One of the biggest benefits offered by hosted PBX is the ability to connect to an organization’s network and telephony solutions anywhere in the world, at any time. This is great news for employees who want to telecommute and business owners who want to offer remote work arrangements, but it’s even better news for individuals who want to remain connected while they travel for business purposes. However, if your organization and its employees want to get the most out of hosted PBX when they’re on the road for business-related reasons, you need to make sure they can find suitable Internet connection.
Where’s the Wireless?
Generally speaking, when your employees travel for business they’ll be able to find wireless signals just about everywhere they go. The world is pretty well sewn-together by wireless routers by this point and that holds doubly true for hotels, train stations, airports, coffee shops, and pretty much anywhere and everywhere your employees will try and get some work done during their downtime- whether that downtime comes in-between meetings or results from travel delays.
Still, you can’t rely entirely on the availability of fast, reliable and free wireless everywhere you and your employees travel. To play it safe you’ll need to factor wireless costs into your employee’s travel budgets.
There are multiple ways to go about this.
First, you can budget money for paid online services. Many places where travelers, especially business travelers, congregate sell high-quality Internet services. Some of these services come at a high rate while others arrive very reasonably priced. To figure out what to budget per-employee you can do some research to check out prices, you can sign them up for a good quality wide-spread wireless service like Boingo, or you can take even more concrete and assured measures.
Creating Hotspots on Mobile Networks
Your employees can create their own wireless hotspots using their smartphones. These days there are a number of “tethering” apps out there that work in a simple and ingenious way. There are also dedicated portable “my-fi” devices that are in essence dedicated tethering devices.
Basically, these apps let a smartphone share its data capabilities with other nearby devices capable of a wi-fi connection, such as tablets, laptops, and even other smartphones. Tethering apps give you or your employees a good opportunity to use all of their mobile devices to connect to your network and hosted telephony services anywhere they are, as long as they get a cell phone signal. If you’re already paying for your employee’s business smartphone plans, and if those plans offer unlimited data, than tethering offers a great opportunity to assure their connectivity. Most mobile carriers no longer charge for tethering because they charge for the amount of data you transfer over your mobile 3G or 4G connection.
Paid or Free Wi-Fi?
Services like Boingo tend to run very inexpensively (about $10 a month per individual account) but you can’t rely entirely on the fact you’re going to always find Boingo hotspot in the right location, and not every organization will want to do the research necessary for every employee, and for every trip, to make sure their service of choice is available wherever their members travel.
For that reason you might want to consider being aware of your free connectivity options. Most hotels, McDonalds, Starbucks and restaurants will offer free wi-fi hotspot. In most urban areas there are many good quality free hotspots. But where do you connect in rural areas?
Most small airport fixed base operators (FBOs) will offer free hotspots. If your employee is looking for free Internet connection away from a major urban area even a smallest airport used for crop dusting operations will most likely offer free Internet connectivity and maybe even a free cup of coffee. Some of these airports may even be in the areas which your mobile carrier does not service.
Of course there is always an option of signing your employees up for satellite Internet service. With prices ranging from $120 to $250 per month these services can offer guaranteed connectivity just about anywhere under a clear sky. HughesNet or SkyEdge can even offer you a CIR that would guarantee voice quality. These services are much more expensive than hotspot services like Boingo but they’re also more reliable and work pretty well everywhere. Satellite Internet services can keep your employees hooked up to the Internet even if their business trip calls them out to the top of a mountain.
On the downside, satellite services tend to be slower than a hotspot and have significant latency which may introduce slight delays to your conversations.
Taking advantage of your hosted pbx service while your employees are on the road is not difficult – all they need to know is where to find suitable Internet access option.