Phone Systems

Does Making the Switch to Voice over IP Terrify You? Why it Shouldn’t

As digital business phone systems continue to reach their end of life, the question of what to replace it with arises. Typically, it’s the office administrator who is tasked with researching options.

The office administrators we’ve spoken with have shared that they’ve either heard of Voice over IP and have no idea what it is, or they have some idea based on ads or commercials they’ve seen, but aren’t sure if it’s the right solution for their organization. What’s more, they’re terrified of recommending a newer, untried and unproven (for them) solution.

VoIP can, indeed, be scary, especially if you’re not sure how it works. Keep reading to learn what, exactly, Voice over IP is and how it might benefit your business.

VoIP Basics

What exactly is VoIP? VoIP is an abbreviation for Voice over Internet Protocol.

VoIP allows voice/phone calls to be sent and received across the internet/data line. With traditional telephony, voice is sent across a phone wire as an analog signal. VoIP packages voice calls into data packets and sends to the receiving party via “IP.”

By using the internet to move voice traffic, users avoid the hefty surcharges and fees they’re used to seeing from the telephone company. Companies who are making the switch to VoIP are also seeing local and long distance usage savings.

Can You Use VoIP with Your Existing Digital System?

Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to use VoIP with your traditional digital system. Even those systems which allowed for VoIP support are becoming obsolete, so clients wishing to utilize VoIP will need a VoIP capable IP system.

IP systems can live in the client’s facility just like the traditional system did, or the phone system can be hosted in the cloud. For an in-depth look at the differences between premise-based IP systems and hosted cloud systems, read our article, “Business Phone Systems – Premise or Hosted?

VoIP Benefits

While the benefits of VoIP are numerous, the top three are generally considered to be:

1. Cost – the cost savings experienced by those businesses switching to VoIP can be significant. For those choosing a hosted solution, the old up-front cost of a new business phone system is eliminated. While IP handsets are still required, there’s a great deal of flexibility around cost and functionality. Additionally, as mentioned above, customers moving to VoIP typically see cost saving on their monthly phone bill.

2. Flexibility – In the old days, office managers would have to call their phone system provider if they wanted to add or remove an employee. The same would go for setting holiday hours, managing extensions, and routing calls. With a VoIP system, all of those things (and many more) become simple tasks an office administrator would be able to handle by simply logging into the system from a web browser.

3. Security – A hosted phone system lives in a secure data center. Data centers are always on and highly secure. Additionally, the cost of maintenance and upgrades to the system is the responsibility of the provider, not the customer.

VoIP Considerations

The benefits of VoIP are many, while the concerns are few. The major point to consider when contemplating a move to VoIP is bandwidth.

Most businesses are accustomed to using their internet connection for surfing the web or accessing business-related apps. When adding VoIP to the mix, it’s critical to ensure there is enough bandwidth available to support both calls and internet surfing.

In many cases, business will choose to bring in a secondary internet connection solely dedicated to voice. Voice calls typically require 100K per call bidirectionally. That means that if your broadband connection has a 10MB download and a 500K upload, you’ll only be able to support a few calls concurrently.

Partner With a Telecom Company Who Knows

Modern Telecom has been implementing VoIP solutions for the SMB space since its inception. Choosing a partner who knows what to look for in advance will allow you to avoid a bad VoIP experience. VoIP is here and becoming more and more prolific across the globe every day. Rather than fearing what you might not fully understand, work with a telecom partner who does, and let us put your fears to rest today.

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Andy Offenberger | telecom consultant