What is VoIP? It stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, which is is a more technical name for an internet phone system. Implementing this compared to a traditional phone system or cell phone, saves businesses money and improves the flexibility of daily operations. But there are additional benefits and drawbacks to consider when choosing the best VoIP service for your business so let’s take the time to evaluate those so you can make an informed decision.
How Does VoIP Work?
Making its debut in the mid-90s, VoIP didn’t earn the best reputation due to issues with slow network speeds and the inability to package and read bundled data properly. Technology has come a long way since then and addressed those headaches making the utilization of VoIP virtually seamless and a huge benefit to small businesses.
In a general sense, wireless VoIP as we know it today took off with the introduction of cloud storage. The endless space to store call data was the key to allowing VoIP to transfer data successfully and quickly. When merging the cloud with your business phone with VoIP, you are able to make and receive calls through the internet rather than hardwired or cellular lines, so the whole call is conducted through your business’ network. This means your phone is fully transferable to any other device if needed, allowing you more agility when working remotely.
To begin in understanding how the nitty-gritty of VoIP works, let’s define Internet Protocol. Commonly known as IP, which is a set of rules that defines how data is delivered over the Internet. IP works in conjunction with the transmission control protocol (TCP), which divides network traffic into smaller packets for a means of more efficient transport through the Internet. Commonly referred to as TCP/IP.
With that concept in mind, the way VoIP phone service works is that your voice is sent virtually over the internet through your WiFi network in a series of packets. That exchange of digital information carries your voice data from your IP address to the IP address of your destination through a cloud-based Private Branch Exchange. Then, at the other end, those packets of data get converted back to your voice for the listener.
Benefits of VoIP for Small Business
The key benefit of VoIP for Small business is the flexibility of being able to take your desk phone on the go so you don’t need to be tied to your desk 24/7. This means that you don’t need a slew of different phone numbers if you travel for work, you’ll always have just one. Which in some roles can really help maintain your reputation, because as far as your clients know, you are always at work ready to pick up their call when needed.
And while old phone lines are reliable, everyone knows they come at a hefty price tag and they fail to meet the portability that businesses require in this day and age. Plus, how many of us are solely relying on a curly-tailed desk phone to run our business? The majority of us rely on our smartphones for daily communication because of the remote on the go capabilities. But, as we all know, cell plans are also overpriced, especially when compared to VoIP pricing which can often translate to a 50% cost savings.
Possible Drawbacks of VoIP for Small Business
One complaint that used to be fairly common from VoIP users was poor audio quality. These issues are still sometimes reported by users, although they are being addressed with consistent system patches and upgrades. To get down to the root of this issue you need to take a look at your network. Audio issues usually mean that your network doesn’t have the bandwidth and maybe too old to handle the speeds of VoIP technology. This is something we can help with, we’ll check your wiring, network switches, Firewall, IP Addresses, Internet Circuits, and everything else that might impede the speed of your network. Then, if needed, we’ll let you know what it will take to get everything up to speed and get your blessing to fix it.
Also, a common question we get from small business leaders considering VoIP phone systems is what happens to the phones if there is an outage? Well, this technology does rely on the internet, so unfortunately with no internet, there is no VoIP. One safety net is a Virtual Auto Attendant that, in an emergency, can forward calls to any other number like a user’s cell phone or voicemail. Another more costly option would be to invest in dual internet providers, that way you have a backup connection just in case your primary one fails. Normally this is too excessive for small businesses, but if you live in an area like Florida where outages are common during hurricane season, you may want to consider this as an option to avoid any business interruptions.
How to Set Up VoIP?
Deploying a VoIP service is usually an easy set-up, the typical user can make the switch in less than a day with little to no downtime. To kick off a VoIP migration it is recommended that you test your internal network to ensure your speed is capable of handling the system before installation. If you choose to deploy a VoIP phone system for your small business with Cortavo, this is something we will handle for you.
It’s clear that VoIP is the new desk phone and the future of business communication. It’s inexpensive, flexible, adaptable, and will grow with your business. If you are interested in learning more about how a VoIP system can benefit your business, please contact us anytime or leave a comment below!