VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. This implies that to make phone calls or share any kind of voice data, you don’t need the traditional phone lines, sometimes also referred to as POTS. All you need is a solid internet connection, and you are all set.
You might be wondering, why overhaul a perfectly working phone system just because something new has come up? The answer lies in the QoS or the quality of service. VoIP is faster, with lower latency, and costs much less.
With VoIP, you can make long-distance calls at the same rate as any other call. Further, you don’t need a second VoIP phone system other than your internet connection, which you would get established as it is to conduct your day-to-day business in this age of technology. Therefore, VoIP is a much more streamlined way of connecting to your remote offices and with your clients.
There are some advantages and disadvantages of VoIP that you can’t ignore. Below are some pros and cons of VoIP from a business point of view.
As we know that it is a superior technology, there are a few benefits of VoIP system, especially from the point of view of a small business owner or a working professional. These benefits are quite a lot when you compare costs of lost time and lost business. These vouch for a strong case for businesses to go for VoIP instead of traditional phone lines. So, without further ado, have a look at some of these benefits or advantages:
One of the advantages of VoIP is, you don’t have to wait two weeks for a new phone line to be installed. In the “old” days, if you wanted to add a phone line, you had to call the phone company, wait online while the customer service rep typed the service order, hope that a line was available, then wait a week or two for a service technician to show up and install the line and probably a phone jack.
If you happened to be indisposed or stepped out when the technician arrived or had the misfortune of having your order assigned to an unscrupulous tech who wanted to shorten his or her day, you might receive the dreaded “no access” and have your order sent to the back of the tech dispatch line.
However, all this is no longer an issue! The reason is that VoIP phone lines aren’t physical circuits; they’re call paths on the internet. With the use of compression and because the bandwidth has become so prevalent, a business can receive just about as many phone lines as they want. New lines can be added in hours, not days or weeks, and a tech visit is unnecessary.
As it is well-known that lost time is lost money, you don’t have to bear such losses with VoIP because of its quick installation.
If you have VoIP, you don’t have to call the phone company for time to time changes to your phone plan. With older technologies, if you needed to make changes to your business phone service, you would have to call the phone company. That could involve navigating through a confusing menu of options, waiting in the queue, getting passed around, waiting in another queue, and then waiting a day or two for the changes to take place.
With VoIP, you probably have a customer portal where you can make just about any change to your service while you drink your morning coffee and listen to your favorite podcast.
Ever found yourself caught on a call when you needed to be leaving your office to make it to an appointment or your kid’s sporting match? Or maybe you started the call on your wireless phone but would like to transition the call to your desk phone that offered better call quality?
Another advantage of VoIP is, you don’t have to be restricted to your office to attend your work calls. Your smartphone can work in unison with your desk phone. Neither do you have to bear with poor call connections just because you have initiated the call on your smartphone.
VoIP can bridge the gap between your office phone equipment and your personal wireless phone. You can have your desk phone number simultaneously ring on your wireless phone or transfer a call from your desk phone to your wireless without interrupting the call. You can make it, so your calls find you by establishing specific call rules for any time of the day or week.
If you are anything like me, you wouldn’t want to miss out on a client call just because you are not in your office. I like to be available and responsive. If I leave my office, I forward my office number to my wireless phone. I only give out one phone number, and people can always reach me. However, this only works if I remember to turn my Call Forwarding on.
There have been times when I forgot to turn my Call Forwarding off and had to speak on my cell phone instead of my desk phone. It wouldn’t be much of a problem when you’re in town and not too far from your office. But if you’re out of town and had no one local to take care of the client call for you, you have to monitor your voicemail proactively.
With access to VoIP portals, you can turn your Call Forwarding on or off from anywhere. This means that you don’t have to remember to turn it on when you are leaving the office. There are options such as auto-forwarding, which allows your calls to automatically forward to your cell phone if you don’t answer your desk phone for a while. With such functionality, you would never miss an important work call, no matter where you are.
There was a time when it was advisable to contact the phone company before you signed a new office lease to see if your business phone number would work at your new location. Either that or you had to pay for services like Remote Call Forwarding (a virtual phone number that rings to a hard line) or Intercept (a recording giving out your new phone number).
You never have to change your phone number which is the number five advantage of VoIP in our list. This means that phone numbers have become like email addresses; you can use them anywhere, and they never have to change.
Switched long-distance rates are so low that dedicated long-distance is becoming a thing of the past. There was a time when there were companies that were strictly long-distance providers. I worked for a company called Unidial that built their business by offering long-distance for 8.9 cents per minute. The margins are so low now that companies specializing in long-distance are a thing of the past. Businesses obtain a long distance from their voice provider and don’t give it a second thought.
As businesses achieve savings by bundling voice and data services, providers can deliver these services more economically. Providers offer beefed-up circuits, featuring dynamic bandwidth. Integrated circuits can be purchased for less money than dedicated circuits. Converged services make better use of a company’s network capacity because the voice is transmitted over virtual not fixed circuits; bandwidth is automatically freed up when voice calls are completed.
SIP Trunks are virtual voice paths over the internet. They allow companies to consolidate their voice communication and take advantage of economies of scale. SIP trunks can be ordered in any quantity, not in increments of 23 like PRI.
It used to be that a business could relocate a half-mile away and still have to change their phone numbers. A business would need to turn to intercept services (recording providing their new phone number) or Remote Call Forwarding (a virtual forwarding phone number to their new number) to receive calls after a move. Now a business can port all their phone numbers, from all their locations, from almost anywhere in the country, and centralize them at their headquarters. Businesses can move without fear of losing their phone numbers and can make existing Remote Call Forwarding phone numbers DIDs on their existing voice circuits, thanks to VoIP.
However, no technology is only beneficial. Even VoIP technology has some cons which you should be aware of to make an informed decision.
There is always some room for improvement in every new technology, and VoIP is no exception. Below are some limitations or cons of VoIP that you might want to consider before opting for it. You need to be aware of these disadvantages while deciding whether VoIP is the best technology for you.
In case you have thought of placing a hosted VoIP, you need to be prepared for a drop in QoS. For a small business, hosted VoIP is the most cost-effective solution; however, it isn’t free from fault.
It is best to have your own bandwidth than relying on a third-party internet connection. That’s because, unless your VoIP provider can control the internet connection, there’s no way it can provide Quality of Service (QoS), the VoIP call quality standard. You could face a lot of issues in such a scenario, including latency, jitter, and throughput issues.
Further, if you use different companies for your internet and phone service and you experience quality issues such as dropped calls, echo, and delays, you won’t have any recourse. Your VoIP provider will blame your internet connection, while your internet service provider will blame the VoIP provider. That’s why it is number one disadvantage of VoIP in our list.
If you have remote offices, you might not receive the same internet quality at all locations. A lot of it depends on the geographical restrictions and the presence of ISP in such locations. If you don’t have the required bandwidth at the receiver end, then no matter how good your own internet connection is, the QoS will suffer. As is the case with the internet connections, that you are as fast as your slowest connection, VoIP QoS is only as good as your call recipient’s call connection.
For small businesses, public internet is the most cost-effective option. Your VoIP is transferred via the public internet that is exposed to extensive hacking. If you want to discuss confidential information over VoIP, then you must think twice.
Further, you only have control over your internal setup. If the public network has a slower speed, then your communication also suffers.
Larger companies have access to more expensive technologies such as MPLS to keep their networks private and secure; however, such technologies are not within reach of all businesses.
Also, even if you set up a private network, you can only go to the extent of your own remote offices; you can’t keep the calls on the private network that go to the outsiders, such as your clients. So public internet is unavoidable in such cases.
If you want to get the best out of VoIP, you have to manage your internet traffic well. You need to prioritize a certain Class of Service (CoS) as compared to others. If your work requires more significant VoIP usage, then traffic such as voice and video should be given priority over other real-time traffic if you don’t want your VoIP QoS to suffer.
You might need professional help in such traffic management, so before you go ahead with VoIP, you need to analyze your requirement and usage well and seek proper professional advice.
It is definitely a better technology compared to its predecessors with all of the pros and cons of VoIP mentioned above and its functionality. If you are a small business and cost is the most crucial factor for you, whereas you have some leeway to compromise with confidentiality, then VoIP could be the best route for you.
For advice on whether and how to get VoIP service for your business, you can contact CarrierBid today. We have a team of experienced personnel that will understand your requirement and guide you to the best suitable service provider.