Voice Over IP (VoIP), allows telephone calls to be made over the Internet. Compared to traditional landline phones that use dedicated copper lines, VoIP works over your existing internet connection. In this article we’ll answer the questions:
- How does VoIP work?
- What are the benefits of switching to VoIP?
- What are the four steps to take to switch to VoIP?
What Will Businesses Gain by Switching to VoIP Telephones and How to Switch?
In recent years, VoIP has acquired significant traction among businesses. Research from Statista estimates that business users of VoIP will reach 41.6 million in 2018. Research from Software Advice estimates that 36% of US businesses were using VoIP in 2016. The main reasons companies are switching to VoIP is that it enables them to realize savings while improving collaboration in the workplace.
How Does VoIP Work?
VoIP works by converting analog voice calls into packets of data that are sent over the public Internet or over a private Internet Protocol (IP) network. A VoIP phone system consists of three main components: SIP phones, a VoIP PBX server and a VoIP Gateway. The SIP phones can be IP desk phones or applications on mobile devices that enable VoIP calls. These applications are usually referred to as soft clients or softphones. The VoIP PBX servers maintain a database of all phone numbers in the organization along with the SIP addresses of the client phones. The VoIP Gateway can be an optional component. The function of the VoIP Gateway is to convert calls between a traditional phone network and an IP network.
What Are the Benefits of Implementing VoIP for your Business?
VoIP has a series of advantages for businesses. Here are our top four:
1. Reduced Cost Per Call – VoIP calls are placed over the internet, so the cost of making the calls are rolled into your regular Internet bill.
2. Service Mobility – On a traditional phone system, each line is assigned its own phone number and is tied to a physical location. With a VoIP phone system, you can use a mobile SIP-enabled phone and make use of corporate phone system functionality via a handheld mobile device.
3. Increased Productivity – VoIP phones come equipped with a set of features that will help your staff be more productive. Call routing functionality allows your employees to create a list of numbers where they can be found before the call gets pushed to voicemail. Voice to email transcription converts voicemail into text and sends it directly to your inbox. VoIP phones take conferencing to the next level. Some phones have built-in cameras that allow you to create a video conference with just a few keystrokes.
4. Easier Scalability – With VoIP, lines can be easily added, removed, or transferred simply. When a new employee arrives, you can add a new line, when an employee leaves, you can quickly reassign or remove the line.
Frequently Asked Questions about VoIP
- Can I use VoIP with Wireless LAN? — Yes, a VoIP system can be set up over a Wireless LAN in the same way it would be set up over a wired LAN.
- Does VoIP will affect my network speed? — Like any other application that uses your internet connection, VoIP will consume part of your bandwidth. In general, talking on a VoIP call for an hour uses less bandwidth than surfing the internet for the same period. The minimum bandwidth that VoIP systems require is 88 kbps. If you are on a fast connection, you won’t notice any difference in your connection speed when placing a call. On the other hand, if your connection is very slow, it may affect the quality of your call.
- Can I use VoIP on a regular phone? — There are adapters that will let you use your regular phone as a VoIP. These adapters are called Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA). The adapter empowers a traditional phone to work with VoIP technology. However, by using your regular phone, you are missing out on some of the benefits of VoIP. To take full advantage of your VoIP implementation, it’s better to use an IP phone. You can find feature-rich phones for as low as $75.
What Are the 4 Steps for a Successful VoIP Implementation?
Switching to VoIP is a more straightforward process than you may think. Chances are you already have a LAN or Wireless network that can support your VoIP infrastructure. The most critical factors in any VoIP implementation are planning and user training. Proper planning will ensure you can provide users with the best experience and adequately accommodate for future growth. Training your users will help them embrace the new technology and get the most out of it.
Step 1: Assess Your Needs
During this step, you should determine how many extensions and IP handsets you will need and what VoIP features will make the most significant positive impact on the productivity of your employees.
Step 2: Plan Your Migration
VoIP will increase the usage of your network. To avoid quality issues with your calls – such as drooped and garbled calls – you should analyze your current network usage and execute performance tests. This will ensure that your network can manage the additional traffic. (Modern routers allow voice traffic to be given higher priority over data traffic.) You can also consider the implementation of a Virtual Lan (VLAN) network exclusively for your voice traffic.
Step 3: Execute Your Migration
Implementing a VoIP system is no a small undertaking. It will affect the capacity and performance of your network. Working with an experienced service provider can help you reduce the risks associated with this migration and avoid any unpleasant disruption in your company’s ability to communicate with clients and partners.
Step 4: Train Your Team on the New System
This point cannot be overstated. Make sure your team has familiarized themselves with the new equipment and the features before the migration is done. This will make them productive from day one and help you avoid any frustration or rejection of the change.
A Few Final Thoughts
Several states have approved legislation that allows Telecom operators to disconnect landline customers as they look to for ways to reduce or eliminate the maintenance cost of the existing landline infrastructure. So for many, switching to VoIP is just a matter of time.
PACE Technical VoIP implementation professionals will help you design and implement a successful VoIP migration, so your business can start realizing the benefits of this technology.
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