Why is VOIP important?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) describes the ability to transmit telephone calls via the internet by sending voice data in packets, rather than by traditional circuit transmissions of the public switched telephone network (PTSN). VoIP software transforms your voice into digital packets, compresses it, and then sends it across the internet. The digital packets are then converted back into the sound that you hear through your phone. VoIP providers arrange the calls between participants.
In recent years, VoIP has grown in popularity with businesses because of the flexibility and professional calling features that are offered for one low price. It also allows businesses to offer reliable phone service to employees. Additionally, instead of finding the space for a server room with a Private Branch Exchange (PBX), business only need to configure VoIP phones.
Once you’ve decided to make the switch to VoIP, there are a few items you’ll need to take care of in order to prepare for the transition. You will need a reliable internet connection, such as fiber from an Internet Service Provider (ISP), cable, or DSL. Also, depending on the features and data you plan to use, you may need more bandwidth than you currently have—VoIP generally requires at least 100 Kbps per device.
Types of VOIP Providers
The VoIP industry is growing quickly and there are hundreds of companies to choose from, so there is no reason to settle for any old provider. Make sure to choose the one that fits your business’ needs.
When researching the best business phone solution for your company, it is important to note that there are two types of VoIP providers to choose from; and choosing the right VoIP provider for your business is essential to having a great experience. The first step in doing so is to understand the types of providers that you can choose from:
1. The “Ikea” Providers.
These are the providers who direct you to their portal to complete a self-installation of VoIP software, and ship the phones to you so that you can then plug them in and pray it all works.
2. The “Pottery Barn” Providers.
The providers who walk you through set-up, installation, and implementation to make sure that everything is running smoothly and exceeds your expectations.
There’s nothing wrong with those “Ikea” providers—everyone loves Ikea, right? But the second option is generally the preferred choice if you want to work with a VoIP service provider who offers a partnership between them and your IT department.
What to Expect When You Select a VOIP Provider
Any type of change can be scary; however, when you know what to expect and how that change will benefit your business, change becomes a lot less frightening and a lot more exciting. Here are a few points you should consider before seeking this new business phone solution:
Pros of Using a VoIP Service
When you switch to VoIP, you can expect to benefit from several positive features, including:
VoIP phone services transmit calls over the internet, so your business will be billed one low monthly rate for unlimited calling. Incoming toll-free calls and international calls may cost, more but are still less than traditional phone service plans.
Seamless management of calls to multiple locations.
For businesses with more than one location, VoIP is a great choice because it allows for one phone number and the ability to transfer calls from one location to another. This is a great feature for increasing customer convenience.
Ease of transferring service.
You are able to maintain business continuity in any situation (including pandemics) by seamlessly redirecting calls to a different location or cell phone.
Cons of Using a VoIP Service
However, there are a few downsides to consider:
VoIP utilizes the Internet and electricity to transmit calls, so it is only as reliable as your Internet connection, and if there is a power or Wi-Fi outage, you will also lose your calling capabilities.
Service and identity theft, viruses, spamming, phishing attacks, and Denial of Service attacks are major concerns with VoIP. However, with a properly configured network and firewall, these issues can be avoided.
But, when you have a thorough understanding of what to expect from a good VoIP provider, choosing the right one is a lot easier.
How to Identify a Good VoIP Provider
There are many great VoIP providers out there, however, there may not be many providers that are great for your business. The right service provider for your company should meet your unique needs; for example: integrating with your preferred applications and programs. In order to determine which provider is right for you, you should look internally and establish a criteria for the type of provider you need based on your business goals, in-house technology, and connectivity.
Once you have a good understanding of what VoIP is, your next step is to determine your communication needs and how this service will help you to reach your business goals. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your business have multiple locations?
- Do you make a lot of outbound calls?
- Do you need a call routing solution?
- What type of phone number does your business need (toll-free, local, international, or any combination of the three)?
- Would you like your business tools to integrate with your communication solution?
- Do you use fax and/or business SMS?
- How often do your teams collaborate?
- Do you use audio and/or video conferencing?
Technology (currently in house)
Switching to VoIP will likely put a strain on your company’s internal and external networks, so it is essential to consider your current in-house technology capabilities before deciding on a provider. Consider the following:
- What is your LAN’s readiness to handle voice?
- Are your WAN’s links capable of handling data and voice requirements at peak periods?
- Does your network infrastructure have enough internal bandwidth and capacity to handle concurrent inbound and outbound calls?
- Is your firewall configured so that it will not block the safe passage of data?
- Do you have a network monitoring or management solution in place?
In the current world climate, there is a growing need for remote interactions. Increased connectivity through VoIP is a key piece of that puzzle. The integration of your VoIP system into an IoT gateway will expand your business’ connectivity, which provides you with a competitive edge over others in the industry who are still reliant on physical entities. However, some businesses will need more connectivity to remain competitive than others. Evaluate what you need and what you don’t before selecting a VoIP service provider.
Ultimately, only you know who the right provider is for your company and the criteria you use to determine that should be based on your needs and goals.
With extensive knowledge on Building Connectivity Through VoIP Service Providers, Alexant is a go-to expert consultant that can help your business through VoIP implementation.