IP Business Phone System Buyers Guide 2021

We are often asked by different people: ‘what IP business phone system is best, especially for small businesses’. To all interested, this guide will enlighten you about Private Branch Exchange (PBX} phone systems that are compatible or VoIP-friendly, that will help you make the right choice when you are ready to purchase one.

It’s a decent question to have – and not just for the fact that companies have been enjoying VoIP benefits for more than five years now, but also because the NBN policy implies that a VoIP telephone framework will be the sure path forward for your business telecommunication services later on.

Big establishments previously used a business VoIP telephone facility to manage the cost of fast and high-quality internet connections. However, the NBN rollout implies that all great and small companies will be connected to the excellent internet speeds needed to effectively run VoIP systems.

Suppose you’ve been catching up on information about VoIP and you’re contemplating getting your business ready. Then this guide is for you. It will help you understand what VoIP is, how it functions, and support you with all you require to settle on the ideal decision when buying a VoIP telephone system for your company.

Herein, we will explain precisely what VoIP is, the upsides and downsides of utilizing it by companies, and examine who ought to use VoIP Phone Systems.

What is VoIP?

VoIP represents Voice over Internet Protocol, and it is employed to portray any call made utilizing an internet connection, rather than standard telephone services. VoIP is revolving into a more significant piece of our lives every day. If you’ve ever initiated or received calls by employing Skype, Google Voice, FaceTime, or WhatsApp, at that point, you’ve just utilized a VoIP application.

VoIP is the process of transforming our analogue voice signals into little digital data packets that can navigate the internet. Since utilizing VoIP is quicker and more straightforward than traditional services, VoIP line rental and call rates are substantially more reasonable, i.e. cheaper.

How Does VoIP Work?

Using codecs, your voice is converted into digital data that must be re-coded into voice signals, so the call receiver can understand what you are saying. Codecs, also known as ‘encoder-decoder’, help improve your call quality by compressing the voice into ‘digital data packets’, thereby enabling faster transmissions, making it much better and clearer.

Codec is very necessary when using VoIP phones because regular Public Switched Telephone Network {PSTN} or Plain Old Telephone Service {POTS} phones use analogue data VoIP uses digital signals. These signals need to be re-coded back to its analogue form when it reaches the call destination so that the call receiver can understand your message.

The same also applies when receiving phone calls from someone who uses a VoIP service. I’m trying to say that when you use VoIP service to call someone who uses the regular analogue service, the call travels as far as it can while using VoIP and will then switch back to the traditional phone network when it has to. The same principle applies when receiving calls from a VoIP service just that the process is only reversed.

But if you and the receiver are both using VoIP service, the entire call will take place over the internet. Your call will be digital all through.

VoIP Phone System Definition

VoIP service uses internet connections to make phone calls. It doesn’t use the regular phone network. So VoIP phone systems are systems that make use of VoIP services.

Many names also know VoIP phone systems. Perhaps you may have heard some of the terms; “internet phone system‘, ‘IP-enabled‘, ‘VoIP Telephone System‘, ‘Hybrid IP PBX System‘, ‘IP Phone System‘ ‘VoIP PBX System‘, ‘NBN Phone Systems‘ etc. they all refers to the same thing.

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Why are VoIP Phone Systems so Popular?

There are many reasons why VoIP phone systems are getting more and more popular, but I’m just going to list a few such reasons.

The first reason is that VoIP phone calls are cheaper- VoIP internet calls are much less expensive than regular phone service charges. Some statistics show that VoIP call billings will equate to about half of your typical traditional phone bill.

The second is that VoIP phones encourage the use of Cloud-based/ Hosted or Virtual Phone Systems, so you would not need a PBX box in your office.

The third reason is that no serious Australian based business can run any phone system without VoIP service due to governmental policy. This will take effect very soon. This makes getting a VoIP phone a necessity.

How Does the NBN Fit Into the VoIP Phone System?

As the National Broadband Network {NBN} technology spreads across Australia, the regular copper telephone network is getting removed. This means all “traditional” phone networks will be disabled except in some very rural and remote areas. And when the network is phased out, you will not be able to have phone conversations like before.

This will affect a vast percentage of about 95% of businesses in the country, and the changes though belated will be instant and drastic for everyone.

All businesses must install a VoIP service to run their business phone systems. Once you have installed the NBN, you would not use it for only the internet and your phone calls. Just meet your service provider to help you with the process, and it won’t be difficult.

You just have to connect your phone to the data service instead of an outlet in the wall. Make this switch early enough if your phone system will not work once the old traditional system has been permanently switched off. You don’t really have a choice.

Do it and remain connected or avoid it and your phone won’t be connected anymore.

A Comprehensive VoIP Phone System Review

What exactly are VoIP phones systems?

As mentioned before, they go by many names so look out for these names when shopping for one.

  • Internet Phone Systems
  • Hybrid IP PBX Systems
  • VoIP PBX System
  • IP-enabled Phone Systems
  • IP PBX Systems
  • Internet PBX Systems
  • NBN Phone Systems, etc.

VoIP Business VoIP Phone System vs Traditional On-Premise PBX

Traditional On-Premise PBX Systems.

Please take a look at on-premise or on-site PBX systems, where a large box must be placed in your office, of which it is your responsibility for the safekeeping and maintenance and updating features on your phone systems.

On-Premise PBX systems that use the public phone network cannot work with VoIP the way it is. Why the traditional On-Premise PBX systems can only send and receive analogue information.

But if it has IP functionality, it will be able to work with digital signals, and this function would have to be enabled which would need a technician’s effort and the purchase of some new hardware.

Some of the Traditional On-Premise PBX Systems can never work with VoIP, and no reputable vendor would sell you one. This is why IP enabled VoIP systems are replacing them (On-Premise or on-site PBX systems) with the added advantage, of course, getting rid of that massive box in your office thereby freeing up space.

On-Site or On-Premise VoIP Phone Solutions or Systems

Should you prefer the On-Premise option, you can still get the On-Premise PBX Systems that are VoIP friendly to purchase. These systems are the same as traditional PBX, and the only difference is that they are IP-enabled from the very beginning. Some people still prefer this option, but many others switch to a Hosted IP phone system because they are much more advanced.

Cloud-based or Hosted or Virtual VoIP phones systems

Firstly, with this system, there is no PBX box in your office, everything is hosted by your provider and safely stored on the cloud. The only hardware required is IP-enabled phones. So you get to save space from the big PBX box, worry less about safety and maintenance, and save money from technician’s or expert’s visits that are compulsory with an on-premise system.

Every single feature that is on the on-premise system can also be found on Cloud-based or Hosted VoIP Phone Systems and even more. Another good news is that these features can be updated, upgraded and altered without a technician’s help, i.e. automatically. To get it done instantly, you would have to call your provider. Don’t use a service provider that will bill you for every feature, get or find the best provider and you will get a lot of free features every month.

Perhaps you get a new staff or connect someone to your system, working from another location, just getting a handset or phone and ensuring it has a good internet connection. They are already connected to your phone system. This makes scalability less stressful.

A third reason to use Hosted VoIP systems is to optimize features, i.e., reduce or eliminate redundancy. To have a redundancy plan on Cloud-based or Hosted VoIP phones systems is much more practical and inexpensive.

This is simply because your designs are now cloud-based. As stated earlier on, to change features is now easy. For example, you want to change call forwarding features, and call diversion all you need to do is call your provider and explain, and pronto it is done.

What do I need for a VoIP Phone system to work?

A Quality Internet Connection

A requirement to run a VoIP phone system is a quality internet connection. This will, of course, be provided by NBN, but even if you don’t have it installed yet, you can still make use of VoIP. Many users choose business-grade fibre internet to run their communication systems. Other people use Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) data services that are reliable enough to run their VoIP phone systems.

The reason for the excellent internet connection is that your phone calls can be interrupted suddenly and intermittently for many reasons. For example, if many people are using the same service provider you use.

When you are connected live to a webinar or downloading a large file, your internet speed slows down, which can sometimes be annoying. But with a VoIP phone call, a slight or tiny flicker can cause your conversation to be interrupted. Now, this is extremely annoying for both parties.

This is why any good telecom personnel will suggest getting a different or separate internet connection exclusively for your phone system, to prevent lagging or interruptions when someone’s using the primary internet connection.

 A VoIP Phone Service

The type of VoIP used for business-grade VoIP is SIP. So if you have a VoIP service in your office, there is a very good likelihood that it would be Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). And just like the former, SIP also uses the internet to make and receive calls. It will have to be connected to a router that is linked to your internet service.

Session initiation protocol is also known as SIP is what is used to refer to business-grade VoIP. For businesses who use video conferencing, they must use SIP because VoIP only engages in phone calls, but SIP can send and receives any form of multimedia data (files).

SIP is much more reliable, faster and phone calls and line rentals are still cheaper than traditional services. Your service provider will recommend using a SIP phone service for your VoIP phone system for the reasons mentioned above. VoIP phone numbers can also be used to get virtual interstate numbers, where if you want to have a local number in any state of the country you can have it, Irrespective of your business location.

Note that you can begin to use your SIP at present if there is a quality internet connection service; otherwise, you will have to switch to NBN to use the SIP technology.

An IP Supported VoIP Phone

The purchase of a VoIP phone system will also require the purchase of IP enabled phones. If you have the Cloud-based or Hosted Phone System, then these will be the only hardware in your office.

What is a VoIP phone?

As we mentioned before, traditional phone services send and receives analogue data while a VoIP phone sends and receives digital data from making phone calls. But to use the SIP or a VoIP service you need an IP enabled VoIP phone.

To use VoIP phones, you need to connect to your data service through a router. Except this, there is no difference in the way they operate. And of course, better call quality on a VoIP phone over the traditional phone service.

The Best VoIP Phone Systems for Small Business

What you need or what your business and staff needs will determine the best VoIP phone system to be purchased and used. We mentioned earlier is still possible to get and install the On-Premise VoIP Phone Systems if you want.

Perhaps you feel more comfortable with it being in a secure location in your office, or you like to update and manage the features yourself. However, most businesses have opted or are deciding on Cloud-based or Hosted VoIP Phone Systems, because among many other reasons is that they are safer, more manageable, more comfortable to update or upgrade by your service provider and less expensive for you.

Final Thoughts

Now we know more about VoIP Phone Systems, how they work, and the vast roles VoIP Phone Systems play in our business futures, you should already know how your business will implement it.

This kind of technical information sometimes can be more than a little overwhelming. If this is how you feel, you can contact our team at My FoneTel always present to answer every question you might have and offer guidance.

However, there are three crucial things for businesses to consider when exploring the cost of a phone system upgrade. These can be classified into:

 Upfront Costs: This is the initial outlay in acquiring the systems which may include costs of improving or upgrading existing technologies, purchasing hardware, cost of consultations and installations, amongst others.

Ongoing Costs: This is the regular financial outlay expended on maintenance of equipment, monthly or yearly line rentals, etc.

Total Cost of Ownership: This is how businesses view any technology solution from the total cost of ownership or TCO. This is the sums of the expenses of acquiring and operating a device through its lifespan, i.e. Upfront costs+ Ongoing Costs= TCO. Though individual cost aspects can appear comparatively low, the overall sum of a package can be higher than first thought once a TCO calculation is done.

Calculating the Total Cost of Ownership for an IP Phone System includes:

  •     The Monthly line rental fees for each user
  •     The cost of calls per month
  •     The cost of handsets and other hardware like headsets, etc.
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