Six Reasons Not To DIY Your Next Business Phone System

IP Phone Systems have made telecom infinitely easier to install and configure, with many vendors saying you can do it yourself. We still have to disagree however, the low cost of professional consulting and installation far outweighs any possible “savings.”

Cost
Believe it or not, paying a professional can save you money. I was just talking with a business that was spending $800/mo for their phone service. By just adding $5000 in parts and labor, they could instead pay $250/mo for their phone service – yielding a 9 month ROI and saving them $6600 a year after that. There’s also the cost of lost calls if the DIY project goes wrong. Just one angry client can cost more than a whole new phone system.

Network Design
How’s your understanding of VLANs, SIP ALGs, QOS? While a small deployment of IP phones doesn’t require any engineering to work, as things grow you’ll find things may not work as well. I generally recommend VLANs or separate voice and data networks with any office over 20 phones. And as for the routers SIP ALGs will just create chaos and good QOS design can make the difference between great call quality and sounding like the worst cell phone you ever heard.

Security
Bet you weren’t thinking about security but toll fraud is a serious problem. Toll fraud is estimated to cost $4 billion (yeah BILLION) annually and growing. Needless to say professionals know the attack vectors, know how to prevent them and can generally prevent or mitigate losses. Professional design and installation looks like a bargain compared to a huge toll fraud bill.

Details
In my experience easy to use systems also means limited functionality. Simply knowing how to translate “I want to be able to do X” into knowing what your phone system calls that feature and how to implement it isn’t trivial. If you don’t know a BLF from DCP, you should probably hire a professional.

Equipment Knowledge
Buying stuff is easy – buying the right stuff is hard. Should you get the Cisco, Polycom or Yealink phones for your Hosted PBX? Should you get a digital or IP PBX and what brand? How do we keep our door phone or overhead paging system working? Experts know the gear and can save you a lot of pain from buying subpar equipment.

Troubleshooting
Chances are at some point you may have an problem that needs to be figured out. Maybe its jitter, phantom ringing, dropped calls, a phone that doesn’t work, etc. If you don’t understand fundamentally how the system works, how to read the logs, and how to read a wireshark capture…you’ll likely be unable to solve some major issues.