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Kerio Operator at home


2012/06/04

I've already explained why Kerio Operator has a place even in very small businesses. In some ways, it's even a better fit in a small family - or even a large family!

Why? Because in many ways, a family is like a business. You have multiple people who all want access to the same resource: the phone. Sure, cell phones and call-waiting eliminate some of the contention, but unless you've gone all cellular (with separate phone numbers for everyone, of course), there are still times when sharing the home phone is annoying.

There was a time when I solved that problem by having three phone lines in my house. That was a somewhat expensive solution, and definitely not what I'd do today. Today, I'd use Kerio Operator and a VoIP line for both my home and small business needs.

A single 4-channel SIP trunk would give me four simultaneous incoming or outgoing calls. I'd assign an extension to each of us and have the Call Attendant answer the phone. No more being interrupted by call-waiting unless the caller really did want to reach you. No more listening to voice mail that wasn't actually intended for you. No "Dad, I need to use the phone NOW!".

Of course sending voicemail to email, call forwarding and call history through Kerio's MyPhone web interface would let everyone in the household manage their own phone needs.

Inexpensive and simple

The nice part is that a setup like that is not very expensive and none of it is difficult. It's a heck of a lot cheaper than multiple phone lines and the setup and administration is all web based.

Here's an interesting thought too: because this is all IP based, the extensions can be anywhere. Is a son or daughter off to college? As long as the Operator box can be found at a public IP, nothing changes at all: they have the same phone number, the same extension and the same web based control.

Of course, when publicly available, you do need to be extremely careful with passwords and you may want to put additional restrictions on outgoing calls. For example, if you have no reason to be calling outside of the country, or want to block 900 numbers or even just want to restrict certain users, you can do that.

Some VoIP providers can add additional restrictions. You might set your account to never allow out of country calls, regardless of the Kerio Operator settings.

Control and convenience

How many things save you money, give you more control and offer greater convenience? Of course, there is always a thorn in the ointment somewhere, isn't there? This is no exception. One obvious problem with VoIP is that if the Internet is down, so is your phone. Cell phone backup is often a reasonable subsititute, but if your Internet service is flaky, so will be your phone service.

Your VoIP performance depends upon your VoIP provider as well as your own Internet connection. That applies to both reliability and call quality. Choose your provider carefully!

Another issue is 911 services. Tracing IP phones to their actual location is not as automatic or as easy as it is with traditional phone services. You need to understand the limitations and that's even more important if you have extensions in different physical locations.

However, with good service and full understanding of the 911 issues, VoIP at home does offer a lot for low cost and small effort.



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