We deal with many businesses who want to make the switch to a VoIP business phone system but are confused about what exactly that entails. VoIP is a very effective and user-friendly solution, but there are a few things you'll have to consider before making the switch. Here's what you need to know about switching to VoIP business phones.
You Need A Strong Internet Connection
VoIP phones operate using your internet connection. That means you'll need a fast, reliable internet connection in order to make the most of it. Trying to use VoIP with weak internet can place severe limitations on the number of users who can make calls at once as well the call quality itself. The recommended amount of bandwidth is roughly 85-100 kbps per call. That means if you have 25 users you would need about 2.5 Mbps to ensure that everyone could make a call at the same time.
Keep in mind that other activities can impact your available bandwidth and even good internet fluctuates from time to time. It's best to have more bandwidth than you theoretically need to account for this. You can also choose to operate a separate network just for your calls. This is often ideal, as it allows you to make calls without having to worry about how the rest of your work duties will impact your bandwidth.
You Need The Right Equipment
VoIP phone systems work by utilizing your internet, but in order to do so, they require some special hardware. This includes the servers, interface cards, and appliances. You'll usually be responsible for purchasing this hardware and maintaining it — whether through an in-house IT team or a third party. Some providers will let you rent the hardware and handle maintenance for you, but this isn't always a great deal.
There are remotely hosted solutions that don't involve installing any special hardware at your business site. In many cases — especially for small businesses with limited room or small budgets — this can be an ideal solution. Keep in mind that with hosted solutions you won't actually own any of the necessary hardware, so if you want to change providers you'll either need to move to another hosted solution or buy the required hardware.
You Need A Backup Plan
VoIP works exclusively over the internet, so if your internet connection goes down you can't make or receive calls. This just won't do for most businesses. Your ability to make and receive calls is one of your most important assets. For that reason, many modern VoIP business phone systems have some redundancy built in.
When shopping for a business phone system, you should be sure to ask about options for redundancy. If they don't offer any there are a few things that you can do on your end such as having a backup internet provider and a UPS for when the power goes out, but it's always preferable to have some redundancy built in.
At Atlantic Communications our team has decades of experience as a full-service business phone provider. Please, contact us today to learn more about the business phone systems we offer or to schedule an evaluation for your business.