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What's the best resource for support while setting up a hosted VoIP system for a client?

Learn what factors go into determining which hosted VoIP support resources are the best fit for you and your client, and why evaluating voice resellers is key.

I'm trying to set up a hosted VoIP system for a client. What's the best resource I can find in terms of a provider that can support me during the setup process?

I understand your hosted VoIP support question, but the answer would vary depending on where you fit in the value chain. Are you a reseller, an ITSP, a telecom vendor, an IT consultant, etc.? Also, the type of support you need would depend on the nature of your client. Are they a single-site or multi-site business? If multi-site, are the branches local, national or international? These factors would be pretty important in defining the type of support you need.

If you have a history with this client, it will be easier to answer these questions and to ascertain what their needs truly will be. Even a hosted VoIP service needs to take into account the IP readiness of your client's network. If upgrades are needed, your task becomes more complex. To some extent, these choices will be guided by the VoIP system itself. Interoperability issues are still very real, and even if the system is IP-based, not all variations of IP are created equal.

Regarding getting support from a service provider, I think a lot of that depends on what impact your plans are going to have on the incumbent carrier. If they provide a hosting service, they will likely be a good resource for you. If you're looking to add a SIP trunking service or replace them altogether, then you're likely on your own, and the task will become harder.

As you can well imagine, this is all the terrain of resellers, especially those who are offering voice services. Many resellers are focused on data services, and these would not likely be a good choice. My suggestion is to learn more about who the good voice resellers are in your client's area, and start talking with them. If you don't know how to find them, there are lots of avenues you can pursue online to do your research. Aside from the standard search processes, social media can be very effective, and may yield results faster than anything else.

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