Small Businesses Lead VoIP Charge

The number of UK small businesses set to make phone calls over the internet will almost double over the next 12 months according to a survey released today by BT.
Although the independent …

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27th March 2007 at 12:08 pm

The number of UK small businesses set to make phone calls over the internet will almost double over the next 12 months according to a survey released today by BT.

Although the independent research conducted during March 2007 sampled a statistically modest 435 small businesses, its data do seem to strike a chord with anecdotal evidence that I’m hearing from fellow small business owners.  The survey reveals that while 25% of SMEs are already using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), 48% will choose to do so over the next 12 months.

Interestingly the smaller the business the more likely the take up of internet telephony: 57% of businesses with 2 to 10 employees and 48% of sole traders say they will use VoIP over the next year.

Far fewer (20%) larger businesses with 31-50 employees are likely to turn to the internet for their telephony.  As I’ve mentioned before, I think this reflects the very real difficulties associated with issues like bandwidth and distance from an exchange in terms of VoIP for medium-sized enterprises.

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Alex is the founder and editor of SmallBizPod, the UK's first podcast dedicated to small business, start-ups and entrepreneurship. Alex writes about topical small business issues, entrepreneurs and anything else that catches his eye here on the small business blog. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk

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  1. I normally follow David Tebbutt’s blog and linked through to find this interesting post that’s right up my “new” street – so to speak. I recently started with a technology start up business (see http://www.sharedband.com ) that has developed software that makes it possible to bond ADSL lines at the IP layer. Compared to traditional bonding or load balancing solutions which are expensive and complex, we use commodity hardware making it much more scaleable, flexible and cost effective for SME’s to get the bandwidth they need to be able to deploy VoIP and all other new bandwidth hungry applications like offsite data back up etc.

  2. Hi Keith – indeed an interesting new street you appear to be up. Do you actually aggregate bandwidth across a small office network or are we essentially talking about several standard ADSL connections contained within one pipe, as it were?

  3. Hello Alex
    Because we are bonding at the IP layer our software gets the routers on each individual line to collaborate on the user’s LAN. (Note the routers only have to be on the LAN to discover each other – so they don’t have to be colocated – but where ever the telephone lines are already).

    They route individual packets on different lines (using an alogoithm) which are then pulled back together by an aggregation server sitting on the internet backbone. (This is hosted by a service provider).

    This means that the lines appear to your applications as one large virtual connection (not several tied together)- true aggregation (not load balancing).

    It also means that the aggregation is completely agnostic of the infrastructure (BT or LLU), ISP or even technology (i.e. cable and ADSL) – hence the ability to build in resilience as if one line fails the software adjusts to work on what remains.

    Its a very smart solution to an problem that’s not going away fast – especially for SME’s who can’t justify the cost of a private leased line and we just launched this week with our first ISP partner – KeConnect.

    Hope that answers your question – but fire away with any more! Thanks Keith

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