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Frequently Asked Questions

Here we have included only, the commonly asked 10 questions. If you want to read more information about a particular topic, please visit our blog or library page.

"Structured Cabling" refers to a standardized cabling architecture, specified by EIA/TIA 568 in the US and ISO 11801 internationally. It uses twisted pair and fiber optic cables to create a standardized cabling system designed for telephones and LANs built by many manufacturers. The nomenclature here is even less precise. Vendors also refer to this as "structured cabling", DATA-Voice Cabling, low-voltage cabling and limited-energy cabling.

Structured cabling is the communication backbone of a company, running information pathways to and from different areas of your business. Just as your eyes, ears, mouth, hands and nervous system are controlled by your brain; your companies video, audio, security, and data systems run through one or more control centers to help your company function.

Structured Cabling is the best way to enhance your network’s capabilities. In contrast to traditional wiring, Structured Cabling is designed to be faster and more efficient, which allows your business to operate at a higher rate of speed. It also has the capability to integrate your phone system into the network allowing for features such as reading your voicemail on your computer screen.

Speed, efficiency, and consistency are the top selling points of Structured Cabling. It’s like moving from dial-up to cable internet. Transfers and downloads are much quicker, the cables are less bothersome because they’re combined, and data cables have the ability to integrate your current telephonic system into your existing network.

Structured Cabling can perform all of your cabling needs in one convenient package. Instead of running phone lines, internet lines, and other types of wiring, Structured Cabling can do it all, providing a much more consistent and easy-to-use integrated system. Instead of multiple systems running around one another, this combines them into one simple package.

A patch cable is used at the cabinet end for linking the dedicated cabling port to the required equipment in the communications cabinet. For example an outlet could be “patched” from the panel to a Data Switch, Telephone Switch, CCTV Switch, WIFI Switch Etc.

CAT 5 and CAT 6 cable is short term for Category 5 and Category 6 which is the same as Ethernet cable. Essentially, it’s a cable that houses 4 pairs of copper wiring that can integrate phone and data capabilities into one cable.

The general difference between Cat5e cabling and Cat6 cabling is in the transmission performance, and extension of the available bandwidth from 100 MHz for category 5e to 250 MHz for category 6. This includes better insertion loss, near end crosstalk (NEXT), return loss, and equal level far end crosstalk (ELFEXT). These improvements provide a higher signal to noise ratio, allowing higher reliability for current applications and higher data rates for future applications.

CAT 5 cables are a solid standard for any commercial business and as the number gets bigger, the capabilities expand. So a CAT 5e cable (the ‘e’ stands for ‘enhanced’) supports gigabit applications up to 1000 mbps and CAT 6 has twice the bandwidth of CAT 5 and is the fastest cable on the market today.

Voice and data cabling is a must if you’re looking to stay ahead of the game. The integration allows for faster and more efficient customer service and troubleshooting is much simpler with grouped cables. Simply put, data cabling isn't just better for today's fast-paced, internet-driven market, it’s essential.

Industry predictions indicate that 80 to 90 present of all new installations will be cabled with category 6. The fact that category 6 link and channel requirements are backward compatible to category 5e makes it very easy for customers to choose category 6 and supersede category 5e in their networks. Applications that worked over category 5e will work over category 6. Cat6A and above are also taking over specifications for new installations, especially in data centres and Audio Visual Installations.

The maximum length (maximum certifiable length) for CAT 5/CAT 6 patch or crossover cables is 328 feet (100 meters). Beyond that, you run the risk of signal loss and other complications. The maximum distance should be 90m between the patch panel and the DATA/Voice point.

Poor installation, poor terminations, and inferior materials are the main issues with performance on cabling systems. If the cable is poorly installed and terminated then data loss and errors will be a continuous problem, from lost data, dropped VOIP Calls and poor Visual displays, Interference from other cables and outside factors such as electrical, microwave, lighting and noise will also affect the performance of the cable.

On a CAT 5e crossover cable, the wiring of pins 1, 2, 3, and 6 are "crossed-over" to pins 3, 6, 1, and 2. CAT 5e crossover cables are used to connect two PCs directly to each other, without the use of any kind of router, hub, or switch. This is called a peer-to-peer network, and is a low-cost solution to allow file and Internet sharing between two computers.

If you want to protect your business, home or any other private property, CCTV has never been as accessible as it now. With low prices, easy installation and the technology allowing you to get HD pictures now is a good time to invest in a CCTV system.

Working in conjunction with an alarm system, CCTV makes a great deterrent for would be thieves. If you are looking to purchase CCTV for your business there are even more reasons why you should have one installed.

With a CCTV installed at your business premises you will be able to help ensure your employee and customer safety, maintain security around any stock, protect your property or even keep an eye on your staff.

There are a huge variety of CCTV systems available in the current market like Hikvision, CP Plus, Dahua, Honeywell, Panasonic, Bosch and much more. Work on the basis that whatever you need there is a solution - quality and budgets are the only limiting factor.

MRK Solutions is highly capable to suggest what system will fit in your budget and can give better performence for your homes, businesses and large organisations. We have a wide choice of cameras - internal, external, vandal resistant, heat sensitive, covert, domes, conventional cameras and more.

It really depends on the results of our survey. We always recommend an element of contingency, so that you can add an extra camera, without having to purchase another expensive recorder. Knowing which CCTV Camera to use for which application can be tricky.

New technology means that we can record images to your own existing IT hardware via a piece of software known as a Network Video Recorder (NVR). This kind of solution requires the full support of your IT professionals to execute securely and effectively, but removes the cost of having a standalone DVR. NVRs also support megapixel cameras that provide High Definition (HD) images, due to the fact images are recorded through computer networks, which allow for quicker and greater data transfer.

DVR is short for Digital Video Recorder, a device that records CCTV camera footage onto one or more hard disks. It has a number of BNC connections to connect to the cameras. Our DVR’s can support 4, 8, 16 and 32 channels (connections) on the BNC ports.

NVR is short for Network Video Recorder, an IP cameras recording device. An NVR offers that same functionality as a DVR, as it records CCTV camera footage, but it is tailored for IP CCTV cameras, they also come in 4, 8, 16, 32 channels.

With the help of an App (Depends on solution we are providing) you can connect to any of our recorders as long as there’s a network connection. If you want to connect from a PC then there is software available which helps to view live camera's, previous recordings view and download etc.

DVR/NVR will overwrite the old data when the hard drive is full. This means the recorder will continuously record the latest footage in order to Last In First Out.

There are literally thousands of different types of camera. Whatever your application, we will specify the correct camera for you. It’s a specialist skill and it is a very fast moving technology. What’s also good is that the costs are coming down, for even the very best cameras.

IP CCTV system : 100m
HD CCTV system: 200m
This is dependent on good quality cables, older cables may reduce the range of the signal.

Yes they can, and what’s more, they never sleep, protect the whole property and typically pay for themselves (ROI) in around 18 months.

More than ever - for reliable, cost effective security, nothing comes close.

PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange, sometime it recognize by EPABX ( Electronic Private Autometic Branch Exchange ) which is basically a private telephone network used within a company or organization. The users of the PBX phone system can communicate internally (within their premises of company) and as well as externally (with the outside world) if they need, using different communication channels like SIP Trunks (Voice over IP), Digital Trunk (ISDN often called PRI) or Analog Trunks (PSTN). Additionally, it provides some extra features like transfer calls, conference call, music on hold(MOH), voicemail, call recording, interactive voice resposnse (IVRs) and much more.

The main advantage of PBX is that it helps cut the cost by reducing the requirement of having a separate line (from service provider or central office) for each user and providing free call switching within the enterprise. This prime benefit has remained available ever since the invention of analog PBXs and has continued with the transition to digital and lately to IP PBXs. However, with advancements in technology, PBXs now offer much more advanced features to support functions of the enterprise.

With a long list of features available, it is now for the users to select the set of features and capabilities that meet their business needs. The choice to select analog, digital or IP PBX depends primarily on:

  • Type of business: Businesses that rely on strong customer relationships (like banks) have more communication requirements as compared to transaction based businesses (like retail stores).
  • Impact of features on operations: Advanced features provided by the modern PBX will help the enterprise to achieve its goals such as integration of PBX with CRM (Customer Relations Management) System.
  • Existing infrastructure (if there is any): Existing infrastructure like LAN (Local Area Network) within the enterprise can make the transition from analog or digital to IP PBX much easier and cost effective.

The understanding of Analog, Digital and IP PBX and the features they offer, is crucial for any enterprise to selecting the type of PBX. At MRK Solutions we help you to pick the suitable PBX for your Business need here is a comparison of Analog, Digital and IP PBX – their advantages and limitations – and all related factors for the users to make the right choice of PBX for their needs and budget.

Analog PBX
Analogue phone systems are built on traditional copper wire and use the so-called Plain Old Telephone system. Audio or video signals are converted into electronic pulses, using analogue phones and phone equipment, so that it can be transferred along the network, and then converted back to audio or video at delivery point. They are reliable, offer good voice quality and provide the basic features of a typical home phone (such as hold, mute, redial & speed dial) and can transfer calls between extensions. Analog PBX keeps the extensions functioning even when the power goes out and the users remain connected. They are relatively cheap as they are simple and have limited options to expand or upgrade. However being less modular, analog PBXs are expensive to support, configure and upgrade. For instance, changing the location of an extension necessitates rewiring of punchboard by an experienced technician.

Digital PBX
Digital phone systems may or may not use copper wires - other technologies such as fibre optics are available to carry data. Audio and video signals are converted into binary code, or digital signals, using either specific phones or converters like gateways. Digital PBXs offer a number of advanced features while providing the same (or better) voice quality and improved signal processing than analog PBXs. Some of these features include call forwarding, voicemail and virtual auto attendants. They provide the flexibility of adding new features and capabilities by adding new cards (add-on modules) on the bus structure in the existing PBX cabinet, such as:

  • Analog and IP phones can be connected.
  • Additional features like VoIP server, alarm systems and music-on-hold can be added.
  • Call center and enterprise sales software can be integrated.

IP PBX
An IP PBX offers call switching between VoIP (Voice over IP) extensions and digital / analog extensions within the enterprise with the ability to communicate with external users using both PSTN trunk lines and Internet / Intranet. IP PBXs are “software-based”, which can have a dedicated hardware or can be configured on a computer as software.
An IP PBX provides all the features of a typical analog or digital PBX and in addition offers several advanced features such as:

  • Unified communications: Single network of voice and video.
  • Presence Services and Mobility.
  • Voicemail delivery to email and fax delivery to email.
  • Voicemail transcription to SMS (speech to text)
  • TTS/ASR (text to speech/automatic speech recognition).
  • VoIP phone/soft phone connectivity.
  • Conferencing.
  • Interactive voice response (IVR).
The main advantages of IP PBX are:
  • Economy:IP PBX deployment is very economical in very enterprises where LAN (Local Area Networks) exist, as IP phones will use the existing LAN and no extra expenditure is required for phone extensions. IP PBXs use Intranet and Internet for routing calls which can significantly reduce the telephone bills including long distance calls.
  • Unified Communication:IP PBX converges the two separate systems to a single more comprehensive network which also reduces the maintence cost.
  • Scalability:IP PBX being software based can expand with the growing number of employees and changing needs as there is no need of rewiring or adding new hardware. An IP PBX makes it easy to add any additional functionality as features can be added by simply upgrading the software.
  • Flexibility:Using IP PBX, the offices of an enterprise which may be geographically spread across the globe can be visible to the user as a single entity. Moreover, if the location of the office is changed there is no requirement of downtime and original phone numbers can be maintained using connection over Internet / Intranet.
  • Transition:IP PBX allow smooth migration from analog or digital PBX systems as they can integrate with both analog and digital phones.
  • Evolving Technology:In the past, IP phones did not work without power, which was considered a disadvantage as analog / digital extensions can work during power outage. With the introduction of Power over Ethernet (POE), IP Phones do not require a separate electrical outlet and can work during power outages.
  • Security:Security and encryption can be easily implemented in the IP PBX as compared to digital and analog PBXs.

A TDM (Time Division Multiplexers) PBX is one of the most common types of voice infrastructures as it has been around the longest. A TDM PBX consists of proprietary, self-contained systems as it was designed before contemporary server technology was invented.

Involving a cabinet with numerous different boards that can perform certain functions, for example intercom functionality boards or analog extension boards, the TDM PBX is coming to the end of its life cycle. The TDM PBX boards are only compatible with systems from the same vendor as an overall architecture, locking in its users to use the same vendor for everything.

A TDM PBX requires dedicated staff to be able to manage it as well as extensive maintenance. It is mostly used by companies which have yet to update their network cabling.
The main difference between a TDM PBX and an IP PBX is that an IP PBX uses Internet Protocol to route calls whereas a TDM PBX uses physical switches. Additionally, an IP PBX is scalable, offers no vendor lock-in and can reduce telco costs drastically.

A PRI (Primary Rate Interface) is a telecommunication standard used in the Integrated Services Digital Network(ISDN) for carrying multiple DS0 voice and data transmissions between two physical locations. PRI was developed specifically for industrial or large quantity users. It is an industrial ISDN line, while the Basic Rate Interface, or BRI, caters to home and small enterprises.

Both Primary Rate Interface and Basic Rate Interface are made up of a number of B channels and D channels. The B Channel (Bearer Channel) is used for data transmission, including voice, and the D channel is meant for signaling and control. A PRI is made up of 23 B-channels, one 64 Kbps D-channel in a T-1 configuration, 30 B-channels, and 1 D-channel using an E1 line.

Interactive Voice Response or IVR is a telephone technology that allows customers to interact with the company’s host system through configurable voice menus, in real time, using DTMF tones.

In an Interactive Voice Response system, callers are given the choice to select options by pressing digits. The press of the digit on the telephone keypad sends a DTMF tone to the company host system which then selects the appropriate action / response according to the digit pressed.

IVR systems can normally handle and service high volumes of phone calls. With an Interactive Voice Response system, businesses can reduce costs and improve customers’ experience as Interactive Voice Response systems allow callers to get the information they need 24 hours a day without the need of costly human agents.

DID stands for – Direct Inward Dialing (or DDI, Direct Dialling Inward in Europe) is a feature offered by telephone companies for use with their customers’ PBX system, whereby the telephone company (telco) allocates a range of telephone numbers associated with one or more phone lines. DID allows a company to assign a personal number to each employee, without requiring a separate physical phone line, for each, to connect to the PBX. This way, telephony traffic can be split up and managed more easily.

For example, if an organization has 35 employees and each employee has a separate telephone number, or extension, within its physical location, the organization can rent One PRI of 30 physical channel or trunk lines from the telephone company that will allow 30 phone calls to take place simultaneously. Others would have to wait for an available line and anyone dialling into the system while all 30 lines are in use would get either a busy signal or be directed to a voice mail system. A DID system can also be used for fax and Auto Attendant / IVR.

DID works similarly for VoIP communications. To allow PSTN users to directly reach VoIP users, DID numbers are assigned to a gateway. The gateway connects the PSTN (public switched telephone network) to the VoIP network, routing and translating calls between the two networks for the VoIP user. Calls from the PSTN will be directed to the VoIP user who holds the corresponding DID number.

DID requires that you purchase an ISDN or Digital line and ask the telephone company to assign a range of numbers. You will then need DID capable equipment at your premises which consists of BRI, E1 or T1 cards or Gateways.

A voicemail system is a centralized system used in businesses for sending, storing and retrieving audio messages, just like an answering machine would do at home. Voicemail systems make a Phone System more flexible and powerful by allowing information and messages to pass between users even when one of them is not present.

How does a Voicemail system work?

Each extension in a phone system is normally linked to a voice mailbox, so when the number is called and the line is not answered or is busy, the caller listens to a message previously recorded by the user. This message can give instructions to the caller to leave a voice message, or provide other available options. Options include paging the user or being transferred to another extension or a receptionist. Voicemail systems also provide notifications to users to inform them of new voicemails. Most modern voicemail systems provide multiple ways for users to check their voicemail including access through PCs, mobile phones, landlines or even through VoIP Apps running on smartphones.

A voicemail system in a business is essential to keep external and internal communications flowing seamlessly and efficiently. 3CX has integrated a free voice mail system in its IP PBX. 3CX Phone System delivers a complete voice mail solution that incorporates Unified Communications by allowing voicemail to be forwarded to the user’s email inbox.

Auto-Attendant (or automated attendant) is a term commonly used in telephony to describe a voice menu system that allows callers to be transferred to an extension without going through a telephone operator or receptionist. The auto-attendant is also known as a digital receptionist.

For a caller to find a user on a phone system, a dial-by-name directory is usually available. This feature lists users by name, allowing the caller to press a key to automatically ring the extension of a user once his/her extension is announced by the auto attendant.

If a user is not available, the digital receptionist directs callers to the appropriate voicemail of the user to leave a message.
Having an auto-attendant in a phone system is a very useful and cost-effective feature for a business, as it replaces/helps the human operator by automating and simplifying the incoming phone call procedure.

Currently, there is a large number of communication channels, and of different types, made available to technology users. To put a (indicative but by no means complete) list together:

  • W-Mail
  • Telephony (fixed-line, mobile, VoIP-based)
  • Audio/video conferencing
  • Status (as an example, consider your list of contacts in Facebook, and the relevant icons that show individual contacts to be online or away)
  • Social media (think Twitter, Facebook, Vines, Whats App, Instagram, and so on…)

Some of these communication channels are of the “store-and-forward” type, in the sense that the information is delivered in one direction, and remains accessible (almost) indefinitely for the remote parts to view it when he has the time; e-mail is the grand-daddy of this communication style. Others, however, are more immediate, and require rapid response (often interrupting other tasks); telephony is the obvious largest contender in this category. Each of these different communication channels typically requires its own “app” to access the information being exchanged. As the number of channels we need to give attention to increases, the harder it becomes to manage them all efficiently.

So What is Unified Communications?

Unified Communications, often abbreviated to simply UC, is a generic hold-all term to describe the market’s efforts to integrate all the “apps” (and therefore the communication channels) to allow the user to have all this information easily accessible, irrespective of when or where he needs access (home, work, in a car, on a train…), and how he needs access (laptop, tablet, smartphone, internet cafe…).

UC effectively blurs the demarcation lines between the communication channels. For example, a user can receive a voicemail message and can choose to access it through email or any phone. The sender’s status can be seen through presence information, and if online a response can be sent immediately through chat message or video call. The objective of Unified Communications is to unify and streamline those business procedures that involve human communications.

In summary, the term Unified Communications does not describe a technology, or even a group of technologies, but rather it defines the ongoing process of convergence that is happening in the market, bringing together vendors, technologies, applications, processes, and users – Unified Communications is the integration of all separate communications components into a homogeneous, efficient, productive user experience.

Voice over IP is short for Voice over Internet Protocol, and is better known as VoIP.Voice over IP refers to the transmission of voice traffic over internet-based networks instead of the traditional PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) telephone networks. The Internet Protocol (IP) was originally designed for data networking and following its success, the protocol has been adapted to voice networking by packetizing the information and transmitting it as IP data packets. VoIP is now available on many smartphones, personal computers and on internet access devices such as tablets.

VoIP can facilitate tasks and deliver services that might be cumbersome or costly to implement when using traditional PSTN:

  • More than one phone call can be transmitted on the same broadband phone line. This way, voice over IP can facilitate the addition of telephone lines to businesses without the need for additional physical lines.
  • Features that are usually charged extra by telecommunication companies, such as call forwarding, caller ID or automatic redialing, are simple with voice over IP technology.
  • Unified Communications are secured with voice over IP technology, as it allows integration with other services available on the internet such as video conversation, messaging, etc.