The rise of broadband has changed a few common practices we have become accustomed to especially in the workplace. One such practice is using traditional phone lines to make phone calls. Today, however, there’s another option known as VoIP that stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol.
This advanced technology allows anyone to place phone calls over an Internet connection. This makes it a far better choice over traditional phone lines because it offers several advantages over an analog phone and costs less. Many people choose to use both VoIP services as well as their traditional phone lines because of the low price point.
Cloud phone service providers offer powerful features but you may not get them with a standard phone company. These include call recording, customer caller ID, voicemail to email and other advanced calling features. If you haven’t tried out VoIP yet, now is the time to look up service providers in your area.
- What is VoIP and how does it work?
- What’s the difference between VoIP and my current landline service?
- How much does a VoIP service cost?
- Benefits of VoIP
- Disadvantages of VoIP
- Will My Current Business Phone System work on VoIP?
- Does Internet Speed Affect VoIP Voice Quality?
- How Will My Medical, Security, and Emergency Calls Work on VoIP?
- How to choose the right VoIP provider
- Final Thoughts
What is VoIP and how does it work?
VoIP stands for voice over Internet Protocol and lets you make telephone calls through a dedicated internet connection rather than using a regular landline or mobile network. This advanced technology converts analog voice signals to digital signals and sends them as data over your broadband connection.
One advantage of VoIP is its low cost. VoIP solutions tend to be a lot cheaper than regular phone lines. Depending on your setup you may not have to pay more for making long-distance calls, calls to other countries or how long you spend on those calls.
You can choose and customize your VoIP system. Your system can include:
- A phone and VoIP adapter – this system consists of a special analog telephone adapter that allows you to make VoIP calls from a regular landline phone. All you have to do is simply plug the adapters into the phone socket in the wall or the router.
- A computer- a computer consists of various programs that allow you to make voice calls to anyone who also has programs like Skype, Google Talk and Apple FaceTime. programs like Skype can also be used to call regular landlines or mobile numbers as well. However, while calls from Skype to Skype are free, calls to an actual phone number will incur a small cost.
- A smartphone- You can make voice calls using your cell phone with certain apps installed.
- A VoIP phone – IP phones closely resemble traditional analog phones but instead of connecting to a phone line, they connect directly to a computer network.
What’s the difference between VoIP and my current landline service?
As mentioned before VoIP providers offer a wide range of features like having a virtual receptionist, voice to email, automatic call forwarding, 3 digit dialling and more. These are all features that you will not find on landline phones.
If your business works across multiple office locations, mobile devices and in the cloud then VoIP is the only way to get these advanced features.
Phone companies are no longer committed to upgrading telephone networks using copper wire and exchange infrastructure of landline phone systems. This is because digital communication has rapidly become the new standard in both business and consumer technology. Most phone companies are now committed to building a digital infrastructure going forward.
This is 1 area where landlines have a slight edge over VoIP phones. However, every day, high-speed internet providers are improving their offerings and hopefully, soon that gap in reliability between VoIP and landlines will close.
If you are considering VoIP, have a chat with your Internet service provider if reliability is a key component of your VoIP versus landline evaluation. Check to see what options are available to ensure that your connection remains secure and meets the requirement of the VoIP provider that you’re thinking of going with.
VoIP services are generally 40 to 80% less expensive than traditional landline services. In some cases having multiple landline phones in the office may require a private branch exchange(PBX). This physical piece of hardware can cause quite a bit of money and the cost increases when you factor in the service and maintenance of this piece of hardware as well. That is why more and more people are considering VoIP because of its low costs especially for startups and SMBs that only need a few lines.
How much does a VoIP service cost?
The cost of VoIP tends to be a lot cheaper than landline services when you consider all that it offers. However, a few factors will determine VoIP cost. Remember when considering the cost you need to factor in upfront costs and ongoing costs as well as the total cost of ownership.
To determine the total cost of ownership, add the upfront cost and the ongoing cost. The total cost of ownership will include the monthly line rental fee for each user, the total cost for calls in a month, the cost of any handsets or other hardware purchased and any extra costs.
Learn more here: Cost Of VoIP in Australia 2021
Benefits of VoIP
- VoIP systems are much more scalable since you can make more than one phone call on the same broadband phone line. This eliminates the need for additional physical lines that can cost more of our businesses that are on the phone most of the day.
- Traditional telephone service providers may charge extra for features like call forwarding or caller ID. However, these features are often standard with the use of VoIP technology and are easier to configure and manage.
- VoIP Technology secures and provides unified communication since it allows for the use of various software and applications, These software and applications offer various communication features such as voice and video calls, instant messaging, conference calls and life website communications.
- VoIP allows users to access and make use of the company’s phone system from any mobile device, laptop or tablet with internet access. This means it is easier to manage remote workers with VoIP software communications in place. Extensions can be added without any trouble and employees can access the company phone systems no matter their location.
- VoIP is cost is significantly lower when compared to a traditional phone system. Users can take advantage of free calls and low rates when making international calls or long-distance calls.
- Customer service quality is important and plays a major role in making or breaking a business. VoIP helps with customer service offering various applications that boost employee’s productivity and efficiency. It also allows customers to connect with you through various mediums and make free calls to contact centres.
- VoIP uses a broadband internet connection so it provides excellent call quality with very little downtime.
We wrote a detailed guide about the benefits of VoIP for small business: Benefits Of Using VoIP For Small Business
Disadvantages of VoIP
- Power outages and internet trouble can cause your VoIP phone system to fail. Likewise, a poor internet connection can affect the quality of calls. VoIP will not work well on dial-up or satellite-based Internet connections. The internet connection should be at least 100 kbps(0.1Mbps) per phone line for good call quality.
- As VoIP uses an internet connection, it can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks these security risks include DoS attacks and eavesdropping However your service provider and the software systems can help implement various tools and measures to ensure that you are protected at all times
Will My Current Business Phone System work on VoIP?
VoIP can work with your current business phone system. If you have a regular landline, VoIP can work with that landline phone. This means that you’ll get all the benefits of VoIP without the hassle and costs of a regular phone line or the implementation of a new phone system.
All you need to turn your regular landline into a VoIP system is a VoIP adapter. This special adapter either plugs into the phone socket in the wall or a router. The next step involves switching on your internet-connected device and typing in the IP address on the VoIP adapter.
From there follow the step-by-step instructions on how to configure the adapter. Once successfully configured, plug your regular landline into the adapter for VoIP services. Keep in mind that your VoIP connection depends on your internet connection. While VoIP can work with your current business phone system, you may have to change to a high-speed internet provider or upgrade your current plan if your internet speeds are slow.
Does Internet Speed Affect VoIP Voice Quality?
VoIP Technology converts speaking voice into digital information which is why the clarity of your VIP phone calls will depend on how strong and stable your internet connection or NBN connection is. The digital information mostly voice data has to be compressed before it’s transmitted and then decompressed before it is delivered.
This process happens in quick succession so you need a fast internet connection that can handle this rapid-fire sequence. When your Internet connection is slow, the process that should happen in mere milliseconds takes longer which can negatively impact the call quality. One example of this is when there is an echo during the call. Hearing an echo in a call can be annoying to you and the party at the other end so to eliminate this issue a fast Internet connection is needed.
Before shopping around for VoIP providers take a little time to determine and figure out how well your Internet connection manages traffic. If you aren’t sure whether your Internet connection is fast enough, there are a few free speed tests that can help. They will tell you whether or not your current Internet connection is suitable for VoIP. If it isn’t then you should probably upgrade to a faster broadband plan or change your Internet service provider that handles voice traffic well.
How Will My Medical, Security, and Emergency Calls Work on VoIP?
Your medical, security and emergency calls can all be made using VoIP technology. However, they are a few steps you will need to follow first before it can do so. If you have emergency alert systems, security alarms or EFTPOS machines connected to your landline, it is important to contact the device provider before switching to VoIP. You will have to update your contact details and follow other protocols set out by the device provider. This will give them your actual location in emergencies.
In some cases, you may even have to register your device with NBN Co. for those living in Australia. This will all depend on the type of device that you have and its purpose. Be sure to have the VoIP medical, security, and emergency service tested to confirm that it works.
While you may be able to make emergency calls on a VoIP phone service, if the power goes out then the VoIP service will fail which leaves you unable to call for help. That is why it is always recommended that you have access to a mobile phone so that you can call for help whenever you need it.
How to choose the right VoIP provider
Know your requirements
Caller ID and call forwarding are some of the basic features that come with a VoIP service. However other advanced features like auto-attendant, call screening, etc can be bundled into your package as well. In some cases, the VoIP service provider you choose may offer these features for free with your subscription or add them at your request.
Set a budget
Before settling on a VoIP provider, outline your requirements and make a list of all the features you need. Next, decide on a budget, look at current telephone bills and other communication expenses to give you a fair idea.
Security should be the top priority when using VoIP technology since data passes through the internet. This leaves it vulnerable to cyberattacks, etc. Look for VoIP companies that offer end-to-end encryption and other security protocols to guarantee the safety of your data.
Your VoIP system can run into trouble during the installation process and third-party integrations. Things can also go wrong after the initial setup which is why your provider needs to provide local support for technical issues that need to be fixed immediately. This is important especially if the VoIP service is going to be the primary method for you to keep in touch with your customers, employees and others.
In the end, switching to VoIP from regular landline services may be able to save you money. A VoIP service also comes with powerful features and has a ton of benefits that aren’t possible with a regular phone. The only requirement is a stable and fast internet connection.