Gradwell Wave review: Fuss-free phoning

Easy deployment and great call features make this a likeable cloud VoIP service – and it’s good value

IT Pro Recommended
Price
£10 exc VAT per user per month (Wave 100)
  • Smooth, personalised onboarding
  • Simple, affordable licensing
  • Great range of features
  • No personal portal for users

UK-based Gradwell has been in the business communications market for over 20 years, and at the end of 2019 it launched its own cloud-hosted VoIP service. Wave has been designed from the ground up to address the needs of busy SMBs: it’s simple to deploy, easy to manage and packed with call-handling features, while offering per-user pricing that’s ideal for growing businesses.

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Wave is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), so it offers good reliability and can scale easily to cope with heavy demand. And in case you’re worried about having all your eggs in one basket, be assured that Gradwell has deployed Wave across two different AWS sites as protection against unplanned outages.

Costs are easily managed: there are three Wave packages to choose from, which include different numbers of monthly call minutes to landlines and mobiles. The cheapest package is Wave 100, which costs £10 per user per month and includes 100 minutes of calls. Obviously that will cover only very light usage; if you need more, Wave 1000 starts at £13 and allows 1,000 minutes, while Wave 3000 costs from £18 and offers, you’ve guessed it, 3,000 minutes.

When you’re ready to sign up you can expect a personal service, with a Gradwell agent on hand to talk through your needs and help you pick a call package and choose phone numbers. Very little technical knowledge is required: Gradwell offered to handle the process of porting over our existing numbers, and creating a base set of users for us. To make sure we hit the ground running, the company also assigned a personal agent to take us through a detailed on-boarding session.

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If you need them, Gradwell can even supply your VoIP handsets. Wave is currently geared up for Yealink phones, and we’ve no complaints about that as it’s the brand we choose for our own testing. A good range of models is on offer, from the basic T19 up to the slick CP960 conference phone. We went for T42S desk phones, and found that provisioning was almost a non-issue, as by the time they reached our offices their MAC addresses had already been added to our portal. All we had to do was connect the phones to our network, assign them to users and reboot and we were ready to go.

For those who prefer the soft approach, Gradwell has also created mobile apps for Android and iOS. We tried the iOS version on an iPad and were impressed by how easy it was to connect to a user’s account: all we had to do was enter the right username and password, or scan in a QR code from the user portal. There’s also a browser-based softphone for Google Chrome, which can be used to make calls, receive desktop notifications for incoming calls, create an address book and record calls to local storage.

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Wave doesn’t currently offer users their own personal portal, but the administrative console contains all the user and phone-management tools you’d expect, along with a wealth of call-handling features. Hunt groups are easy to create: you simply pick an extension, then define a series of steps determining where to route calls if they go unanswered.

There’s also a good spread of features that some providers charge extra for. A flexible call queuing system includes options for advising that calls will be recorded, playing hold music and presenting reassuring messages to ensure callers don’t hang up. Voice menus are just as versatile, as you can record voice prompts from a phone or by uploading a WAV file to the portal. Calendar routes redirect calls during specified date periods (such as weekends or bank holidays), calls can be routed according to caller ID and pickup groups can be defined so that colleagues can answer other users’ phones.

If you’re looking for the smoothest possible transition to VoIP, Wave has you covered. It’s very easy to set up and manage and offers plenty of features for the price, making it a great fuss-free VoIP solution.

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