Have you thought of making the switch from standard phone lines to a Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system? If so, chances are you probably have some questions about the best hosted VoIP for small businesses, and more importantly, the installation and transition process. There are several benefits to using a business VoIP service, such as improved organizational scalability and the opportunity to pay for only what you require along with seamless installation.
The cord-cutting movement is not limited to Netflix and consumer cable. As VoIP business phone systems mature and high-speed Internet becomes ubiquitous and affordable, an increasing number of companies are ditching standard telephone landlines and jumping to VoIP business phone services.
Most VoIP business phone systems amazing: the hype makes it sound more full-featured, more flexible, and best of all, considerably cheaper than placing your phone calls through conventional telephone service providers.
How Does VoIP Work?
In general, things are quite simple if you are looking for a hosted service. Most of the VoIP business phone services handle everything remotely, delivering all calls to your phones and the software clients use with ease, particularly if you use phones which are plug-and-play certified for this type of service.
Most of them require no extra on-site hardware apart from those phones; at most, you might have to find a space for a small hardware box somewhere on-site. On the other hand, maintaining a self-hosted, on-site business VoIP service needs a bit more work. You require an IP-based private branch exchange – a VoIP-friendly model of the PBX phone systems to route your business phone calls to the right phones in your network, as well as a device known as a PSTN gateway.
The PSTN gateway is situated between the analog signals of the public switched telephone network and the IP-PBX software, converting phone calls to and from digital signals as required.
Regardless of which option you select, you can usually handle simple settings of your phone lines or the extensions over the phone while tweaking more advanced settings needs diving into an online account interface of your provider.
3 Essential Things about Installing the Best Hosted VoIP for Small Business
Before you learn more about how VoIP business phone services can help your business, there are 3 essential things you should know about installing a VoIP system:
- Equipment and Batteries
VoIP business phone system equipments usually consist of headsets, phones, and telephone adapters. Just like a legacy PBX phone system, you should have an alternate source of power for your business VoIP service to reduce the effects of possible power outages. Ensure that you have an alternate power supply prepared, so you can always stay connected even when there’s a power outage.
To ensure smooth connectivity, a VoIP phone call needs at least 32 kbps of the bandwidth. 80 to 90 kbps of bandwidth offers the best hosted VoIP for small businesses. Having this will guarantee high-quality VoIP calls without any disruption. You can seek advice from your VoIP provider for more pertinent information on your broadband connectivity and whether your broadband connection fits the VoIP needs of your business.
- Router or Hosted VoIP
For business phone systems, you have two choices: either a hosted VoIP system or a router enabled QoS (quality of service). Using a router enabled QoS will enable you to prioritize voice traffic over normal traffic. If you do not have this, you may experience low-quality calls. In contrast, a hosted VoIP is simply a cloud-based phone system that will enable you to make any phone call over the Internet without conventional copper wires.
Advantages of VoIP services
- The low cost of VoIP is its greatest benefit. Business VoIP services are considerably less expensive than conventional phone services. You spend much less on hardware. In fact, most hosted VoIP services require no hardware.
- Several hosted VoIP business phone services provide mobile apps which allow you make and receive any calls from the road using your data connection. Often, you can modify the apps to act as a stand-alone extension or to ring simultaneously with your office phone.
- Scalability is another benefit. Instead of investing in an expensive new hardware, adding new extensions to any VoIP network is usually as easy as connecting your SIP-enabled phone to a specific network and tinkering with a number of software settings.
- Most IP-PBX software packages and VoIP providers deliver more robust feature sets than conventional phone providers do.
Disadvantages of VoIP
- The most significant drawback of VoIP is that if your power or your Internet service goes out, so does your VoIP service. Hosted services manage this issue by simply bumping incoming calls to your voicemail automatically. Or by re-routing all the calls to your cell phone in case of a service disruption, but that does not change the fact that you will not make or receive any calls during that time.
- Another limitation of VoIP business phone services involves emergency calling. Most VoIP providers do not provide 911 service, and the ones which do, tend to charge extra.
- Many VoIP services provide unlimited calling in Canada and the United States, but connecting to cell phones or special lines (like free conference-call services) might incur an additional charge.
- Finally, even though VoIP voice quality is often equivalent to that of a good mobile phone or a landline connection, your network quality can seriously affect the quality of your call. If you have a spotty, slow, or crowded network, the audio quality can suffer significantly.