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What is an upstream provider?

VoIP and Internet Service Providers for small businessIn the world of cloud-based hosting and VoIP Business Telephone Systems an upstream provider is anyone who provides storage or switching capabilities. It’s really just another term for a wholesale provider.

One example could be your website hosting provider – they have a storage capacity that enables thousands of people to visit your website and many other customers websites and you rent a small bit of space from them.

CloudPBX Hosted PBX VoIP business telephone systemIn the world of Hosted PBX Telephone Systems we manage a call switching platform that is hosted at a Carrier-grade data centre and we connect to wholesale partners for Internet access as well as “switching” calls between carriers both locally via landline and mobile as well as internationally to landlines and cellular networks.

Each one of these providers is an Upstream Provider and they each operate their own equipment at a data centre.

It is important to understand that YOU have several upstream providers of your own. For example if you don’t use the Broadband Internet service of your telephone system provider (that avoids the public internet and connects directly with our VoIP platform) you are using what is called as the “Public Internet” and if something happens to your Internet connection it may affect your VoIP Business Telephone service.


An issue can occur with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for several reasons:

  • They may perform an upgrade or an update to maintain, fix or improve their service and this may require the service to be shut down temporarily.
  • They might experience a physical calamity like loss of power or issue with the data centre building
  • They might experience a hardware failure of some computer equipment at the data centre


When a disruption occurs you may need to do something on your own Router/Modem or VoIP equipment – like turn it off and then on again, ie. resetting it.

Hosted Telephone System providers work with many upstream providers (for the same services in some instances) and are able to redirect voice traffic from one to another as needed. When a problem occurs with one upstream provider we can re-route traffic to a different upstream provider and if that happens you may need to reset your equipment to ensure that it connects with the changed settings.

See your local IT Consultant

If you do experience issues with connectivity you need to make contact with the person who supports you and your local computer equipment. They will usually be able to troubleshoot the problem and deal with the relevant supplier (and speak their language).

See the advanced call handling features of modern Hosted Business Telephone Systems.

By Steve Slisar

We've used educational marketing to help students learn digital skills and how to use accounting, office administration, digital marketing, customer service and online sales skills. These skills help people find work, run better businesses and do a better job for their customers.