Our company recently decided to switch from regular telephone lines (AT&T) to VoIP. I got really involved in the process because I had been interested in VoIP for quite some time, and I thought I would share some of the details about what you need to know – including what VoIP is, and what you need to know before you switch.
You may or may not familiar with VoIP, so what is VoIP exactly?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is a family of technologies and communication protocols mainly used for delivery of voice and data over the Internet. It can also be referred to as IP telephony or Internet telephony. Today, VoIP has very big impact on all sizes of Businesses simply because of the bandwidth efficiency and low costs that VoIP technology can provide. Businesses are migrating from traditional copper-wire telephone systems to VoIP systems to reduce their monthly phone costs. VoIP allows both voice and data communications to be run over a single network, which can significantly reduce infrastructure costs. Are you wondering how much you can save? The answer is anywhere from 60% to 80% and sometime even more, particularly if you make a lot of international calls.
What kind of feature you can expect when you are switch to VoIP?
This is my favorite part – you have so much control and flexibility over telephone numbers, extensions and setup. Imagine you need to have a local telephone number in Europe (or almost any other country) and make sure it calls your main office and directed to a specific extension or group of extensions. Well, this is not only possible, but it would cost you somewhere from $5 – $20 without a need to open a local office or sign any contracts. Basically, I just scratched the surface and there is much more that can be done using VoIP.
Let’s talk about requirements for VoIP
1. Have a good Internet connection
With VoIP, your voice will be transmitted over IP – the Internet Protocol. The first thing you will need is a good Internet connection.
2. Choose the type of VoIP service
Subscription (Hosted solution) or own PBX system (your own equipment). This is purely a business decision to choose one or the other, there are pro’s and con’s to each. After trying a couple of Hosted services on the market, our company decided to setup our own PBX system.
3. Choose A VoIP service
Once you have chosen the type of VoIP service you need, select a service provider to subscribe with. This is necessary to be able to place and receive calls.
4. Get Your VoIP Equipment
The equipment you need for VoIP can be cheap or quite expensive depending on your needs. VoIP phones start from $50 to $500 and more.
5. Get a phone number
This number will then be used to make or receive calls. A burning issue for most people shifting from PSTN (copper-lines) to VoIP is the possibility of keeping their existing number. The answer is yes, it’s possible in most of the cases. Then you can buy more phone numbers in different locations.
6. Set up your VoIP
Depending on your VoIP service (Hosted or local PBX) you would need to spend less or more time to setup. In either case it’s not that complex and can be done by 3rd party technicians.