Thinking of making the switch to VoIP phone service? Doing so could bring you a wealth of useful features at a fraction of the cost. As with anything, you’ll want to examine both the advantages and disadvantages of switching to VoIP. Here’s what you need to know.
What is VoIP?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. With this type of phone service, your calls are routed over an IP network (such as the Internet) rather than plain old phone lines. Thus, you’ll want to make sure that you have reliable broadband Internet service before switching to VoIP.
One of the most compelling reasons for businesses to switch to VoIP is cost. Most VoIP service providers offer unlimited calling plans without long distance charges. If you’d rather pay a flat rate per month than pay for individual minutes and long distance, going with a VoIP service plan can save you a lot of money each month. International plans are also available, at a fraction of the cost of international long distance.
Another advantage VoIP offers over traditional phone services is a robust feature set included in the plan at no additional charge. You won’t have to pay extra for Caller ID, voicemail, or call forwarding. Plus, you’ll likely receive other useful features such as voicemail-to-email, call waiting, call blocking, call parking, call transfer, do not disturb, or intercom.
Business VoIP systems, such as a VoIP PBX system, may also include valuable features such as auto attendant, music on hold, audio or video conferencing, and more. Your PBX system can also be accessed remotely, allowing the office to communicate with or route calls to remote workers and telecommuters as if they were within the same building.
VoIP services offer the ultimate in portability as well. For example, when you move your office, you can keep your same phone numbers. For day-today operations, individuals can configure their extensions to ring to their desk phones, their mobile phones, voicemail, or any other phone they may be using.
Before you make the switch, consider the disadvantages.
First, you must have a reliable Internet connection and reliable power. If the Internet goes down or the power goes out, so does your entire phone system! If your business is located in an area with frequent Internet or power outages, VoIP could disrupt your business.
Quality of service is another valid concern. Because voice calls are routed over the Internet, they are subject to packet loss, network traffic congestion, and other network issues. You may hear echoes, jitter, and white noise. You might notice a sound delay or dropouts. Within your own business network, your other network resources and your VoIP system will share bandwidth. This means that excessive use could negatively impact the rest of the network.
Another concern involves the VoIP system itself which could get infected by viruses or even hacked into!
Fortunately, many of the disadvantages of VoIP can be effectively countered, enabling you to minimize the disadvantages and maximize the advantages. Schedule a free network assessment with Quikteks to find out if your existing network is ready for VoIP. Contact us today to learn more.