Find And Compare Different Business VoIP Solutions
Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Reema, Lynn
Small businesses these days prefer VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol for their communication needs. High-speed internet connections are becoming cheaper, so many small businesses would rather use this instead of retaining their conventional land phones. Today's VoIP hype shows how full-featured, flexible, and affordable it is. It is more of an advantage for small business owners to use VoIP solutions these days to keep up with the demands of modern consumers.
How VoIP Works
A hosted VoIP service can handle all software clients, delivery calls, and other activities offsite, especially when you sign up for a plug-and-play phone that's certified for it. Most VoIP services do not need any additional hardware, aside from the said phones. When you maintain an on-site, self-hosted VoIP, you have to get ready for more intense work. You would have to acquire an IP-based exchange of your private branch so that your calls can be routed to the right phones in the network you're using. VoIP also features the PSTN gateway found between the analog phone signals of a public network and the IP-PBX software. The gateway converts the calls from and to digital signals whenever necessary. Whatever option you want, you will be able to figure out the basic settings designed for your phone extensions and phone lines. If you want more advanced options tweaked, you have to access your VoIP's online interface.
Why Opt for VoIP?
Choosing to have a VoIP service for your business could set you back a significant amount upfront, or maybe almost nothing. It all depends on your company infrastructure and its actual size. Ordinary broadband connections you use at home can take several VoIP calls at the same time. If you want to use yours, make sure that there is enough bandwidth to accommodate other applications.
Considerations for VoIP Services
Any VoIP service needs a broadband connection. Take note of the simultaneous users that you have so that you may have an idea how much bandwidth you need. Working at a home office with only a few people around will not give you much to think about when it comes to bandwidth. However, make sure that your internal network can take a large load as well. This would include switches and routers. Most VoIP services these days tell their clients to use routers with settings for VoIP traffic and for quality of service. You should take note that most VoIP services make use of G.711 codec to make VoIP communications possible. This takes up 64 KB worth of data each second. So, even if there are many users chatting at the same time, you won't have to worry about exceeding the bandwidth caps. Just make sure that you monitor the data being used. A phone that's SIP-enabled is needed for making VoIP calls.
Before you acquire a VoIP service, make sure that your phones can be used for VoIP communication. Session-initiated protocol technology is used by most VoIP service providers. The technology is needed for assigning each software client or each phone an address. This is how the IP-PBX routes are able to place calls to specific phone lines. SIP-enabled phones will allow you to make VoIP calls, but if you choose to keep your fax machines or analog phones, use an ATA or an analog telephone adapter. Take note that you can still make VoIP calls with your old phones, but you won't be able to use the advanced features offered by SIP-enabled phones.
Finding the Right VoIP solution
One of the most cost-effective business strategies today is breaking free from the traditional form of communicating. Deciding to use VoIP services instead would really let your company save on call costs. VoIP systems are fast-growing. Many VoIP companies are springing up, making it challenging for company owners like you to choose the most efficient one. Below are some useful techniques on how you can end up with the right VoIP service provider:
- 1See if the international call rates fit your company's needs. This is a vital point to consider when searching for your VoIP provider.The rates differ among all VoIP companies. They depend on the destinations of the calls you make. Do not stop at checking if they're just affordable. Look at the individual rates that they charge for countries you always connect with, and see if they have the most inexpensive call rates in the market. You should know what your company needs at this point.Advertisement
- 2Make sure that the calls pass your company's specified standards. Consider the voice quality of the calls that the VoIP provider makes.If your company needs to have good customer service, then voice quality should be optimal, even if you have to pay additional fees. Voice quality for VoIP calls can be compromised if calls will only be made within the company premises.Advertisement
- 3Take note of SIP trunking. VoIP providers offer SIP trunking as one of their features.This enables companies to converge broadband internet, local calls, and long distance calls into just one pipe. The SIP trunk is equivalent to the T1 trunk that has to be requested from the telecommunications company. It then has to be connected to their PBX. These days, the VoIP service provider connects their SIP trunk to an IP PBX.
- 4Pinpoint the reliable one. New VoIP service providers are making themselves known almost on a weekly basis.Most of them market their services with the usual promises of having the best voice quality or being the most credible and the most affordable. These VoIP services often go up in smoke very quickly. You have to look for a VoIP company that has a good reputation and years of experience. Your company doesn't deserve to abruptly lose the ability to communicate the moment your VoIP company goes out of business.
- 5Choose an IP PBX that functions optimally with other VoIP providers. Your IP PBX software is crucial in IP telephony.Choose one that is not difficult to install or manage. It should also offer you features that are enterprise level. The IP PBX software should also work harmoniously with other VoIP providers and VoIP gateways.
What Good Does VoIP Do for Your Business?
Making calls is an important task that your company needs to complete on a daily basis. It is a given that calls cost you, depending on where the calls come from or go to. The following are some of the advantages that VoIP gives your company:
- 1Unlimited and low cost. This is the biggest attraction for VoIP companies.They are indeed less costly than the traditional means of making phone calls. With these companies, you won't have to lease or buy tons of hardware. There are even VoIP services that do not require you to invest on any new hardware at all. SIP is the only hardware that you have to acquire. The monthly rates are very low.
- 2Accessibility. If your company has employees located in remote areas, VoIP systems could easily reach them at very low costs.The VoIP providers even allow you to call your co-employees without charge even if you're in different states.
- 3Mobile. These days, VoIP providers have mobile applications that allow you to receive or make calls while you're on the move.The data connection that you use on your mobile gadget allows you to do this. You could adjust the VoIP mobile application so that it can serve as an extension to your office phone.
- 4Customized. Most VoIP companies these days allow you to set how the network directs calls.There are those that let you configure an automatic macros according to the caller's time of call or location.
- 5Scalable. This is another advantage for VoIP companies.You don't have to think of adding new hardware, which is costly. You just have to tinker with settings for the software and connect your SIP-enabled phone to your network. It would just be plug-and-play if you use a certified phone for your software or VoIP provider.
- 6More features. With VoIP service providers, you can get caller ID, faxing through the internet, conference calls, and voice mails.VoIP services also provide you with advanced call screening, virtual receptionists that greet you. They also forward your voice messages to your cellular phone or email. The system can also be integrated with your office software. Most VoIP service providers offer these as part of the subscription you signed up for. Don't worry because even if you have to pay extra, it would still set you back much less than conventional phone services.
Comparing VoIP Services
Consider the following when you compare VoIP services:
- 1Gauge the reputation. This is a crucial element to consider in comparing VoIP services.The VoIP services you select from should all be reliable and experienced. You have a small business and in order to rise up, you need a VoIP company that can cater to your company's needs.
- 2Look for simplicity. The VoIP setup should not take very long.Time is valuable and to have an immediately up and running VoIP service is a really practical. The VoIP company should require almost no new hardware installations and would have plans that are straightforward as well.
- 3Compare the hardware. SIP-enabled phones or analog phones (With ATA) can be used.However, the type of phones you choose depends on your company's needs.
- 4Asses the price. The prices referred to here are based on the monthly charges.More users would charge you a lot less. One example is a VoIP company that charges a single user $40 a month. If it has two to 20 users, the company would have to pay $20 monthly. If your business has at least 100 users, about $20 would be the monthly charge. Separate users are referred to as your mobile phone, office phone, and soft phone.Advertisement
- Avoid joining the bandwagon when it comes to choosing your VoIP service provider.
- Do your own research on VoIP services based on your company's needs.
- If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
Recent edits by: Reema, Mian Sheilette Ong