Why every modern business needs VoIP

Great communication is crucial for any business. It goes without saying that you need clear and frequent contact with your team to run a company with optimal efficiency, and we’ve never seen this demonstrated more than during the pandemic. 

Our only option was to meet virtually, and because of that there was a huge rise in the use of VoIP systems. 

It suited businesses so well that, even now, as the workforce begins to return to the office, remote working is still popular. 

Many industries experienced the benefits of VoIP in time for BT Openreach to announce that analogue telephone services will be switched off in 2025, meaning that all telephone systems will be replaced by IP services. 

It is now necessary for any business owner who wants to stay ahead to have a better understanding of VoIP and to make this progressive switch. 

We’ve put together a short guide to explain why you should consider installing a VoIP system for your business

WHAT IS VOIP?

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a communication system that allows you to make a phone call through an internet connection, instead of through a traditional analogue landline.

While the outdated analogue systems rely on a complex network and physical lines, all that your VoIP system needs is a strong broadband connection and high standard cabling, to ensure that all phones connect to the router. 

Due to its success, the range of VoIP services now on offer is steadily growing. You may already be familiar with a whole host of VoIP services: 

  • Zoom
  • Ring Central
  • Google Meets
  • Microsoft Team 

So what is about this type of software that has driven so many businesses towards VoIP phone system installations?

HOW DOES A BUSINESS BENEFIT FROM USING VOIP?

Multitasking technology

VoIP is not limited to just voice calls. Its technology facilitates multitasking, allowing you to share multiple documents, videos and images on screen with employees and clients. This enables you to collaborate with your team, just as you would in a live conference. 

Group calls

With VoIP, you can hold an online meeting with as many members of your team as necessary. The beauty of VoIP is in its flexibility; you can hold quick, short meetings to touch base with your team, or hour long conferences with clients.

Accessibility

A large part of the appeal of using VoIP is portability. Whether you are in the office or away on business, you can link any member of the team into a meeting, at any time and any place - all you need is a supported device, and an internet connection. 

Low cost 

The cost of having high speed internet installed costs significantly less than a landline. 

By integrating VoIP into your daily processes, you can cut down on the amount of commuting, general travelling, and may even wish to downsize to a smaller office space that suits a hybrid workforce – all of which proactively cut your overheads.

Speed and ease of use 

In an era where time is money, you want a system that enables you to organise a meeting with your team in under a minute. All you need is one phone number and the right access and you can be connected instantly to your team.     

High sound quality

VoIP systems have come a long way since their early development, and while you may have traumatic flashbacks of crackly voices and frozen images of your team as your signal drops, modern tech means that you have to worry about this far less than you used to.

As long as you have a high speed, reliable internet connection, which is easy to obtain now with the right expertise, you’ll enjoy a smooth VoIP experience. 

WHAT BUSINESSES WOULD BENEFIT FROM VOIP SERVICES?

While the needs of your business will be unique and complex, VoIP systems benefit a multitude of industries, from hospitality to ecommerce. This includes any organisation that:

  • Holds group calls
  • Regularly organises remote team meetings 
  • Has a large contingent of their team working from home
  • Regularly liaises with clients remotely. 
  • Has customer service at the core of their business
  • Has to communicate across various departments

It’s our experience that by implementing a VoIP system, you can improve your organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness across the board.

HIGH SPEED INTERNET CABLING AND VOIP INSTALLATION SERVICES FROM WHITESTAR SOLUTIONS

At Whitestar Solutions, we go above and beyond for our clients. Rely on our team to provide specialist services, from installing high speed internet cables that deliver exceptional internet performance, through to integrating functional, out-of-the-box VoIP systems, ready for you to use. 

If you need advice on setting up a VoIP system, or have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our dedicated and friendly VoIP experts.

Alternatively, call us on 01442 234808, or email us at welcome@whitestarsolutions.co.uk.


Hertfordshire Police

A comprehensive site survey conducted by Whitestar in preparation for redevelopment at Hertfordshire Police HQ.
Data infrastructure

How to make your infrastructure project a success

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Cat5 or Cat6 – Which is the best for your data cabling

Cat5 or Cat6 – Which is the Best for Your Data Cabling Installation? Internet network installation can be a daunting process, especially if you’re a business that relies heavily on data transfer and networking. We know that Ethernet cables aren’t the most exciting topic to research, and it’s all too easy to get tangled up in all the technical jargon about performance and specifications, but it’s important to be well informed on the differences between Cat5 and Cat6 cabling.  Not understanding the difference may have an impact on your business, costing you time and money.  That’s why our experts have put together this concise guide to help you to make the best decision for your business.  Cat5 & Cat6 Ethernet cables are used for computer networks, connecting your computer to your server or modem and allowing it to connect to the internet. Your entire IT infrastructure relies on Cat cables, so making the right choice is crucial! WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CAT5 AND CAT6 ETHERNET CABLES? Cat5 cabling used to be the highest standard for Ethernet cabling and has been since 1995. Most businesses have Cat5 cables installed, and chances are that the PC you’re currently using is connected using a Cat5 cable. There is nothing wrong with this, as Cat5 cables can cope relatively well with current levels of bandwidth and data transfer. However, as bandwidth technology has advanced, Cat5 installation has become obsolete.  While Cat5, or it’s sub-variety, Cat5E, are perfectly capable of performing well for data transfer requirements, businesses who are installing entirely new networks are advised to choose Cat6 cabling.  The reason behind this is that Cat6 cabling has a much faster bandwidth capability, making it possible to transfer significantly higher levels of data.  While Cat5 and Cat6 cables have a similar construction of tightly wound copper wiring, Cat6 cables also feature a nylon spline, to reduce ‘crosstalk’ or signal interference. WHICH IS BEST, CAT5 OR CAT6? Cat6 installations cost around 10-20% more than Cat5. While this may seem like a steep increase, you’re paying for higher quality wires.  Not only are the performance specifications impressive, but as higher bandwidth use becomes more widespread, every business will require Cat6 in order to stay ahead, making Cat6 installation a way to future-proof your business.  And yet, even though Cat5 is an outdated form of cabling, it can still handle adequate internet speeds for a low cost.  If you are a smaller business, with a minimal need for transfer speeds, there is no necessity to opt for Cat6. It is also easy to upgrade your cabling from Cat5, to Cat5E (the ‘e’ stands for enhanced), so if you are looking for a little boost, the Cat5E is the perfect alternative.  It is less expensive and adequately capable depending on your required internet speed. Cat5E also features backwards compatibility, making the overall transition to upgrading your cabling easier. The defining differences between the two types of cable are their data transfer capabilities.  Overall, the choice of Cat5 or Cat6 depends on the unique requirements of your business and your budget. WHICH BUSINESSES SHOULD USE CAT6 CABLING? Generally speaking, most businesses will need to upgrade to Cat6 cables (or faster) in the coming years. You’ll likely have to upgrade to Cat6 soon, so we highly recommend opting for them now. Despite their higher initial cost, it’ll be more expensive to have all of your Ethernet cables replaced in a few years’ time, so it makes sense to upgrade once to Cat6.  If you’re a business that uses anything, from a VOIP telephone system to a POE (power over Ethernet) device, Cat6 cables are required to handle the data needed to operate them.  Cat6 cabling is suitable for any business with a computer network that reaches a GB or one GBPS of data transfer. DATA CABLING AT WHITESTAR SOLUTIONS At Whitestar Solutions, we believe in providing honest advice and recommendations for all of our clients. Rely on our data cabling installation experts to provide tailored data cabling solutions for your business, from Cat5 & Cat6 installations through to fibre optics and structured cabling systems; whatever you need, we’re here to advise on, and handle, it all.   For more information on our services, or advice on your business’ data cabling needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our installation experts today. How to ensure your construction or building project is compliant with the latest legislation and fire safety standards How to ensure your construction or building project is compliant with the latest legislation and fire safety standards If you are carrying out electrical installation work, as part of a construction or building project, it’s essential that you comply with the rules set out in the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. It doesn’t bear thinking about if a user of the building you’re responsible for should come to any harm due to a fault in the electrics – that’s why safety needs to be paramount.  The Regulations were set up under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, requiring precautions to be taken by ‘duty holders’ against the risk of death or personal injury from electricity in work activities. Under the rules, duty holders must: have the electrical systems constructed in a way that prevents danger; maintain the electrical systems as necessary to prevent danger (including a five-year fixed installation inspection​); and ensure work carried out on electrical systems is done in a way that prevents danger. BS7671 WIRING REGULATIONS In the guidance document for the Electricity at Work Regulations, the main source of reference is BS 7671 Wiring Regulations. This is the UK’s key electrical safety standard, setting out requirements that detail how to perform electrical installations in a safe manner.  Although not a statutory document, BS 7671 sets the standard for how electrical installations should be done in the UK (and many other countries) and enables compliance with the law. Or, to put it another way, following the guidance set out in BS 7671 when undertaking
Wi-Fi Coverage

When Coverage Isn’t Everything: Ditching Your Outdated Wi-Fi Designs

When Coverage Isn’t Everything: Ditching Your Outdated Wi-Fi Designs WHY IS MY INTERNET SLOW WHEN I HAVE A FAST CONNECTION? When you experience a juddering connection with lagging Zoom meetings and a painfully slow connection, the first thing you look at is the Wi-Fi icon in the corner of the screen. However, if you want to improve your business network connectivity, there is more to look at than your signal. And if the little Wi-Fi icon is displaying four or five bars of green, you may wonder what next step to take. It may be time to update your Wi-Fi system. The traditional coverage approach of investigating Wi-Fi signal issues may be appropriate in the home, but in a modern workplace with more than fifty employees, each of who may be connected with two or three devices, signal strength is of much less importance. The local network is being asked to cope with far much more usage than when it was first set up. It’s time to look at the latest business connectivity services. HOW TO IMPROVE WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY WITH WI-FI REPEATERS There are several things you can do to boost connectivity. With a Wi-Fi repeater, for example, you can recover the Wi-Fi signal from your router and broadcast it in a poorly covered area of your workplace. Apart from the power supply, there is no need for any additional cables as Wi-Fi repeaters work by finding the signal from the router and simply repeating it by themselves. Some repeaters have a wireless signal amplifier function to enhance your speed and achieve a few hundred metres of Wi-Fi coverage. It can be tricky to find the best position for a repeater. It must be at a distance away from the router to significantly boost the range of Wi-Fi, without being too distant to receive enough speed. WiFi repeaters are also fitted with functions to safeguard your connection and enable the transference of personal files without worrying about them falling into the wrong hands. Some repeaters use Wi-Fi Mesh technology, which optimises the capabilities of the router and enables the same network name throughout the building. Contact Whitestar Solutions for more advice about whether repeaters could be the best solution for you. MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR EXISTING POWER OUTLETS If the breadth of your walls or hallways does not permit the Wi-Fi signal to be broadcast from one room to another within your office, there is another solution in the form of CPL and CPL-Wi-Fi kits. These enable you to extend your network and receive an Internet connection via Wi-Fi from any wall socket in your electrical installation. This solution only works on a single electrical circuit. REPLACING THE ROUTER If you are wondering how to improve wireless connectivity, upgrading the router is a straightforward solution. Depending on the age or generation of your router, the Wi-Fi protocol may be more or less effective. If your elderly Wi-Fi router, for example, is configured for connectivity at 300 or 400 Mbit / s, a fibre subscription with speeds of 1 Gbit / s will offer any advantage. The fibres in the box are too insignificant to be able to take advantage of the Internet speeds offered by the provider. Today, the number of connected devices has vastly grown encompassing computers, consoles, tablets and smartphones, and other Wi-Fi connected devices. Investing in a powerful Wi-Fi router is essential to avoid annoying drops in connectivity. Here at Whitestar Solutions, we offer high-quality solutions to ensure a better connection for your business. When you choose Whitestar Solutions for your wireless network, you do not need to worry about this issue, we will consider everything in order to ensure you are presented with a high-quality outcome. We provide a wide range of wireless networking solutions which start with a thorough and realistic survey of your workplace to provide you with a solid foundation on which to develop your Wi-Fi solution. This survey takes place so that our team of experts can compile a reliable, cost-effective, and secure solution to meet your requirements. The key regulation differences between legacy buildings vs new buildings and why you should care The key regulation differences between legacy buildings vs new buildings and why you should care To rewire or not to rewire is the big question when it comes to an older – or what we refer to as ‘legacy’ – building. The short-but-inconclusive answer is: it depends. When wiring a new building – be it school block, hospital ward or office block – the process is relatively straightforward. You need to build to regulations, with cables which are up to the job and don’t pose a fire hazard. As per our blog post on the Construction Products Regulation (CPR), every power, data and telecommunication cable that is intended to be permanently installed in a construction works now must display a CE-marked label and have a Declaration of Performance (DoP) drawn up and made available. SHOULD YOU REWIRE YOUR LEGACY BUILDING? Legacy buildings aren’t subject to the CPR in the same way that new buildings are. If the cabling in the building isn’t posing any health and safety risk – and isn’t hampering operations in any way – it doesn’t have to be ripped out and rewired with CE-marked cabling. But that isn’t to say you shouldn’t do a complete rewire anyway. As we said, it depends. So, what does it depend on? If your building has undergone any recent damage, or there are lights and sockets that have ceased to function as normal, then these are signs that the building needs to be rewired. Damage to the casing of wires can be a serious hazard. So, if you find any exposed wires then the best thing to do is get in touch with a contractor who can assess the full extent of the issue and advise on the next steps. WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?   If you’re not sure when the last rewiring of the building took place, or

7 Benefits of Structured Cabling

7 Benefits of Structured Cabling We’ve all seen a desk with cables dangling haphazardly from the back, or an office with network cables that are way too long looping out from the walls (or even running across the room!). If that’s you, then it might be time to consider some of the benefits of structured cabling. In this blog post, we’ll be running through the top 7 benefits of good, structured data cabling, and why our team at Whitestar Solutions are passionate about ensuring efficiency every time we implement a new data cabling system. WHAT IS STRUCTURED CABLING? Structured cabling is the act of logically arranging your cables to ensure proper functionality. Good data cable installation keeps everything organised and running smoothly by creating patch panels and multi-port trunks that logically route each cable to where they need to be.   Your organisation’s network infrastructure works almost like its nervous system, passing messages back and forth between your team, with each data cable acting like individual nerves. Poorly structured cables can be a nightmare to manage, and can cost your business more than you’d expect. That’s why we put together this introduction to structured cabling, helping you to understand exactly what the advantages of a structured cabling system are, and the basic principles of the process. 1. SAVE MONEY Inefficient cabling will prove costly in the long run, for several reasons: Disorganised cabling usually means installing cables that are longer than necessary. Longer cables are, generally, more expensive. When you scale that up, the costs can pile on. Whenever you hold routine network maintenance, it’s much harder for engineers to do their job when working with untidy cabling. Well structured cables will expedite the maintenance process, saving you from hefty fees. A highly flexible, well-planned cabling system will reduce power consumption, as fewer wires are required to perform critical tasks. So, is it worth the investment? Absolutely! You don’t have to pay a premium to get your network installed correctly, so make sure you’re working with data cabling professionals who will nail your cabling and save you money. 2. PLAN FOR THE FUTURE Holding a Teams meeting where people are dropping out or the connection is slow isn’t fun at all. One of the main advantages of a commercial data cabling system is that you’ll see higher bandwidth than before, with more efficient usage of network cables resulting in better connections and a reduced chance of issues. As businesses become more reliant on their network infrastructure, having this reliability will become paramount. 3. SIMPLIFY YOUR SPACE A nice, organised cabling system will simplify many aspects of your day-to-day. In your average office, many devices will be interconnected. Many devices = lots of opportunities for something to go wrong. With a simplified cabling system, it’s far easier to identify any anomalies and to fix problems as soon as they arise. 4. HEALTH & SAFETY While this shouldn’t be an issue for most offices, we’ve definitely seen some health and safety nightmares in our time! Loose wires are a trip hazard, and tripping over cables can also result in expensive monitors, computers and more tumbling down from a desk. 5. IMPROVED SCALABILITY Your network should be able to grow alongside your business. A well-structured network will enable this growth by being far, far easier to adjust and expand. Any infrastructure changes will be faster to implement (or deconstruct). If you’re planning a move to a new office space, then you’ll be glad to have properly structured wires that can be moved without too much hassle. 6. LESS CHANCE OF DOWNTIME One of the main causes of network downtime? Human error. Organised cables are usually obscured behind panelling, meaning that there’s far less chance of someone accidentally tampering with critical cabling. 7. LOOKS GREAT! Last, but by no means least, good cabling looks superb! A structured cabling system will be an aesthetic improvement every time. As changes made are less likely to deteriorate, your attractive cabling will stay in place indefinitely, meaning that it always looks its best. STRUCTURED DATA CABLING SUPPORT WITH WHITESTAR SOLUTIONS At Whitestar Solutions, we work closely with our clients to ensure that we have a comprehensive understanding of your business before any work gets done. Our UK-wide engineers specialise in commercial data cabling services, and are on hand ready to design, install, certify and manage fibre optic, RF and other structured telephone and data cabling systems.  With years of experience under our belt, no data cabling installation job is too difficult. We work with organisations ranging from schools to hospitals, so get in touch with us today to talk with one of our specialists about your unique needs. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, or to advise you on the next steps that you need to take. Whitestar’s values: Our promise to you Whitestar’s values: Our promise to you There are lots of buzzwords in business. ‘Core values’ are not among them. Company values matter. They support an organisation’s purpose, enforce its culture, and encourage positive employee behaviours. This sense of purpose is key to business success. Corporate core values impact not just the internal workings of an organisation, but also how it interacts with its clients, stakeholders and the world around it. According to research, 73% of purpose-oriented people are satisfied with their jobs, compared to 64% of those who are not purpose-oriented. In terms of the bottom line, the same study found that 58% of companies with a clear purpose experienced growth of more than 10%, compared to 42% of companies without one. In short, strong company values help a business grow, thrive and be a success. OUR CORE VALUES To the untrained eye, Whitestar might seem like any other electrical installation company. But look a little closer and it’s clear we’re much more than that. We continually work to be the most ethical, trustworthy business partner to our clients and pride ourselves on our strong work ethic. Central to our purpose are our core

The key regulation differences between legacy buildings vs new buildings and why you should care

The key regulation differences between legacy buildings vs new buildings and why you should care To rewire or not to rewire is the big question when it comes to an older – or what we refer to as ‘legacy’ – building. The short-but-inconclusive answer is: it depends. When wiring a new building – be it school block, hospital ward or office block – the process is relatively straightforward. You need to build to regulations, with cables which are up to the job and don’t pose a fire hazard. As per our blog post on the Construction Products Regulation (CPR), every power, data and telecommunication cable that is intended to be permanently installed in a construction works now must display a CE-marked label and have a Declaration of Performance (DoP) drawn up and made available. SHOULD YOU REWIRE YOUR LEGACY BUILDING? Legacy buildings aren’t subject to the CPR in the same way that new buildings are. If the cabling in the building isn’t posing any health and safety risk – and isn’t hampering operations in any way – it doesn’t have to be ripped out and rewired with CE-marked cabling. But that isn’t to say you shouldn’t do a complete rewire anyway. As we said, it depends. So, what does it depend on? If your building has undergone any recent damage, or there are lights and sockets that have ceased to function as normal, then these are signs that the building needs to be rewired. Damage to the casing of wires can be a serious hazard. So, if you find any exposed wires then the best thing to do is get in touch with a contractor who can assess the full extent of the issue and advise on the next steps. WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?   If you’re not sure when the last rewiring of the building took place, or the electrics are showing signs of damage, then it could be time for a complete rewiring. From a health and safety point of view, it’s your safest bet. But it’s not your only option. After all, a complete rewire doesn’t tend to come cheaply. Whitestar Solutions can carry out electrical testing and inspection which will reveal the condition of the electrics throughout the building. Deficiencies found during the inspection and testing might then be remedied such that the installation may continue to be used in safety. We offer a complete range of electrical testing and inspection services for commercial and industrial premises. We test 100% of your installation, providing a true reflection on the safety of the installation. From there, you will be provided with a number of options depending on your unique environment. For example, as a school your decision making might be different than if you are a business. But at the end of the day, you want to know that your electrical system is safe and reliable. HOW CAN YOU ENSURE SAFETY GOING FORWARD?   Whether you opt for a complete rewire of the legacy building or not, you should seriously consider implementing a robust planned preventative maintenance (PPM) programme which will ensure that safety issues are rectified before they pose a risk. We work closely with businesses across a wide range of sectors to initiate a PPM programme so that our clients have peace of mind in terms of compliance and budgets to ensure their building, their school, their hospital, their shop remains safe for staff, students, visitors and contractors alike. Get in touch with Whitestar today so that we can begin to evaluate your building project. Are fibre optics the future? Are fibre optics the future? As the world becomes ever more connected, the future of fibre optics looks increasingly bright. There is a global demand for high-speed connectivity and bandwidth that can cope with vast amounts of data that is rising exponentially, particularly among developing countries. The ability to share knowledge and communications at unprecedented levels means that fibre optic technology lies at the heart of twenty-first-century priorities. WHAT ARE FIBRE OPTICS? Fibre optics are flexible, transparent cables that are used to transmit data, images and audio via the passage of infrared light through thin fibres. And these fibres that are made of glass and occasionally plastic are extremely thin – a typical outer thread has a diameter of 125 micrometres (about the same as a human hair) while the transmitting cylinder is even tinier. In the telecommunications industry, fibre optics have almost completely replaced the copper wires that were previously used. Fibre optics are capable of transmitting light over enormously long distances. WHAT ARE FIBRE OPTICS USED FOR? Fibre optics are an essential part of the telecommunications sector, but they also have several other applications, mainly in the medical and aerospace industries. The world of medicine has used fibre optics for image transfer, illumination, and laser signal delivery for several decades. The fibre optics future in the medical sector is expected to become even more widespread. There is a developing technology that uses fibre optics, for example, that expedites the treatment of tumours and the healing process of wounds. Stringent standards are necessary for the challenging conditions of the civil aerospace industry, and fibre optic cables have recently been used to provide reliable and fast data transmission in a variety of aircraft. You may have noticed this if you have taken a recent flight. There is now no need to turn off your mobile phone, and you can access wifi throughout your time in the air. The use of fibre optics enables a smooth in-flight entertainment experience without risking any compromise to the complicated electrical systems installed in the aircraft. 5G – A CRUCIAL PART OF THE FIBRE OPTICS FUTURE With the recent successful launch of the Starlink satellites, 5G will soon succeed 4G telecommunications which currently offer connectivity to most mobile phones. Although there is a widespread assumption that 5G will replace cabled networks, the revolutionary aims of 5G would be impossible without the terrestrial infrastructure provided by fibre optics. The two technologies will complement