We’ve been hearing a lot of buzz lately about VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, which is just fancy jargon for an internet phone system. Using VoIP, you can make and receive calls over the internet as opposed to traditional phone lines.
People are hearing from friends or business acquaintances who are using VoIP that, not only are they saving money, but this “new” technology has added a lot of flexibility to their daily operations.
While it is true that VoIP systems will save you money over landlines or cellphones, there are even more benefits to utilizing the right VoIP set-up for your business.
Let’s take a look at how this technology works and visit some of the strengths and weaknesses of Voice over Internet Protocol systems.
WHAT IS VOIP?
VoIP phone systems allow you to make and receive calls through the internet rather than hardwired or cellular lines.
Internet Protocol, commonly known as IP, is a set of rules that define how data is delivered over the internet. IP works in conjunction with the transmission control protocol (TCP), which divides network traffic into smaller packets for a means of more efficient transport through the Internet. Together they are referred to as TCP/IP.
With VoIP, voice information is sent digitally over the internet through your existing network. These phone systems really took off when cloud storage was introduced because the endless amount of storage is just what VoIP needed to transfer the growing amount of data. Basically, a series of packets of digital information carries your voice data from your IP address to the IP address of your destination. The system at your end converts your voice to data packets, those packets are routed through a cloud-based Private Branch Exchange, then, at the other end, they get converted back to your voice for the listener.
THE EVOLUTION OF VOIP
VoIP has been around since the mid-90s, and, in its early stages, it didn’t work very well at all. Most of the early troublesome issues were due to slow network speed and the inability to package and read bundled data efficiently.
With today’s high-speed networks, switches and routers, those issues have been addressed. In fact, VoIP is regularly used through Wi-Fi with little or no quality issues.
As more businesses have moved to partial or fully remote offices, VoIP has become even more popular. VoIP technology is extremely portable, and it easily allows users to connect to your system from their office or at home. It’s even easy to connect if your employees travel abroad. Your employee’s dedicated phone number is linked to them wherever they choose to work.
Your internal network should be tested before installation to ensure your network speed can handle the new equipment. Generally, there will not be a heavy drain on your network speed, but you should know beforehand if you are equipped to handle the new phone system or not.
While internet service and speeds are always improving, VoIP can be tough to implement successfully if you’re in a rural or under-serviced area. The extra work for already-strained internet service can cause calls to drop or not connect…not a good situation for any business! We can help test your network to determine if VoIP will work well for your company – request a consultation.
CONCERNS WITH VOIP
One complaint that used to be common among VoIP users was poor audio quality. Issues such as jitter, echo, or static are still sometimes reported by VoIP users, although these issues are being addressed with upgrades regularly. The root cause of many audio issues is usually related to your existing network not being up to current standards, or it may be too old to handle the speed required of the new technology. Contact us and we’ll check your wiring, network switches, firewall, IP addresses, internet circuits, and everything else that might impede the speed of your network. Then, if needed, we’ll let you know what it will take to get everything up to spec.
Some people ask what happens to VoIP phones if the internet goes down. Since the phones rely on the internet, if the service goes down the phones go with it. But there are solutions in place. One safety net is a Virtual Auto Attendant that, in an emergency, can forward calls to voicemail or designated cellphones. Calls can also be routed to another location, like a home or a second office. Another option, if you’re a larger company with a lot of daily business on the line, would be to invest in dual internet providers; one as a primary and one as a backup. Generally, this is overkill, but if you’re afraid of power or internet outages affecting your business you may want to look into this option.
CONSIDER VOIP FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Old, analog phone lines are stable and reliable, but everyone knows they are way overpriced. And they lack the flexibility most businesses require. Plus, how many of us are still relying on hard-wired analog phones to run our business? Most of us rely on our cell phones for daily communication because of their remote capabilities. But, as we all know, cellular plans are also overpriced. It’s clear that VoIP is the wave of future communication. It’s inexpensive, flexible, adaptable, and will grow with the ever-changing technology.
If you are interested in finding out if a VoIP system can help you, please contact us anytime.