets to the KX-TG4000B

 Also for the KX-TGA200B Handsets and KX-TG2000B Base Phone

When you receive error message "Invalid. Please register to the base unit" on your wireless handset, you have not registered your KX-TGA400B cordless phone to the base.  When you don't register your KX-TGA400B wireless handset, it won't work. When your wireless handset doesn't work, you'll be obliged to ask the secretary, Bertha, to use her base phone. When you enter Bertha's office she'll wink and blow a kiss to you, which always creates an awkward moment.  When there's an awkward moment, you feel obliged to wink back.  When you wink back, Bertha gets the wrong impression.  When Bertha gets the wrong impression, she makes wedding plans. You can see where this is going... Don't let Bertha make your wedding plans.  Register your handset.*

Step 1. Make sure the base has slots available for registering. The dashes represent slots available.  If numbers 1 through 8 all appear on the screen you will have to make some slots available by deregistering. See How to De-register a KX-TGA4000B Desk Phone-Not Available

Step 2. Power on the handset that you're interested in registering and make sure there's not a number in the upper right hand corner. If there is a number, this handset has already been registered and you will have to deregister it.  See How to Deregister a KX-TGA400B Cordless Handset-Not Available 

Step 3. Hold the handset next to the base.  Click "Function" on the KX-TG4000B. Scroll up twice to "Registration." Click the right arrow button.  Scroll down to "HS Registration" and click the right button one more time to start registration from the base.  You now have 60 seconds to register the handset.

Step 4. Complete registration on the KX-TG400B handset. Press the “Function” button click up two times to "Registration" and press the right arrow. Press the right arrow one more time, which is HS Registration.  Wait a few seconds and you'll hear a beep. Press clear. You should see a number in brackets on the upper right hand corner of the screen ie [1]. Now you're ready to go!

Friday, September 7, 2012

How to Setup a Polycom Conference Phone Illustrations by Elizabeth G.

When we first started testing Polycom conference phones, we were blown away by the sound quality. It sounds like the person on the other line is actually in the room with you! During a family reunion recently, we brought this phone so that we could connect with other members that couldn't be there.  Those who were hard of hearing had no trouble hearing on this phone.  This makes it a great solution for the hearing impaired!  Most people who would use the Polycom conference phone at home may have limited technical knowledge, so that's why we've simplified the installation instructions.

This tutorial is applicable for the following models (you can access our store by clicking any model you desire):
SoundStation P/N: 2201-03308-001
SoundStation EX P/N: 2201-03309-001 or 2200-01423-001
SoundStation2 P/N: 2201-16020-001 or 2201-16020-601
SoundSation2 Non-Display P/N: 2201-15100-601, 2201-15100-001
SoundStation2 EX P/N: 2201-16200-601, 2201-16200-001
VoiceStation 100 P/N: 2201-06846-001, 2200-06846-001
VoiceStation 300 P/N: 2201-17910-001, 2200-17910-001

Step 1.  Plug one end of the power cord (the thicker and larger one) into the power source jack marked with a triangle. Plug the other end of the power cord under the back leg of the phone.

Step 2.  Plug the phone cord into the power source jack marked with a rectangle. Then, plug the other end into the phone jack in the wall.

Step 3.  Plug the power source into the wall. You are all set!

Friday, August 31, 2012

KX-T7885 Setup and Installation

The first thing you need to do when setting up your KX-T7885 phone is to make sure that the transmitting base and the handset are a matching set.  This is especially important if you've bought a used phone.  In order to do that, look on the bottom of the base for a white sticker with a 5-digit combination of numbers and letters. An example of these letters would be "288D8" (this is different from the sticker with the bar code and model number). After you find that sticker on the base, please check the handset for a matching set of numbers/letters by removing the battery from the handset where you should find two similar white stickers on the inside of the phone. One of those stickers should match the base unit, and if it does you are ready to proceed to the next step.

Connect the phone’s charging cradle and base to their respective power supply and plug them into a power outlet. Place handset in the cradle and ensure that the light is illuminated. The handset will need to charge for several hours in the charging cradle before it will be fully ready for use. After it charges, turn the handset on (the switch is on the right side of the phone) and make sure it links to the base by pressing the "Locator" button on the base. Once the phone starts beeping, you will need to press the button on the base again in order to stop the paging.

Hook up the CO-line to the base station to get dial tone. In order to get dial tone, you need to determine whether you'll be using the phone in SLT Mode(Single line telephone) or EMSS Mode. If your phone is not part of a larger Panasonic PBX system, commonly found in offices, you'll want SLT mode which involves plugging the cord from the base unit directly into the wall. If on the other hand you have a control unit (PBX system like KX-TA624), you'll need EMSS Mode.

 Now that you've determined what mode you'll need, locate the "Connection Mode" switch on the side of the base.  Make sure it is in the appropriate position and connect the phone cord from your control unit into the base, and you should be good to go.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Can't Enter Programming Mode on Your KX-TD1232

When you can't enter program mode, you can't program your caller ID card. When you can't program your caller ID card, you don't know who's calling you. When you don't know who's calling, you end up talking to telemarketers. When you end up talking to telemarketers... well... need I say more?

If you are unable to program your KX-TD1232 phone system, there are a few ideas that may help solve your problem before calling in a technician.

1.  Check that you are programming from the correct phone extension. Extension 101 is the only port that has the ability to enter into the programming mode. If you are trying to program from a different extension, switch to Ext. 101

2. Make sure you have the right password. The default password for programming the KX-TD1232 is: 1234

3. If there is a different password, the last option is to reset the system to its default settings. This will erase all the previous (personal) programming, so please make sure you've tried everything else first.  You will need to:

  • Power on the system and open the cover.
  • Below the CO ports and the two music ports there is a switch. Moving it up sets it to clear and moving it down (which is where it should be) puts it in normal mode. Switch it from normal to clear.
  • Hold the reset button down for 5 seconds.
  • Release the button and the red power light should start flashing.
  • Wait 5 seconds after it starts flashing, then move the switch back down to normal.
  • Wait a few more seconds as the system resets. To ensure that it has successfully reset, the time on all the phones should now read 12:00.

  •  ** Sometimes everything except the password will correctly reset. You may have to attempt the reset several more (at least 5) times before it will reset the password. If it's successful at resetting the password, it will be 1234.

    Friday, August 3, 2012

    Fix the 1 button on your KX-TGA400B

    When the "1" button on your Panasonic KX-TGA400B or KX-TGA200B doesn’t work you can't call "911". When you can't call "911", you can't get help when you're being robbed. If you can't get help when you're being robbed everything gets stolen. When everything gets stolen you can't pay the company bills. When you can't pay the company bills you have to declare bankruptcy. Don't declare bankruptcy! Get your keypad fixed!

    This is no laughing matter.  If you have the KX-TGA400, you may have experienced this irritating problem.  When we repaired one customer's phone he said, "You saved our marriage by allowing us to call long distance to our extended family with a functioning number one button." While you can purchase a repair, you are more than capable of doing this on your own. We have faith in you! Here's how:
    1.Make sure you have all the tools needed for this project
    • Small flat head screw driver
    • Philips screw driver
    • Small towel/cloth for cleaning
    • Rubbing alcohol [never use water]
    • Replacement KX-TGA400/200B keypad
    2. Disassemble the phone to get to the keypad
    • Take the battery cover off, remove any battery inside and unscrew the two screws at the bottom corners. 
    • Pry open the phone (it should snap open easily, do not be afraid to apply force if needed.) 
    • Once you have the back cover/shell off, you will need to undo the screw at the top left by the antenna. Remove the screw and then pull the antenna upwards until it is no longer over the main circuit board. 
    • Flip the circuit board (motherboard) over and move it partially to the side (DO NOT try to yank it away from the front cover/shell because the antenna is still attached). You should be able to see the old keypad either stuck on the motherboard or sitting inside the key holes in the front cover/shell of the phone. Either way, remove it and throw it away!

    3. Clean the circuit board where the keypad lies against it. It can be very dirty (yellow sticky goo) or it can look very clean. Either way, we are going to wipe it down! Take your cloth and dip it in a little bit of rubbing alcohol and start cleaning the area of the motherboard that the keypad lies against (right under the LCD screen.) This could take awhile if there is goo on it, but it's important to take the time to clean it up!

    4.  Put it all back together! Make sure the silver buttons are still inside the front shell/cover of the phone before you put the new keypad inside the key holes. Put the new keypad in where the old one was and start putting the phone back together (reverse the above steps).

    **Sometimes the buttons slide out of their holes as your putting it back together.  If one of the buttons is jammed, use your screw driver to jimmy it free.**

    Need more of a visual?