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VoIP Switch - Four Tips for Making the Most of a Business VoIP System

August 02, 2013


When telephone companies start preparing to migrate to an all-IP based telephone network, like many are beginning to do, you know voice-over-IP (VoIP) is mature and ready for business-grade calling.

Many businesses have already migrated to VoIP and discovered that IP-based calling saves money, reduces hassle, adds features, and brings increased mobility. VoIP is no longer a bleeding edge technology for hobbyists, and the case for VoIP is strong.

When a business first makes the jump to VoIP, however, it needs to keep four factors in mind to make sure it gets the most from its VoIP system.

First, it is important to know what the business needs and does not need. There are plenty of options, and it is easy to buy more than is necessary.

Choosing the right VoIP solution requires knowing how many employees will be making phone calls at any given time, including during peak hours. It also is important to know what telephony software and hardware already exists in the office and how it will mix with the VoIP solution.

Second, it is important to make sure the business has appropriate Internet access to support VoIP. Nearly all businesses have broadband Internet, but it is important that the network is relatively clear if a business is using VoIP for its phone service. A network that is strained with employee devices and is running near its bandwidth limits will deliver choppy or inconsistent VoIP calls. It is easy to blame the VoIP provider or the Internet in general when calls are not reliable, but usually it is the Internet connection of the business that is the culprit.

VoIP calls will not slow down Internet connections by an appreciable amount, but a clogged network can slow down VoIP a lot!

The third factor to consider is whether to use a hosted PBX (News - Alert) or an on-site system. A Private Branch Exchange (PBX) connects and manages multiple phone lines with multiple extensions. A hosted PBX is hosted in the cloud by the business VoIP provider, while an on-site PBX is directly located within the office. Unless a business wants to use its legacy PBX system, it almost always makes sense to go with a hosted PBX solution since there is no capital expenditure, maintenance costs or the need to upgrade services since the provider takes care of all that.

Finally, businesses need to make sure they don’t overspend on VoIP hardware. While it may be tempting to throw out all the old phones and replace them with shiny new touch-screen IP phones, this isn’t strictly necessary. There are Analog-to-digital converters that exist to translate the data coming through a standard telephone so that it is usable by VoIP programs, so old hardware can have a second life.

While it is true that IP phones deliver a unified communication experience that old phones cannot match, including telephone directory integration, converters can make the transition to IP more gradual.

So as businesses make the move to VoIP, it is wise to keep these four business VoIP factors in mind.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

VoIP Switch - VoIP Comes of Age in the Enterprise

Traditional phone lines might have their place in a highly connected society, but the truth of the matter is, to stay afloat in a competitive business landscape, one needs a bit more than a plain old telephone system (POTS).

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