There are alternatives to the traditional office phone. You may have heard of VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), also referred to as broadband phone, Internet phone service, or digital voice. Instead of relying on traditional phone lines and infrastructure, VoIP uses the internet to transfer packets of sound and data. If your office’s traditional phone system’s current contract is up or nearly up, you may be thinking about making the switch to VoIP services.
As far as requirements for managing a VoIP system go, stable internet connection with high bandwidth is essential. If you decide to work with a vendor to manage your VoIP solution, assessing your internet, bandwidth, and infrastructure should be part of their initial setup.
Before you start working with a solutions partner, however, you’ll want to weigh VoIP advantages and disadvantages. Understanding the pros and cons can help you make an informed decision.
Switching to a VoIP plan can save companies money monthly and annually, both in direct and indirect costs.
Direct savings are reasonably straight forward: VoIP plans charge less per telephone number/per month, and the infrastructure costs for landlines cost more money than the internet connection requirement necessary for VoIP. The extra wiring costs required to run both landline phones and the internet are eliminated with VoIP as well as VoIP allows for both voice and data on the same channel. An additional direct saving is the fact that features that are considered add ons—voicemail, call recording, call waiting, etc.—in a landline plan don’t cost extra with VoIP.
Indirect savings are a little bit more complicated to quantify and depend on business choices. If employees work remotely, they remain connected to their work phone so long as they have an internet connection while they’re traveling. Increased connectivity saves money. Companies who have a salaried professional who answers phones may be able to eliminate this position entirely with VoIP’s auto-attendant feature. With VoIP, you may choose to get rid of having desk phones altogether, saving those costs as well.
Another advantage of VoIP is increased accessibility. VoIP allows users to make calls from anywhere—mobile, tablet, computer, or desk phone. If you ever miss a call, voicemails can be emailed to you instead.
VoIP supports softphones, so your office has the option not to purchase desk phones and be a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) company instead.
VoIP phone numbers are virtual, so you can use them wherever you go. For example, if your company moves physical addresses, all the VoIP phone numbers can remain the same.
It’s easier to add or delete phone numbers with VoIP. If your organization adds a new branch or you hire seasonal help, it’s much easier to change the number or phone lines.
Clearer voice quality
The voice quality of VoIP is superior to mobile phones. If the internet connection is functioning well and the bandwidth is high, the calls made and received are fast and stable.
VoIP sends voice and data over the same line, so if you want to hold an integrated meeting where you have video, phone, and are documents/images/files, etc., VoIP supports this combination where landlines cannot.
The network encryption on the internet your company uses is more robust than a traditional landline, which is notoriously easy to tap.
VoIP requires reliable internet. It also requires reliable equipment to route the internet—like a specialized VoIP router. The cables necessary to optimize the internet connection are essential as well.
Latency, lag, and shaky calls
High bandwidth is essential. Low broadband connection equals poor phone call quality. Running integrated meetings, video calls, and maintaining clear voice connections require more bandwidth than regular internet use.
Emergency services, like 911, were created with landline services in mind, and they aren’t always able to track your location through VoIP. You’ll need to tell emergency services your physical location if there’s an emergency.
Requires continuous power
Unlike the traditional telephone, VoIP calls won’t be available during power outages. They need continuous power and internet to work.
The advantages of VoIP calling far outweigh the disadvantages, especially when there are solutions experts who can help clear up any reliability issues your company may have. It’s essential to work with an experienced vendor who can assess your bandwidth needs, your existing infrastructure, and whether or not backup power sources are necessary.
The team at SumnerOne is your managed voice partner, and we’re always available to answer any questions you may have about VoIP or traditional phones. There’s a free resource to help you get started with VoIP as well. Download it here.