Quick Guide to Voice Over IP (VOIP)
Different Features VoIP Phone Systems Offer
Business VoIP phone systems are well known for their cost effective features. Businesses that have multiple physical locations for their offices benefit from these systems drastically. As long as the offices work off of the same network, employees can dial each other’s extensions and reach them shortly, no matter how far away their offices are. Businesses that conduct many international calls also benefit from a business VoIP phone service. A traditional phone line will charge the user by which country they are calling and for how many minutes the phone call lasts. Because a VoIP system works primarily off of an Internet connection, the system isn’t able to distinguish how far away the recipient of the call is in relation to the caller, making each phone call standard and affordably priced.
Other VoIP service features that come standard with the system include call blocking, call forwarding, voicemail, caller ID, 3-way calling, fax and redial capabilities. For an additional cost, you could also implement additional features including conferencing, Microsoft Outlook integration, customized hold music, softphone support and find me/follow me capabilities.
You can reduce your phone bill expenses by eliminating long distance and toll charges. VOIP for business can save you a bundle of money on those pricey phone bills you receive each month.
You are able to transmit more than one phone number on one broadband line.
You can call from anywhere, provided you have internet connection.
You have the option of incorporating web or video conferencing into your service easily.
Make sure you have a clear idea of what you need before talking to potential providers. Knowing things such as how many users you’ll have in your network, how many long distance calls you make (versus how many local calls), and how many numbers/area codes you want will help your provider assess what sort of configuration you’ll need.
Some questions to ask a business VOIP services provider:
What equipment will I need to purchase, if any?
What additional charges are not included in the monthly fee? (long distance charges, caller ID, call forwarding can all be additional charges)
What encryption methods do you have in place to ensure a secure line?
What are my options in the event of a power failure
when using VOIP phone services?
How to Set up Your VoIP Phone
Setting up a VoIP phone service in your office is relatively simple when compared to other digital phone systems. A VoIP system works off of a broadband Internet connection to send and receive phone calls. Don’t even think of using a dial up connection with your VoIP phone because the system will not work properly and you may encounter some discouraging problems. Before you make the switch to this digital phone system, make sure that the computer network your office is using will be able to handle the additional traffic flow. If you are unsure of your network’s capacity, ask your provider to test it and see if you will need to purchase a different network.
VoIP phone systems will not work a traditional phone, unless you purchase an adapter. The device will connect to your phone and allow you to make calls. Another option is to use a microphone with the computer, or purchase specialized VoIP phones. Keep in mind that a specialized VoIP phone can be expensive so determine your business’ needs before making the switch.
Final Tips About VOIP
Read more about how to choose a VoIP provider from our Buyer Guide.
You’ll need a high-speed internet connection in order for VOIP to work properly. Make sure your internet speed is fast enough when discussing your options with providers.
You’ll also want to discuss back up power options. Unlike traditional “land lines,” power outages affect VOIP lines (since they are connected through the internet). Ask your provider or do some preliminary research about backup power options for your account.
Many types of encryption options are available in order to prevent eavesdropping on sensitive information.
Because you are not connected to a specific locality (VOIP allows you to have a Los Angeles area code in Chicago), it is virtually impossible for a 911 operator to locate you in the event of an emergency. Emergency precautions need to be taken into consideration when using VOIP.
Yes, the monthly fees may be less than what you are paying now, but hardware configurations need to be considered as well. If you are switching to save money, you may end up paying more to get the set-up you desire.
Find VoIP phone system providers in your state by searching our Local State Directory. Find other types of phone systems by searching our subcategory pages.