Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems refer to IP-based (Internet Protocol-based) systems that package and transform voice data for transmission over the Internet, thereby avoiding the need to use traditional telephone networks.
Although VoIP technology has been around for nearly 30 years, it’s only been the arrival of cheap broadband that the technology has grown in reliability and cost-effectiveness.
Consider purchasing an IP-based phone system if one or more of the following apply to your business:
- You wish to link offices using PBX-to-PBX communications
- You want single voice and data infrastructure between two or more locations
- You want smooth migration toward VoIP
- Remote workers need to become part of the centralised telephone system and share common functionality
- You are planning a major upgrade to your existing data network.
As well as offering other benefits to the consumer, VoIP has significantly lowered the cost of phone calls. VoIP phone systems require only a broadband connection and a suitable Internet phone such as one of the following:
- A VoIP telephone with an Ethernet connection or USB connection.
- VoIP adaptors enabling use of touch-tone phones through an IT network
- A software phone application (such as Skype) installed on a PC.
Because a VoIP user only needs a viable broadband connection, it’s perfect for mobile staff as well as the increasing numbers of office-based devotees.
- Cost savings for businesses and high volume users
- Cheap infrastructure and running costs
- Reliability – the technology of choice for most call-centre environments
- Call capacity only limited by available broadband bandwidth
- Features such as conference calling, video conferencing and itemised billing are often cheaper than with conventional phone systems
- Remote workers can use the same phone number
- Converged VoIP allows integration of legacy networks with Internet technology
- Increasing reliability with fast broadband
- High call quality
- Continued success and adoption of VoIP will make this an increasingly attractive option for businesses.
- Vulnerability to failed broadband connections
- Vulnerability to power-outage (back-up power needed)
- Viability may be limited by geographical broadband coverage
- Time-delays possible during conversations
- Softphones often have lower quality than VoIP or adaptor phones