The growing digitalization has caused a massive paradigm shift in the ways we communicate. Unlike earlier times, when you would connect to people through a traditional phone system which is costly, outdated, and offers poor quality phone calls, you can now connect to people even when you’re poles apart, that too, in the most efficient way.

Whether you are an individual or running a business, you would want to access the best features at no or low cost. For that matter, we have brought you a detailed insight into the VoIP system.

Let’s begin by answering what exactly VoIP is?

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. To put it simply, VoIP is a system that assists you in making phone calls via the internet instead of using your regular landline or mobile network.

How Does VoIP Work?

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It works by converting analog voice signals into digital signals. Whenever a phone call is made via VoIP, it is the VoIP adapter that converts the signals.

The next step that is followed is to send this digital data to the business phone service provider using your internet, and then, the message is ultimately conveyed to your customer’s phone.

The system that works behind VoIP is known as ‘ packet switching. Here, an instant connection is made every time you speak. The connection is not two-way all the time. That’s certainly because both the people might not be speaking at the same time.

VoIP works by breaking your message into packets and forwarding it to the other person. It sends the packet quite efficiently. That’s why you will find VoIP calls quality better than regular mobile or landline networks.

VoIP vs Landline for Business

The landline network has been used for over decades now. However, the evolution of technology has caused the birth of several communication platforms like VoIP, each with its benefits and limitations. Hence, based on the following criteria, we have compared both the systems.

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1. Reliability

VoIP- VoIP phones need the internet for their working. Hence, you need to have a reliable internet connection for its proper functioning. People living in remote areas, where there’s no effective internet connection, can not rely on VoIP phones.

Landline- landline network is more reliable because wires are used to create a landline connection. Even if some trouble arises due to some weather issues, it’s easy and quick to fix landline connections rather than VoIP phones. Hence, businesses living in areas with improper internet might prefer landline connection considering its reliability.

2. Maintenance

VoIP- these are quite easy to maintain and fix. Its parts are also cheaper than a landline connection.

Landline- these are a bit costly to maintain due to expensive infrastructure. Small businesses may not like the landline network for its higher cost of maintenance.

3. Features

VoIP- landline systems can never compete with VoIP phones when it comes to features. These phones offer a wide range of features such as call analytics and video calling features which are not provided by the landline network.

Landline- this system provides very basic features. This is not suitable for businesses who would want a greater number of features from their phones. Hence, they may have VoIP phones.

4. Call Quality

VoIP- phone quality with VoIP depends on your internet connection, if that’s not efficient you may experience a poorer call quality.

Landline- here the infrastructure does not depend on the internet, hence they have a consistent call quality.

5. Cost

VoIP- this is the main advantage of VoIP phones; they are cost-friendly. The initial buy-in, as well as after-market maintenance costs, are low. It offers free international calls.

Landline- these are more expensive to buy and maintain as compared to VoIP phones due to their infrastructure.

Some Best VoIP Providers

  • RingCentral- this is one of the most used VoIP providers. RingCentral provides solutions for small business partners to large corporations, focusing on developer integration. It helps in allowing third-party providers to connect to the RingCentral environment in new ways.
  • Line 2- Line 2 is best to use when you do not want to give your mobile number to customers and at the same time, carry a second phone. What this system does is, moving traditional hard-wired on-premises PBX to the cloud and moving PBX handsets to smartphones of the team.
  • Vonage- Though Vonage suffered a great deal of loss in its earlier stages, it’s been working round-the-clock to rebrand itself as a B2B cloud service provider. It offers a unified platform that allows integrated communication.
  • BasicTalk- as suggested by the name, this VoIP provider offers basic services. In the head-on competition of BasicTalk vs Vonage, this is cheaper to set up, also easy. However, it does not allow international calling.
  • 8×8- this is a small-scale VoIP provider. Initially, it was a chip design firm. It has now gained video conferencing products, VoIP technologies, and a few more features.

Voice Over Internet Protocol – Pros and Cons

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Pros

1. Cost: As stated earlier, VoIP phones are cost-friendly. The cost to set them up and maintain is cheaper than a traditional phone system. These phones run on the internet and hence only one account and one bill are needed for both internet and phone calls. It offers free phone calls from PC to PC but may charge for calling from PC to landline. However, the cost charged is lower than that charged by traditional phones.

2. Accessibility: The only thing that matters while making a phone call with VoIP is an internet connection, no matter the distance between the two people. All they require is a well-established internet connection to get in touch via these phones.

3. Flexibility: This system has a great deal of flexibility. Unlike other networks, with VoIP, you can connect with thousands of connections.

4. Voice Quality: If you have an efficient and reliable internet connection, you can experience amazing voice quality with these phones. But, if you live in remote areas without a proper supply of internet, then you might experience some differences.

5. Less Expensive Features: There is a wide range of features offered by VoIP phones. This includes- call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, called ID, three-way calling, etc. You do not have to pay more than what is reasonable with VoIP.

Cons

1. Necessity of Internet Connection– These phones can only be operated when connected with a regular internet supply.

2. Power Emergencies- In case your power goes out, your internet connection will be cut off and you will no longer be able to access VoIP phones. However, this is not a major issue if the power goes out rarely or for the minimum time. But can cause a huge loss to your company if it goes for longer hours.

3. Latency: Latency refers to the delay or lag in making calls. This mainly occurs due to the information taking time to reassemble to make a good quality call.

How to Switch to VoIP?

Below are 9 steps that you can follow to switch to VoIP from a Traditional Phone

Step 1: The first step in switching over to VoIP is to have a proper infrastructure set up. However, before cloud PBX solutions switching over to VoIP was not at all an easy task. It has gotten much easier now. Still, it’s equally significant to go with a plan. Get the right infrastructure set up.

Step 2: This system is wholly dependent on the internet supply for its working. Hence, you need to ensure a reliable internet connection before you go on to switch to VoIP. We would suggest you install a wired broadband connection with at least 100 kbps per line. Get your internet speed tested. If you find it is not fast enough, there’s a need to upgrade it.

Step 3: It’s time to prepare the right infrastructure. Technically speaking, this system works best when connected directly to the router or switch setup. Keep in mind, large offices might require VLAN configuration. We would recommend you to use a switch instead of layered routers as they can cause some technical issues.

Step 4: Apart from great internet service, the perfect network and the best phones, the center of your VoIP provider is a crucial factor in determining the success of your system. You need to find the right VoIP provider to get your phones connected to the fastest, lowest-latency VoIP servers to achieve high-quality phone calls.

Step 5: Now that you have decided on the VoIP provider, it’s time to implement business phone features. These features are significant because, without them, your phone system will only be able to make or receive phone calls. These features include-

  • Auto-attendant
  • IVR (interactive voice response)
  • Automatic calling forwarding when busy
  • Call queuing
  • Conference bridge
  • Extension dialing
  • Voicemail forwarding
  • VoIP number porting

Step 6: The next step is to choose your VoIP hardware. Keep in mind the following things while choosing the hardware

  • Go for VoIP phones to keep the desk phone setup.
  • To get a hands-free option, VoIP headsets will be required.
  • A VoIP softphone will work best if you want to use internet-connected equipment.

Step 7: You will need time to adjust to the new phone system and so will your employees. You will need to train them first. Hold a training program. Teach your staff members about the new software and hardware.

Step 8: It’s time for the system to get installed. The setting up of the VoIP system differs from business to business and also on the hardware you choose to set up. For a small setup, it could be a matter of plugging in a few phones at the office. On the other hand, for a larger business, it can be a bigger project.

Step 9: For many small businesses, your business phone bill is a substantial expense. For extra features that businesses require, phone carriers charge a substantial premium. This cost will decrease once you have switched to VoIP.

Why Should Companies Switch to VoIP?

There are multiple reasons why companies should switch to VoIP.

  • Cost: Voice over Internet Protocol is significantly cheaper in costs and causes less capital expenditure.
  • Value: Switching over to this system brings along a variety of additional benefits like voicemail, call forwarding, conferencing, video calling, and a lot more.
  • Mobility: To make calls via VoIP, you can take calls anywhere so long as you are connected to an internet connection.

Winding Up

We would like to wind up this article by saying that though traditional phone systems have sometimes worked enough for us, it’s high time that we switch to VoIP considering its unending benefits. We hope that even if you’re a beginner or a non-technical person, this article helped you understand the basics of VoIP and why and how to switch over to it.