Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


Why is it so darn hard to set up a Business VOIP solution?

As I wrote about a few weeks ago (Is VOIP Ready for Small Businesses?), I've been testing out the Vbuzzer VOIP solution, using a Sipura Ethernet to phone interface box and a cheap old telephone I had in the closet. So far, it's working well and I'm impressed with it and quite pleased with VOIP overall.

But trying to figure out how to integrate it into my existing office setup is making my head spin, and it's really a great example of the cost and challenges of people who are early adopters or even mainstream adopters. Sure, I can sign up for Vonage and get a "free" box similar to the Sipura, but what I really want is to transfer my existing business line to a VOIP system, transfer my fax line to a VOIP system, and then have a two line hybrid telephone where line one was a standard phone line, and line two was the VOIP business line.

After spending hours and hours digging around on different Web sites, from Hello Direct to Cisco and Polycom, I'm simultaneously impressed with the wide range of phones and baffled by the many options, none of which...