Things to consider before buying a new telephone system


Listed below you will find valuable information to consider before making an investment in a new telephone system such as questions to ask, proper terminology and things to avoid. Also, an overview of things to come in the ever changing and rapidly growing telecommunications industry.

Whether you are replacing an outdated system or in the planning stages of new construction you should consider the following: 

How big will you grow? Be realistic. Don't think that bigger is always more expensive. Many telephone systems are designed to grow with the needs of a business. The question is how much growing is really possible. If you start out with 3 lines and 5 telephone sets, ask yourself if you can see the business growing twice or even three times that size in 10 years. Keep in mind Voicemail, Fax machines, Credit Card machines, Computers, Cordless telephones and many other devices use analog telephone lines or extensions.

Why do we state 10 years? The reason is that telephone systems in the average consumer environment should have a life expectancy of ten or more years. The technology has increased to a point where major improvements in telecommunications are not as dramatic as they were 10 years ago. It's like racing, the faster you go the harder it is to make such big impacting advances. Improvements in telecom for the past 5 years or so have been geared mainly to the emerging VOIP or voice over internet protocol. While this applies heavily to larger corporate applications, the average single location business would be hard pressed to find it worth the investment. Remember, keep it as simple as possible.

Analog vs. Digital vs. VoIP  We get this question all the time. The truth is that modern digital systems are more reliable with far less fault exposure than VoIP systems. Anyone who says there is a noticeable audio difference between the two either has an installation problem or a very good imagination.

New vs. Used New equipment is always recommended. However, used systems are very reliable. The average cost difference is 20-30 percent on equipment only. Beware of polished up used systems being sold as new. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is. When it comes time to use that factory warranty you will find out.

Lightning protection  This is the most important addition to your system setup.  Proper protection includes lightning suppression on AC supply "110 Volt", telephone central office lines, extensions throughout the premise, and proper earth grounding. Don't think that a battery backup alone will save you. Power strips are useless. Without any one of these vital pieces of protection you are exposed. You will get hit! It is just a matter of time and how much damage will occur.

Most of all  Make sure the company you choose is reputable. Here today gone tomorrow telecom companies are the norm. Check references and your local Better Business Bureau. Most importantly, check for original manufacturer certification. This is not the type installation you want an electrician, or security company doing part time. Only buy from telecommunication equipment interconnects that have been around for a while. Do your research please.

Is wiring needed? If you have a system in good working order the rule of thumb is no. Unlike wiring for computers, telephone wire has changed very little in the last 50 years. However, if the wire is significantly aged have it tested to measure cross talk and resistance. Testing is significantly cheaper than replacing. If you need to wire your building for computers, now is the time to do it. Voice and data wire is usually installed at the same time and by the same company. Cable TV is also typically done at this time.

User Training This is absolutely the most critical aspect of telecommunications equipment and its functions. The most advanced telephone system is only as good as the person using and administering it. We put as much emphasis on training as we do on installation.

Service contracts are highly recommended. Telephone systems can get complicated in a hurry. Especially if voicemail and a few other peripherals are thrown in. Service contracts are very affordable, and well worth the money. Would you drive an expensive car without insurance? Think about it.

Which brand to choose?  This can sometimes be confusing. We sell and support many major brands of telecommunication systems. We strongly suggest Panasonic or Cisco systems. These two manufacturers have the largest market share in the industry for applications of 500 phones or less.

Why choose Clear Communications?  This is the best question yet. Clear Communications is a family owned business and has serviced the New Orleans area since 1962. CCI began as a credit info/service company and fully changed to the communication field after deregulation in 1982. Since then Clear Communications has undergone many changes. In 1997, a division of CCI was the third licensed local exchange carrier in Louisiana after the last major deregulation act of 1996.