Frequently Asked Questions

Broadband

Do I need Fibre Broadband?

Fibre broadband comes in a variety of forms (FTTC, FTTP, GPON, Ethernet) and is often faster and more reliable then older copper solutions which are slower and starting to show their age in places. With more and more services becoming internet dependent a fast, reliable internet connection is essential and a Fibre based product will provide this.

What is the difference between FTTC and FTTP?

Both FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) and FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) use the same Fibre network however where FTTP is delivered directly to the premise as a Fibre connection, FTTC is only Fibre to the Cabinet in the road with the last mile infrastructure to the premise being older Copper. This allows FTTC to be cheaper on average as well as bundle in PSTN services for Voice but it cannot attain the same max speeds as Full Fibre and suffers from the same reliability issues as other copper services (ADSL).

FTTC is currently more readily available then full FTTP but Fibre is being rolled out across the UK more and more.

If I have ADSL/FTTC/FTTP does the BT PSTN Switch-Off 2025 affect me?

ADSL and FTTC are both tied to and carry PSTN services currently. When BT switch-off the PSTN in 2025 these services will be CEASED by BT. Customers will need to move to a Fibre service like FTTP if available OR to new Single Order services which are Broadband ONLY which BT are currently trialling in 2020/2021 and will be available soon.

FTTP is a full fibre service and does not carry any PSTN services so is not affected.

IT

What IS an IT Support package?

IT Support is a service usually offered as a monthly recurring charge by MSPs (Managed Service Providers) as either a Per-User or Per-Device offering. What an IT Support package contains beyond time with the MSP’s Support Team when an issue occurs can vary from supplier to supplier.

Most will usually contain some form of Remote Management provided by a piece of software installed on your device to help keep devices up to date and help monitor for and avoid smaller issues. They may also contain an Anti-virus product, Ransomware Protection product, Remote Support and Access, Backup Management and so on. Different device types will often have different plans and pricing e.g. Workstation or Server.

Do I need a Server Onsite or can I use the Cloud?

The short answer is speak to an IT Pro about your requirements as there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question.

The long answer is there is no straight forward yes or no answer to this. It depends on a number of factors such as budget, space, connectivity, software requirements, existing infrastructure and so on. Whilst the Cloud is a very attractive prospect and many things onsite Servers traditionally were used for now have easy affordable Cloud alternatives this is not the case for everything and sometimes the Cloud option for a particular solution will cost far more then is viable to sustain due to the complexity involved and ongoing fees. That is why it is best to speak to an IT Professional about your requirements and what is best for your business.

Do I need Backups if I'm using Microsoft 365?

Yes, even Microsoft says so:

“We strive to keep the Services up and running; however, all online services suffer occasional disruptions and outages, and Microsoft is not liable for any disruption or loss you may suffer as a result. In the event of an outage, you may not be able to retrieve Your Content or Data that you’ve stored. We recommend that you regularly backup Your Content and Data that you store on the Services or store using Third-Party Apps and Services.”

The above is from Microsoft’s own Services Agreement found here.

Phones

In 2025 will my Phones stop working?

In 2025 BT are switching off the Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN). If you have PSTN services such as Single Lines, Multi-Lines or ISDN then these will cease to function at this time. In order to avoid losing your numbers or critical voice services you will need to move to an alternative Voice over IP (VOIP) solution utilising SIP Trunks running over broadband in place of these older services. This could be a On-prem solution, a Hosted PBX or the use of something like an ISDN to SIP Converter to connect SIP to your existing legacy PBX.

If you have already made the move to a VOIP solution then your Voice services should not be affected (Though your broadband could be – see the Broadband section).

What are SIP Trunks and why should I want them?

SIP Trunks are effectively ‘Phone lines in the Cloud’ and are an alternative to your traditional physical phone services such as ISDN. Unlike ISDN, SIP Trunks run as a service over either existing or dedicated broadband connections. Also unlike ISDN, SIP Trunks DO NOT need to connect to a Phone System on your premises allowing you make use of a Hosted Phone solution where the PBX is also in the Cloud and your physical deskphones connect back to it over the internet.

SIP Trunks are desirable because they are usually much cheaper then older services in terms of monthly rental as well as call spend (With many calls being FREE to local or mobiles). The cost savings alone over a period are usually enough to pay for a new Phone solution that utilises SIP Trunks and has more modern features such as Call Recording.

What is a Hosted PBX/Phone?

A Hosted PBX is a ‘Phone System in the Cloud’. Usually charged Per-User or Per-Seat as a monthly service charge, a Hosted PBX allows customers to scale up their requirements as they grow without any large upfront costs for hardware and licensing. Hosted PBXs will also usually have greater redundancy in place then what is viable for most customers to implement with an On-prem system.

Because of the monthly Per-User or Per-Seat model they are usually preferred for some customers due to a lack of upfront costs and more control for the customer over how their phone solution develops over time.

Microsoft Teams

Is Microsoft Teams FREE?

Microsoft Teams does have a standalone free version that anyone can sign up for using a Microsoft Account but functionality is limited compared to the Business version. If you just need to attend a Teams Meeting or interact with Teams Users though the standalone version is sufficient.

The Business version is included with most Microsoft 365 licensing meaning most customers have access to Teams without realising.

It is worth noting the ‘Phone System’ functionality within Teams is only available in the Business version and is in most cases an additional add-on licenses as it is not included as standard.

I've heard I can use Microsoft Teams as a Phone?

Microsoft Teams can with the correct licensing be used to make and receive Phone Calls; however currently Microsoft Teams is considerably more limited then most Phone Systems in its functionality IF you use Microsoft Calling Plans. There is an alternative option to use what is called Direct Routing to connect the Phone Lines from an established Telco like you would with a traditional Phone system. This is usually cheaper then Microsoft’s Calling Plans and can also include additional functionality depending on the provider you choose to use.

Integrations also exist from several IP Phone System vendors such as SpliceCom to be able to link Microsoft Teams using Direct Routing to your existing PBX instead and made calls via said PBX like any other extension on the system. Functionality though can still be limited on the Teams Client side so a Hybrid approach is sometimes preferred with Teams being used more for Remote Working from home or out of the office rather than the only phone option.

Can I use Microsoft Teams for a Meeting and invite non-Teams Users?

Yes. A non-Teams User receives an invite just like everyone else and if they click the ‘Join Microsoft Teams Meeting’ link they will be given the option to Download the App or Join on the Web Instead. If they select ‘Join on the Web’ they will be prompted if OK to use their Mic and Camera and for their name and then will be able to join the meeting.

It is possible for some meetings for non-Teams Users to be blocked from joining. If this happens you should speak to your System Administrator about this.

Also it is worth noting that like any other Guest Users outside your Organisation they will initially join in the Meeting Lobby and will need to be let in by someone in the meeting. The meeting organiser will receive a notification there are Users in the lobby waiting to join.

If you wish to discuss any of the above in more detail please get in touch on 01733830555 or email info@greencityict.co.uk