Top Tier Business VoIP provider 8×8, Inc. recently conducted a third-party test, with the help of Wainhouse Research (WR), to see how well their services would be measured by an independent party. To conduct the evaluation WR signed up under a false name, to ensure that they would be treated the same as any other customer. WR ordered several phones, and spread their three test offices across several states; two had well-known internet providers, the third was a university, with its own network.

Before I get into specifics of the test, the most important test is that of call availability and sound quality. Availability is sometimes measured in “nines,” as in “90% availability” or “99.99%.” The gold standard is “five nines,” which stands for “99.999%,” or about five minutes of network downtime per year. The WR team experienced zero call failures or audio issues, and gave high marks for sound quality, especially when connected to another VoIP phone.

Wainhouse Research ordered seven Polycom desktop IP phones, one Polycom conference phone, and a D-Link QoS router able to prioritize VoIP traffic across the network. WR’s test facility planned to use the routers they already had, and install the special router if there was a problem with network traffic affecting sound quality. As it turned out, 8×8’s service performed so well there was no need to install the QoS router.

The phones were easy to activate and set up, and local administrators were able to understand the features of network with only an hour of training. The administrators used the “8×8 Customer Self Service Portal” to activate new users, and to oversee the entire PBX. Local administrators were able to set up the auto attendant with specific rules based on the user, the incoming caller, and the time of day. See the graphic below for an example of how “The Boss” set up his phone down to the tiniest detail.

Wainhouse Research tested the various features of 8×8’s service for sound quality and ease of use, including softphone, mobile integration, internet-fax, virtual meetings, and integration with cloud-based software. WR was very pleased with the sound quality, range of PBX features, and ease of use. WR gave 8×8 very high marks, as illustrated below.

Unlimited calling and many included calling features is just a small part of the overall business VoIP package. 8×8 offers a wide range of features, from basic voice mail to highly defined calling parameters that utilize an assortment of phones.

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