Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is growing in popularity among small businesses as many eliminate landlines due to the lower costs and ease of use of VoIP. However, before switching a small business over to the protocol, it is important to follow a few tips in order to be sure what you choose is suitable for your needs.
How Does VoIP Work?
Before choosing a VoIP system, it is important to understand how it works. In some cases, a VoIP provider handles most of the difficult parts of the service, connecting calls to phones and software clients through their own hardware.
However, the money savings often falls in a self-hosted VoIP system. For that, you will need an IP-based private branch exchange which is a version of the PBX phone system used by most offices to route calls to the appropriate phones in your network as well as a PSTN gateway.
This gateway sits between the VOiP PBX software and the analog signals of a public switch network that converts calls to and from the digital signals necessary for operation.
What You Need
You will need a broadband connection that will accommodate the number of users you will have on the system at any given time. Small companies with very few employees will not need a significant amount of bandwidth while larger companies will require extra bandwidth.
Your routers and switches must also be able to handle the load which is why many providers suggest configurable settings along with the ability to assign VoIP traffic as a high priority.
You should also be sure the phone system can communicate over VoIP. The phone system should be SIP-enabled, although some VoIP systems require phones with H 323 technology.
Cautions and Advice
There are some cautions to keep in mind before choosing a VoIP phone system. It is important to learn how easy it is to customize the system. An on-premise system will offer more customization than a hosted system.
There are customizations available through vendors so it is important to discuss what can be done to customize your service before purchasing.
Be sure to ask about technical support as well. Although you may already have a tech support staff that can handle the majority of issues that may arise using VOiP, situations could arise where you need assistance with the system. In some businesses, there may be no technical staff which is why it is important to learn what support is available and what costs could be involved should something go wrong.
These tips and suggestions can help you choose the right VOiP system for your small business, helping you save money on your phone systems and provide better quality in telecommunications overall.
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