Business VoIP is growing in use worldwide. While the technology has countless advantages, it also has its share of disadvantages. Advantages include the huge potential savings and greater scalability of systems. One disadvantage is that it requires a reliable internet connection with high bandwidth availability. Don't hesitate to contact us for more information if you live in the Kitchener-Waterloo region.
Definition of VoIP
VoIP, or Voice over IP, allows users to make phone calls over LANs (local area networks) or the internet. This modern technology is capable of converting analog voice signals into digital packets of information. These packets can then be sent over the internet, allowing for conversations to take place anywhere in the world where an internet connection is available.
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A Summary Of The Benefits and Disadvantages Of VoIP
Here is a quick summary of the benefits and disadvantages of VoIP phone network systems. Continue reading for more detailed explanations.
- Voice Quality
- Extra/Less Expensive Features
- Reliable Internet Connection Required
- Power Outages/Emergencies
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Pike Lake Golf Centre
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The initial setup and ongoing costs are generally less for operating a VoIP system than a more traditional phone system. As VoIP works off your internet connection, there is no need for a traditional phone line. This means that you only need to deal with one account, one bill, for both internet and phone.
Calls from PC to PC over the internet are free. Calls from PC to landline usually have a cost attached but the rates are significantly less than with a traditional phone line.
A VoIP phone system is distinctly different from a traditional phone system. Distance or location makes no difference to a VoIP system, whether you are calling your head office on the other side of the country or making a call to the other side of the world. As long as you both have an internet connection, communication is possible.
All that is necessary is that you sign into your broadband account. If you are frequently on the road, or away from the office but wish to remain connected, you can do so at minimal cost. VoIP is much more convenient than a traditional phone line.
Unlike a PBX (Private Box Exchange) a VoIP network has a great deal of flexibility. With a private, internal phone network, you are limited to how many phones can be added to the system by the number of lines available within the system. With a VoIP network, you are limited only by bandwidth, so thousands of connections can conceivably be made.
If you have a reliable internet connection with good bandwidth, you should experience voice quality that is the equal of, if not better than, a traditional phone connection. If you are in a rural area without a strong connection, your qualities will suffer. See "Latency" below.
Extra /Less Expensive Features
Traditional phone services have a selection of extra features for which you usually pay more. VoIP is different. It comes with a wide selection of extra features like call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, caller ID, three-way calling and more. You can also send data like documents and pictures while you are engaging in conversation.
VoIP also has the advantage of allowing you, your staff, and your clients to hold video conversations, access and exchange data files, and more, while the conversation is ongoing. This allows for more integrated and flexible meetings that can seamlessly include people from multiple office locations throughout the world.
Internet Connection A Must
You cannot operate a VoIP phone system unless you have a reliable internet connection with sufficient bandwidth.
If you operate a VoIP network and the power goes out, you no longer have an internet connection, so you no longer have access to your phone system. While this may be a minor irritation if it happens rarely and the outage is short, it can be a major headache if your power is out for a longer period.
Emergency services can find it difficult to trace calls to a VoIP system.
For these two reasons, many businesses will maintain at least one traditional phone line in order to maintain communications in power outages and emergencies.
Due to bandwidth requirements, some calls may appear to lag, delay, or disappear altogether. This is because the packets of information need time to reassemble in order for an effective call to be made. This problem is becoming less of an issue as newer, more sophisticated data algorithms come into use.
Checklist Of Criteria For Switching To VoIP
1. The business must have hardware for running off SIP. SIP (Session Initiation Protocol ) is the means by which Internet telephony service providers (ITSPs) are able to deliver telephone services and unified communications for customers equipped with SIP-based private branch exchange (IP-PBX).
2. The business owners must be interested in saving money. If saving money is less important than a familiarity with an existing traditional PBX-based telephone system, then VoIP is not for you.
3. Are you looking for a greater scalability of system? VoIP allows you to grow into a phone network system in ways that a traditional PBX cannot.
4. The business must have access to high bandwidth. VoIP will not function satisfactorily without it. Check with your ISP provider if need to upgrade your bandwidth.
Most business owners agree that the advantages of VoIP far outweigh the disadvantages. Packetworks is an internet service provider that specializes in building networks that are tailored to meet your specific needs, including VoIP capability. If you match the criteria required and are interested in finding out more about what we offer, contact us.
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